35 Ways To Promote Home Bible Study In The Local Church
By: Tim Massengale
The need to promote Home Bible Study (HBS) within the church cannot be stressed strongly enough. HBS can quickly become a “out of sight, out of mind” ministry. To keep HBS a viable ministry, active and strong, you must promote it before the congregation on a regular basis. The emphasis of your promotion is “talk to your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. and ask them if they would like a Home Bible Study.”
The most successful studies are those that people obtain themselves and teach themselves. This maintains the principle of “oikos” evangelism. The following suggestions will assist you in keeping this most successful ministry consistently bring souls into the Kingdom of God.
Regularly Scheduled Promotion – The best way to remember to promote HBS is to make the promotion of the HBS ministry a regularly scheduled activity before the entire congregation (Sunday morning or evening). Many use the first Sunday of each month. Your time (usually 15 – 20 min/maximum) should be VERY will planned. Don’t just get up and preach or condemn. Uplift, motivate and encourage. Always keep your promotional time positive. Some churches also devote one Bible study night a quarter to outreach motivation and this is an excellent time to have several HBS promotional activities also.
Testimonies by HBS Students – Those saved through HBS should give their testimony. This is probable the most effective promotion that you can have. Nothing promotes success like success.
Testimonies by HBS Teachers – Those that have taught successfully can and should give regular testimonies of their success. Have them come up to the front and tell of the joy of being a soul winner and the ease of teaching a HBS.
Graduation Certificate to all HBS Students – Invite all HBS graduates to receive their completion certificate. This is an excellent time to ask for more teachers (See! HBS works!) and for more students (You TOO can complete a complete Bible survey course and it’s free!)
Graduation Certificate to all HBS Teachers that Complete Training – You should be teaching 2 – 3 HBS training seminars a year. All teachers that complete the training (and all who RETAKE the training) should receive a VERY attractive completion plaque or certificate at the conclusion. Make these plaques/certificates NICE! They will be going to your BEST soul winners!
Certificates/Plaques In Prayer Room – An excellent idea is to place all the graduation certificates or plaques of each HBS teacher that completes the HBS training on the wall in the Prayer Room. Make a nice display(Please Pray For Our HBS Teachers!). If you can place a photo/snapshot of the teacher on the certificate it’s that much better. One church also has had great success placing foil “stars” at the bottom of each certificate or plaque. They put a silver star for each HBS the teacher teaches. The silver star is replaced by a GOLD star if the Bible study results in someone being saved. Now that’s a great idea!
HBS Commissioning Service – When you give out the completion certificates to all who complete the HBS Teacher Training Seminar, you should call the elders of the church forward, anoint and pray for each teacher and”commission” them to go forth and win souls in the Name of the Lord! Stress this ministry as a divine calling and privilege.
Skits and Puppet Shows – Several churches have put on some very effective skits and mini-dramas (both live and/or with puppets) to promote and encourage church members to get HBS’s. Be creative. Two very effective skits are: “How NOT to get a HBS!” and “How to PROPERLY get a HBS!”
Bulletin Insert Flyer – Design up an attractive page to insert into your regular church bulletin to promote HBS. Use some nice graphics and put in such items as: Those saved from HBS that quarter (a photo too if possible!), those currently teaching (pray for them!), materials on sale, goal for the year, ideas to get a HBS, “teachers wanted” ads, and more. This can be done monthly or quarterly.
Quarterly Newsletter – Several have taken the above idea and turned it into their own HBS Quarterly Newsletter. Use all the ideas above for content as well as: funny stories of things that happened at studies, upcoming seminars, HBS teaching tips, positions open for prayer partners,assistants, hosts, babysitters needed for teachers and students (while study is going on), and more! Hand it to all church members.
Custom HBS Slide Presentation – This has been extremely successful. Take a “now” photo of all who have been saved from HBS in the past several years. Get a “before” photo from each of what they looked like before coming to God. Have each tape a 3 – 5 min. testimony of how grateful they are for HBS and how it affected their life, what the felt, how the HBS touched them, etc. Put all this together into your own little presentation with background music. Make a plea for teachers at the conclusion. Great for Watchnight Service showing all who were saved through HBS the past year!
