Concluding Your Study
By Benjamin Favel
How you end your Bible study is just as important as how you begin it. Again time and planning about the end of your Bible study can help you in reaching your students. There are a few things that you should do as a routine whenever you end a lesson. First, find out if there are any questions. Second, end with group prayer. Finally, you should invite your students to church. These three actions will help increase the impact that your Home Bible Study has on your students.
Ask for Questions
Over the course of your Bible study hour, you may have said something that your students did not fully understand. At the end of the lesson ask if anybody has any questions about anything that was taught. I do not think that I need to mention again all of the reasons why the end of the study is the appropriate time for taking questions. If there are any questions do your best to answer them with the material from your Bible study.
If you cannot answer the questions then write them down and tell the students you will have answers for them next week. I have already discussed sources for getting answers. Let me just caution you, do not forget about those questions. If you do not find the answer then you are proving that you are not trustworthy and that you do not really care about your students.
End with Group Prayer
Before you leave your Bible study environment, you should always attempt to have group prayer with your students. This gives your study a spiritual closure and lets the Spirit of God work on your students one last time before you leave. During this prayer you must be aware of the effect that your prayers are having on your students. I have seen closing prayers end with someone getting the Holy Ghost. So this is not some mere formality, but a dynamic time for change in your students. It is the chance for your students to decide to follow God’s way and reach out for Him. Do not treat this time lightly and be sure to take full advantage of it.
Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of prayer. It is your job as the teacher to make everyone feel at ease. There are a few things that you can do to help everyone feel more comfortable with prayer. The first one is to have everyone stand in a circle and hold hands while we pray. By having everyone stand in a circle you are stating that we are all equal in the sight of God.
When everyone holds hands, you are forming a bond with each of your students, as well as letting them strengthen the bonds that they already have with each other. You are “laying hands” on your students in a non-threatening way. It was not until the apostles laid their hands on the Samaritans that they received the Holy Ghost, Acts 8: 14- 16. This is your opportunity to lay your hands on your students and pray with them.
Another way to help those that are uncomfortable feel more at ease is to lead the prayer. Some of your students may have never prayed before. They do not know how to pray and forcing them to pray by themselves will only make them even more uncomfortable. For this reason you must be ready to lead your students in prayer.
Encourage your students to pray with you. Then when the prayer starts speak clearly, slowly, and loudly enough so that everyone in the group can hear you. You are teaching them how to pray, by your example. Hopefully, they will begin to follow your example before the conclusion of the Bible study. Then they can begin to develop a prayer life of their own, but it all starts with your example. It is not always easy to lead people in prayer but it is an important part of a successful Home Bible Study.
When you lead the prayer your goal is to keep it short and simple. Avoid the temptation to pray a flowery prayer with lots of “thees and thous.” Keep your prayer short and simple. A short prayer should not last more than two minutes. Unless God is seriously moving on your students you should keep your prayer time short. Try to use everyday words that your students are familiar with. If you pray a prayer that nobody but you understands, it won’t be effective or help your students. Also, please resist the urge to “talk in tongues.” Unless your students have already received the Holy Ghost, they will not understand this, and it might put them off. So keep your prayers short and simple for the sake of your students.
The final way that you can make your students feel more comfortable with prayer, is to take a personal prayer request from each student. You should restrict each student to a single prayer request for the sake of both time and your memory. Once you have everyone stand and hold hands, go around the circle and ask each individual if they have a single prayer request. It is extremely important that you pay attention and remember the request of each student. After you have everyone’s prayer request ask everyone to close their eyes, bow their heads, and pray with you.
There is something that you can do to help you remember all of the requests. You can look up at the students while you are praying. Before you begin to pray, ask everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes. Then they are not looking at you. Glance up as you pray and make sure that you have mentioned each person’s request in the order that they were given. You can do a mental checklist of each person’s request as you look around the circle to be certain that you have prayed for each need.
