How to Prepare and Teach a H.B.S.
If you are interested enough to be reading this book, the chances are good that you are equipped to teach right now. The tools and qualifications are few and simple. It will be necessary to obtain the Search for Truth Home Bible Study charts, a Teacher’s Manual, study outline sheets and a good reference Bible. These inexpensive materials should last many years.
Of course, if you are leading others to salvation, it is important to first complete those same steps yourself. How can you lead others where you have not yet been? Here is a self-check list:
__ Have I repented of my sins?
“. . .except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).
__ Have I been baptized in the Jesus’ Name?
“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27)
__ Have I received the Holy Ghost in-filling evidenced by speaking with other tongues?
“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).
__ Am I a growing Christian, involved in a Spirit-filled church and under subjection to a faithful pastor?
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).
__ Am I following the guidelines, doctrines, and standards set by my church and the Bible?
“Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Titus 1:9).
__ Do I have a genuine, burning desire to influence and lead others to the same salvation experience I have received?
“For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth” (Isaiah 62:1).
If you can honestly say “yes” to each of these questions, you are almost ready to teach a Home Bible Study!
BE A BIBLE STUDY GRADUATE!
In any teaching experience, it is important for the teacher to have the proper training. Instructors of all educational institutions are required to complete a prescribed course of study before they are certified to teach. A certain amount of knowledge must be mastered before it can be transferred to another.
The same principle applies to teaching a Home Bible Study. Mature Christians or new converts can teach a Home Bible Study after a short training period. That training should include completion of the Home Bible Study series.
Be a Home Bible Study graduate! Complete the entire series of lessons at least once. Coupled with a complete salvation experience, you have preliminary training for your first effort. However, it is advisable to invite another, more experienced teacher to join your first sessions.
“BUT I’M NOT WORTHY!”
As you evaluate yourself against the checkpoints given earlier, don’t grade too harshly. None of us has achieved perfection yet and we won’t until we are resurrected in Jesus Christ’s likeness! Sure you have faults, shortcomings, weaknesses, and failures.
That does not prevent your teaching a Home Bible Study! It serves Satan’s purpose to make you feel “unworthy” of sharing this truth with others. Don’t accept his lie! He will use every trick to stop your efforts. After all, you are invading his territory when you carry the Gospel to the unbeliever. You can expect resistance from him.
Paul wrote assuredly that you are worthy if you have obeyed the plan of salvation and are studying to improve your knowledge of God’s Word:
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
Home Bible Studies apply here! Once involved in teaching, you are pleasing to God, being fruitful in every good work. You are, increasing your knowledge of God. And you are walking worthy!
Rise up, be strong, do your best and wage war against Satan’s fortress! Your life will be more rewarding, overcoming and thrilling than ever before! Your shortcomings, weaknesses, and failures will blossom into victories, strengths, and milestones in the overcoming Christian life!
Remember, you don’t teach a Home Bible Study because you are a dynamic Christian-you teach it to become one! It is all a part of the process. Every teacher will agree that they became a stronger, more victorious Christian through this teaching experience. It is certain!
While you are busy studying, learning and preparing to share with others, the Lord is busy pouring more and more rich things into your own life! The giving principle applies here:
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).
“BUT I CAN’T TALK!”
When you are asked to speak to a group, what’s your reaction? If you are like most people, it is sheer terror. According to the Book of Lists, the number one phobia in America is the fear of public speaking.
When you consider teaching a Home Bible Study, maybe you feel an overwhelming sense of inadequacy and lack of self-confidence. “But I just can’t talk!” you may insist.
If this is a problem, consider advice suggested by great and effective public speakers. Dale Carnegie, founder of the Carnegie Institute for Public Speaking makes a valid point. He assures that anyone can talk. If you smash the face of the most illiterate man in town, he will get up and speak with an unequivocal eloquence, heat, and emphasis! Mr. Carnegie proclaims, “Any man can speak acceptably in public if he has self-confidence and an idea that is boiling and stewing within him”.