HBS Emphasis Month – You cannot push HBS every service, all the time, all year long without people getting tired of hearing about it. However you CAN have an emphasis month in which EVERY service has some kind of HBS promotion. Plan what you will do/say on each service (use many of these ideas) and announce that it is HBS Emphasis Month and that you are encouraging EVERYONE to be involved in HBS in some way that month. Have skits, contests, testimonies, etc. Make it special.
HBS Contests – Every church should have at least one HBS contest each year. Choose two good team captains. Have them choose up teams from all church members (use a church list and choose like a softball team!) The contest last for 4 – 6 weeks. The teams meet WEEKLY after midweek Bible study for about 15 – 20 min. Points are announced weekly on Sunday evening by the team captains. Award points similar to the following: 100 points, Getting and teaching a HBS all by yourself! 45 points, Setting up a HBS and someone else teaches it for you. 45 points, Teaching a HBS that someone else has set up. 25 points, Assisting in a HBS (2 asst. per study maximum) 25 points, Obtain studies using the QUEST survey (door to door) 20 points, Prayer Partner for a study (pray AS it’s being taught) 20 points, Babysit for a teacher or HBS student 10 points, Support the HBS ministry by giving a min. of $20.00
Everyone Involved In HBS Promotion – Take a large sheet of butcher paper(3ft.x 10ft.) and write in large bold letters the name of every family unit in the church (a family unit is those who live under one roof. Over 18 count as family unit by themselves even if living at home). Encourage everyone to be involved in HBS in some way that month. Place a large colored star (cut out of foil-faced poster board or similar bright colors) by each name as they become involved. Color of star denotes type of involvement. You can be involved in more than one way. Color-code stars similar to the following: Gold star, Getting and teaching a HBS all by yourself! Silver star, Setting up a HBS and someone else teaches it for you. Bronze star, Teaching a HBS that someone else has set up. Red star, Assisting in a HBS (2 asst. per study maximum) Blue star, Obtain studies using the QUEST survey (door to door) Green star, Prayer Partner for a study (pray AS it’s being taught) Yellow star, Babysit for a teacher or HBS student. Orange star, Support the HBS ministry by giving a min. of $20.00
Set a Goal! – Set yourself a goal for the number of HBS’s to start in a given time period. Consider promoting this goal in the following way: Get a large sheet of butcher paper (3ft. x 10ft.) and paint a large thermometer on it. Set your goal at the top. Fill up the thermometer with strips of red paper (one strip for each study started). A nice touch is to write the name of the instructor on each strip of paper put up. This give recognition to those involved and encourages others to be involved also.
Buttons – Have a bunch of buttons made up with such statements as “Ask me about HBS” and “I’m a HBS Teacher” and ask for commitments from the church to wear the button for one week. Have testimonies of results on mid-week service…ask for more to wear it that week. There should be some results by Sunday Night. The second week, those that have a HBS then get a button to wear that says “I GOT ONE!” and those that don’t a button that says “I NEED ONE!” This works great with teams also.
HBS Demonstration Lesson – Announce that the following Bible study night is a special service and not to miss it. Then, before Bible study night,change your platform to look like a living room (sofa, easy chairs, lampstands, coffee table, etc). When it’s time for service to start, ask all to find their seat. Lights go out. Spot light hits platform (or platform lights only). “Wife” enters with a tray of drinks, “husband” with newspaper. They chat a bit and one remarks that Bro. “Jones” should be there soon. They talk about how much they have been enjoying the HBS, how it has affected them, last week’s lesson, etc. Knock comes at side door. Bro. “Jones” enters with chart & Bible. Talks and jokes a minute or so, then “well, are you ready to start?” Chart is set up where all can see it (also good to have chart as a overhead transparency for the congregation to see better) and Bro. Jones teaches a simple, yet stirring lesson from the HBS, brings it to a touching conclusion and couple repents. Plea is then made for teachers and students. Very effective to do just before starting a HBS training seminar.