By praying for requests, you are accomplishing a few important things. You are relating the power of God to your students. You are showing them that prayer can be about anything and at anytime. They do not have to wait for a church service or a special time to pray for their needs. You are bringing prayer down to their level and praying about their needs. Praying with your students will show that you care about what happens to each of them.
Also, you are opening the door for God to do a miracle in your students’ lives. This is prayer, and prayer works. The needs that you are praying for can and will be met by God. After the prayer, write down as many requests as you can remember. Then make sure and ask about those requests when you arrive early next week. Perhaps before your Bible study is concluded, you will see God’s power move in and perform a miracle in a student’s life. Then you can point out what God did, because He is real and because your group prayed about it. It is hard for anyone to argue against their own personal miracle. All of these things happen when you pray for the requests of your students.
The most important part of ending with prayer is to be spiritually aware. This is the climax of the Home Bible Study. Your lesson has building and building to this point. At this time your students are thinking about what you have just finished teaching. They are deciding whether they will accept God’s plan or not. So when you pray you should expect to see someone trying to reach out to God. Watch for conviction moving on your students. Shaking shoulders, tears, sobs, and moans, are all signs of conviction.
If conviction is on only one or two, then end the prayer and let the others leave. Stay behind and ask those that are seeking God if they would like to continue praying. If they agree that they want to continue then stay and pray with those students that are feeling after God, until they either break through or they feel that they are done. If the students do not want to continue praying then recommend that they pray on their own. Let them know that you will be praying for them, and then go yourself. Try not to be too pushy about prayer, but do not be afraid to ask if they would like to continue praying.
Invite to Church
Many times at the end of the study, the teacher answers questions, has a short prayer and leaves without ever inviting the students to church. That teacher has just passed up a prime opportunity to impact the lives of the students. It is in the church that students will hear our music, see our worship, and feel God in a more powerful way. There are alters at the church for repenting. There is a baptismal tank at the church so they can be baptized. There is an anointed and experienced pastor to help pray with your students so they can receive the Holy Ghost. The teacher should do everything that they can to get their students to come to church.
Know all of your service times. Tell your students exactly when each service starts. Also be aware of any special services, revivals, activities, or fellowships that are going on. If possible have a flyer from the church describing the special activity to give to your students. Another way to invite students to church is to invite their children to Sunday School or Super Church (your church’s mid-week service, if applicable). By inviting the children you might get the parents to bring them. Be ready to give directions to the church from your students’ homes. Make sure that you have accurate street names when you are giving directions.
If it is financially possible for you, offer your students a free dinner if they will come with you to church. Tell them that you will take them out for dinner on Sunday afternoon if they will come to church with you on Sunday morning. Offering a meal is usually an effective way to invite someone to church. If your students agree to come, then make sure and call them the day before to remind them about service times. Let them know how much you are looking forward to seeing them in church. Ask them if they need a ride or the directions again. Remember, do not ask if they are coming, just assume that they will be there.
Making sure that you end your Bible study correctly will help tremendously in the overall effectiveness of your Bible study. Take time to find out if they have any questions and clear up any misunderstandings that they might have about the lesson. End with group prayer. Take their personal requests and let God move on your students. Give Him the opportunity to do a miracle in their lives. Lead them in a short and simple prayer and then invite them to church. If you will remember each of these things when you are closing your Bible study, then you will begin to reap the fruits of Home Bible Study in souls being won to the Lord.
Benjamin Favel has labored in many areas of ministry. While attending College, he worked on the Perspectives magazine and in a nursing home ministry. Since his graduation from IBC in 1999, he has been a youth pastor, Sunday School teacher, Christian school supervisor, bus captain and campus minister. However, his greatest passion is in the area of Home Bible Study. Currently, Benjamin serves as the Outreach Director for Pentecostal Temple in Midland, Michigan. He is a General Licencsed Minister with the United Pentecostal Church. Benjamin and his wife, Linnea, live in Midland with their dog, Peanut. This is his first book.