That’s it! You are presently equipped to talk effectively. You have an idea-the plan of salvation laid out in easy, organized lessons. And your experience is “boiling and stewing” inside of you! Mr. Carnegie described it perfectly!
The prophet Jeremiah affirms this principle. When he refused to talk publicly, he felt the idea “boiling” inside:
“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my; bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay” (Jeremiah 20:9).
In his extensive training course, Dale Carnegie asserts how to lessen anxiety for speaking to a group. Simply, make the following preparations:
Pick the right subject. This first step is easy! The Home Bible Study course offers the “perfect” right subject. You know you possess the truth. Therefore, the Gospel is the right subject to share with the world!
Pick a subject you feel deeply about and have earned the right to talk about. If you have received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and experienced the joy of salvation, you have indeed “earned the right” to share it with others!
Pick a subject you are eager to relate. Once the Holy Ghost becomes resident inside, you are infused with a motivating “power” to relate your experiences to others.
Develop an eager desire to communicate. You must have a deep desire to transmit your convictions to listeners. Being a Christian and obeying the Gospel will not make you an effective teacher. There must be that invisible element (often termed a “burden”) that is born in the heart of every successful soul-winner.
This burden separates the participators from the spectators. Most Christians want to become soul-winners. However, soul-winning occurs after a burden is born.
We discussed the dimensions of a burden in the last lesson about personal evangelism. But here is a brief questionnaire about this desire:
Are you deeply affected when you see sinners in your congregation? Do you help them find a salvation experience or do you rely on other Christians to do it? How do you feel about your neighbors? Do you frequently invite them to church? Does it matter that they may die in an unsaved condition? Do you consistently witness to believers?
If you are deeply concerned and are active in reaching them, then you do have a burden. Otherwise, you do not. In that case, begin praying now for one. The Lord will answer because it is His will that all be saved. And, it is His will that you become a soul-winner.
Begin praying and fasting earnestly and consistently. Soon you will feel an urging when you pray. Your spirit will become disturbed and troubled. You will find yourself wanting to pray more and more. Tears and strong feelings of deep anguish will accompany your prayer time. Welcome them, however strange they may seem. God is giving you a burden!
Coupled with these feelings will be a new awareness of lost souls. Suddenly you will view your relatives, friends, and acquaintances in a new perspective. You will be directing them to a salvation experience. Soon the burden motivates you into action as a soul-winner. With a burden, you will be effective. God promises successful results:
“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6).
When a burden is acquired, you can teach a Home Bible Study. You are so eager for people to be saved that you will do anything to prompt that response. That is why a burden is essential. It motivates you to do whatever is necessary to lead them to salvation.
All other preparation becomes automatic as you are engrossed and obsessed by a desire to win your friends to the Lord.
This burden will alter your routines. Teaching a weekly Bible Study drains spiritual strength which must be replenished through increased time in prayer and fasting. Prayer will then become a joy, not a drudgery. Like a gushing stream, a burden will flood your prayers, bringing tears, supplication, and intercession for the needs of your students.
Equipped? Yes, you can talk! You are “worthy”. You have the right subject and have earned the right to talk about it. Your burden will allow you to talk from your heart-not from the book. You will be teaching “from the inside out”. That invisible love and compassion flows from you to grip the listeners beyond what words can ever
accomplish. Your inventory of equipment is complete!
Preparation is most vital. Your Bible and Search for Truth Teacher’s Manual are some of your most valuable tools.
Remember, the Teacher’s Manual is an aid-not a script to be read. Never-NEVER-read from the manual during a session. This shows an evident lack of preparation. Always go to your study fully prepared, having mastered the lesson.
The weekly lesson material is very lengthy. This wealth of information is designed for you to read, retain and digest. Cover the concepts illustrated on the charts, including as many details as time permits to explain each picture.
Remember that is important for you to know more about the subject than your pupils. Dale Carnegie says that effective public speakers should know 40 times as much about their subject as they use. Be an “authority” on each lesson! By developing that priceless asset known as “reserve power”, your teaching becomes more effective.
Notes may be prepared on a sheet of paper or index cards to prompt your memory. Place them in your Bible for occasional reference. As you become more familiar with the lessons, notes will not be needed.