HBS Fellowship Dinner with Awards – An end of the year “thank-you” potluck or banquet (whatever you can afford) for all HBS participants (students, teachers, helpers, etc.) has been very effective. Give awards out for “Home Bible Study Teacher of the Year,” “HBS Host of the Year,”,”HBS Prayer Partner of the Year,” “HBS Babysitter of the Year,” etc. Can also give some good “humor” awards (longest running HBS, etc!) All church invited but HBS participants sit in special area, commended highly, way is paid for them, etc. Don’t be afraid to spend some money on the most effective soul-winners in the church!
Colorful Bulletin Board display – Keep a good bulletin board designed to promote HBS. Theme of board is changed bi-monthly or quarterly. Keep listing of HBS in progress, photos of converts saved from HBS, good visuals, samples of chart pages, etc.
Fact and Information Table – Many have never seen the wide variety of materials available to help get and teach HBS. Occasionally set up a table in the vestibule with several types of charts, mini-charts,teachers books, flyers, tracts, mailers, posters, lesson handouts, teacher training materials, cards, buttons, bumper stickers, (Search for Truth, Houston, TX has the greatest selection of helps and promo-materials there is!). Be at the table for several weeks before and after service and answer questions.
Simple HBS Qualification Quiz – This one is fun! Make up a SIMPLE Bible Quiz with 5 – 6 questions on it (what is the first book of the Bible, who built the ark, what town was Jesus born in, etc.) and copy off enough for all adults to get one on Sunday night. Tell them you are going to test their Bible knowledge to “qualify” them (but don’t tell them what for!) Give them 1 min. to answer questions. Read the answers. Ask all who got 100% to stand. Tell them congratulations, you have just passed the qualification test to be a HBS instructor! Emphasis of your promotions that you don’t need to be a “Bible scholar” to teach a HBS, all you need is basic, simple Bible knowledge. Many are afraid to teach because they don’t think they know enough Bible. Not true!
Posters up in Church – Search for Truth of Houston, TX has an excellent set of full color posters to help a church get HBS’s. They were designed to put up in businesses, however they also make good promo-posters to put up around church to keep people reminded about HBS. Several churches have also sponsored a HBS Poster contest and give away prizes to the best posters designed. Posters were displayed in halls and prayer rooms.
Yard Sign in Front of Homes – Some success has been found by having an attractive yard sign (much like a real estate sign) professionally painted up and “loaned” to church members for one week each. The sign says “Home Bible Study Instructor Lives Here – call xxx-xxxx or knock on door.” Encourage each family to take the sign for one week. Another type of sign can say “Inquire Here About Free Home Bible Studies.” Anyone in the church can participate but be sure to have HBS teacher volunteers to teach any studies obtained from this method.
Flyers On Car Windows – This is a new twist to an old idea. Design up some nice flyers encouraging saints to obtain and teach HBS’s (God wants YOU to teach a Home Bible Study!). Use some good graphics and have them copied off. Then, while church is in progress on Sunday morning/evening, put one on every car window in the parking lot. Keeps HBS before the eyes of the congregation. Also a good way to announce an upcoming HBS training seminar.
Filmstrip from Home Missions Department – Request the excellent filmstrip “Spiritual Reproduction through HBS” from the Home Missions Div., UPCI. This stirring film tells how one individual saw over 100 persons baptized from HBS’s that HE taught personally in ONE YEAR! This filmstrip should be shown at least once a year. Great for your new converts class too!
HBS Birth Announcement – One of my favorites! Design up (or purchase) some attractive birth announcement forms. Then, when someone is saved from a HBS in the church, fill out and give one to all church members as they arrive at church some Sunday evening. Something like: “We are proud to announce the birth of a new baby in the Lord! Bro. & Sis. Smith have just been born into the Kingdom of God last Sunday night! This exciting new member of our family is the result of a Home Bible Study taught by Bro. and Sis. Jones. We extend a sincere welcome to Bro. and Sis. Smith and congratulate Bro. and Sis. Jones upon their new “child” in the Lord! Please make the Smith’s welcome! (If you can include a photo of the convert and proud parents it makes it that much better!)