Many notes can be eliminated when you learn to allow each illustration to prompt your memory. As you study during the week, closely examine the charts to relate with the lesson material. Important points can be stressed with your voice fluctuations and also with appropriate hand motions and facial expressions as you teach.
Don’t write out your script. Written language obstructs smooth conversational language. As you begin to teach, trying to recall the script will steal the natural and spontaneous effect.
Likewise, never memorize the material word for word. You may forget it under stress or it may become a “canned” lesson. Your teaching will have the unimpressive effect of a mechanical robot. You want to communicate in a warm, human and friendly manner-which is impossible when you memorize the lesson.
For your first round of lessons, you may find it helpful to rehearse the lesson material orally. Ask a family member to listen or speak in front of a mirror. This trial run will fortify your confidence and familiarly for the “real thing”. However, the actual presentation will differ from the practice rehearsals you have made.
Many teachers consider the tape recorder a priceless aid for Home Bible Studies. Each lesson is recited then played back for self-examination. The teacher listens to the tape en route to work or during the lunch break. Check the Search for Truth order form to purchase the lessons on cassette.
Tape recorders and earphones are easily available and are a useful investment in soul-winning. Listening to the tape once each day will totally immerse the teacher in the lesson material. It is an effective and time-saving device for successful study. Try it!
Adequate suggestions have already been given concerning prayer. But its importance in your preparation must be emphasized. A lack of prayer and fasting will reflect a lack of power, spark, and anointing in your lessons.
You want your audience to “feel” the love of God flowing through you. This is possible only when prayer is made on a consistent, daily basis on behalf of your Bible study.
Fasting, coupled with your prayers, will create a higher dimension of dynamics in your sessions. Dedicate one day a week to fasting for your study. You will feel extra resources and it also helps prepare your students. True preparation demands it!
As you prepare your study series, definitely plan to teach the lessons in their designed, logical sequence. The first lesson begins with a concept of the Word of God and establishes its authenticity in the hearts of your students immediately. Should you skip around and teach the lesson out of proper sequence, an incomplete picture may be formed in the minds of your audience.
It is also important to initially establish the Bible as the sole authority. Impress upon your students that you will teach the Bible independently of all religious groups. This is your prime rule for the entire series of lessons. No derogatory statements will be made against any denomination.
You must also contact your students before the first session. Call to confirm the appointment and perhaps send a card to express your enthusiasm. Establish a definite scheduled time for the complete series of lessons. Once a habit is formed for a particular time and day, students will begin to eagerly anticipate your study appointments.
Now that you have the proper equipment and have made adequate preparations, you can now begin teaching the Bible Study. Carefully consider these suggestions to develop self-confidence and polish your style. Every teacher can become a better one. Aspire to be the best, most effective teacher you can be.
Remember, your pupils are learning from the moment you step inside their door. That is when the “lesson” begins. They watch and read every response, word, and attitude. Be on guard, but relaxed. Here are some helpful points to make their first impression of you a success:
__ Be prompt. Our busy society is time conscious. To waste another’s time is unforgivable and leaves a negative impression. Never be late! If circumstances delay you, call and explain.
__ Be consistent- Never miss a lesson- The continuity of the lessons is important to the growth of the seed you are sowing. Skipping a week implies that you do not feel the Bible Study is very important. Rearrange your schedule, if necessary, but try to keep a regular time of teaching the Word.
Many distractions such as vacations, holidays, illness and visiting relatives will occur. But accept the challenge that each obstacle presents. Sow the seed consistently from week to week.
As you plant an important seed in their minds, students have one week to allow that seed to germinate. Then they are ready for the next seed. To be irregular in your “sowing” is to interrupt God at work in their lives.
__ Make a pleasant appearance. Remember, the pupil is reading everything about you. Dress appropriately for the occasion. Make sure your hair and clothing are clean and fresh. Casual dress is acceptable for a home study. Don’t overdress or family members may feel uncomfortable about their own casual attire. Bathe, use deodorant and mouthwash to smell fragrantly. And be sure to wear your Search for Truth button, “I Teach Home Bible Studies”.