HBS Teacher Of The Year 10 Year Plaque – Choose a HBS Teacher Of The Year to honor with special recognition. Give them a nice plaque or something. But also have designed a “10-year” plaque (10 names can be placed on the one plaque). Add a new name each year. Hang this in a highly visible location. It sends a strong message that “around our church HBS teachers are SPECIAL!”
HBS “Family Album” – Take a photograph of every person that is baptized as a result of a HBS. Place all photos in an attractive photo album with such information as date, HBS instructor, type of study, etc. Display the album in the vestibule with an attractive HBS table display.
5 Souls That I’m Believing To Get A HBS With – Pass out on Sunday morning a simple form that says “5 Souls That I’m Believing To Get A HBS With” and then a space for five name. Ask all to pray that afternoon and allow the Lord to impress them with 5 names of people that the Lord knows are hungry for salvation. Remember, the LORD should impress these names to them. Then, Sunday evening ask all to come up to the front that have names written down (some may not have 5, but let them bring what they have). Take up prayer/fasting pledges from each person (pray certain number of minutes each day and fast certain days for their 5 names). On the next Sunday Night, ask the same group to come to the front. Hopefully they have kept their commitment of prayer/fasting that week. Now get a commitment from each to ask all five for a HBS that week. You will be surprised at how well this works…so have plenty of teachers ready to teach!
“LIVE” Phone Call Promotion – Call a pastor that has had good success with the HBS ministry (there are many of them). Ask them to call the church during song service on Sunday morning or evening (or they can have their HBS coordinator call) and give a 5-10 min. “pep talk” about how well HBS is working in their church, number baptized, etc. Get a hold of a speaker phone (if you don’t have one, you can purchase a speaker attachment at Radio Shack). When they call, put a microphone up the the phone speaker and let the individual give the church a “live, on site report” of how well HBS works for their church. It’s a lot cheaper than flying them in to do it, so you can do it more often!
HBS Theme Song – Ask your music director (or anyone else talented enough to do it) to write a fast, “peppy” little HBS chorus theme song. Sing it often and loud! Great introduction to your monthly HBS promotion!
After Service HBS Tract – A good number of our people go out to dinner after Sunday Morning service, and many go out after Sunday Night too! Ask all who are going out to raise their hands. Have the ushers pass out a good HBS tract (you can get several good ones from Home Missions Division or from Search For Truth). Ask them to give it to the waitress that waits on them and ask her for a HBS!
Custom HBS Tract For Your Church – “Stamped” tracts are okay…but custom tracts with your church name, address, phone and service times are much better! Have designed a “custom” HBS tract. Your people will be more likely to use it and pass it around. Make it attractive!
Special HBS Prayer Requests – One evening take up prayer requests ONLY for persons that we are going to ask for a HBS that week. Push for everyone to give a prayer request. Go right down the isle, person to person (Who do YOU want us to pray for because you’re going to ask them for a HBS?) Tell them that if they get one and don’t feel they can teach it, we will supply the teacher (but encourage them to try…).
Provide Solutions to Barriers – The reasons that people do not teach or get a HBS are many. In their mind, these are “barriers” that hold them back. In your monthly promotion time, take 2 – 3 minutes to address one of these barriers and offer a solution to each. The common “excuses” are as follows:
1. No time to teach
2. Fear of public speaking or teaching
3. Lack of Bible Knowledge (will be asked a question they can’t answer)
4. Fear of Rejection (when asking someone for a HBS)
5. No one has ever asked me to teach one
6. Lack of confidence or too shy
7. No burden for souls (more common than you think!)
8. Fear of failure (if I teach it wrong they will be lost)
9. Discouragement from lack of results in the past
10. Too involved in other church work
11. Too young or too old
12. Can’t seem to get a HBS to teach (even though I’ve asked several)
(The above material was published by Revival Research.)
Christian Infomation Network