__ Be relaxed. Make your Bible Study informal. You are not in church leading a service. You are conversing with friends in a private room. From your arrival until leaving, you are the one to create a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
Whatever your mental and emotional attitudes, they are contagious. If you are having a good time speaking, your listeners will have a good time listening. Emotional attitudes are as contagious as the measles!
__ Be Positive and enthusiastic. A negative attitude is fatal to your project! Leave your problems, worries and personal difficulties at home. The world is full of tragedy, heartache, and disappointment. Exhibit the radiant joy of the Holy Ghost in your life! It will whet their appetite for that same joyous experience. Begin your visit with small talk, asking about their interests. Don’t bore them with a roster of your activities. Be a good listener. Encourage them to talk about themselves. It is a sure way to develop warm ties that will bring them closer to you and to God.
__ Watch the time. Don’t teach too long. Forty-five minutes is adequate for each session. If you do not finish the material, stop anyway. You can continue the lesson the next week.
Give your students a chance to respond or ask questions. Reply to their satisfaction. Remember to establish the rule about refraining from arguments the very first lesson-then keep it! If you feel a controversy brewing, change the subject.
Don’t stay too long after the lesson. To linger for a lengthy time may diminish the effect of the Word. After you have answered their questions, go home. Once the Word has been planted in their hearts, give the seed time to germinate.
__ Be a model Christian. Ready or not, you are on exhibit in the home of your students. They are reading everything about you. Be a kind, friendly example of a Christian. Let the love of God flow through you to reach and meet their needs. It is important to be sincere. They will detect insincerity immediately. Be yourself, enjoy yourself; but behave in a manner pleasing to God.
__ Pray in their home. Open and close each study session with prayer. Although you have spent much time in prayer, it is important for your students to hear prayer offered in their home. It personalizes their relationship with you and with God. The Spirit will linger long after you are gone.
Prayers should not be lengthy, loud or fiery. Be filled with compassion, warmth, and sincerity. Pray for the session and for the family. Pray for God’s protection, provision, and blessing to rest upon the home. Call their names in prayer and mention any special needs. This prayer tells the family that you really care about them. Nothing will draw them closer to you and to God!
__ Maintain a gentle spirit. Never criticize or belittle other churches, doctrines or beliefs. A student may be discontented with his present church, but your remarks may cause him to be insulted and defensive. Criticism is dangerous because it wounds the pride, diminishes one’s sense of importance and stimulates resentment. Then
you have lost any chance of winning them to the Lord yourself.
Remember-we are not dealing with creatures of logic, but emotional ones. You need all the favor you can obtain to win students. Any kind, honest compliment about pupils will only strengthen your position.
It takes character and a gentle spirit to be understanding. Souls are fragile and must be handled carefully and prayerfully.
__ Don’t make harsh judgments. State everything in terms of the Word of God. Accent any negative point with a positive alternative. Here are some examples:
Don’t say: “You should never baptize infants. That’s ridiculous!”
Instead say: “Nowhere in the Bible is infant baptism ever practiced or mentioned. But dedication of children was offered and encouraged.”
Don’t say: “You better get the Holy Ghost or you’ll be eternally lost!”
Rather say: “Scripture teaches that the power of the Holy Ghost will resurrect us at Jesus Christ’s coming. We are given that power when we are baptized with the Holy Ghost.”
If you make a harsh judgment, they may have good reason to question your authority. But if you state everything in Biblical terms, you have all the authority needed.
Remember to accent each negative concept with a positive alternative and your listeners will be more receptive.
__ Keep your vocabulary simple. Avoid slang or jargon that may be misleading or confusing to unchurched people. It may be perfectly understandable to you, but foreign to them, Just as algebraic equations are not taught in nursery school, the same applies in your home study. Communicate don’t confuse!
Many trite, “churchy” phrases are drastically misleading to the newcomer. Avoid this confusion by using simple language. Don’t preach! You are a teacher-and understanding is the prime objective!
Imagine you are a newcomer without previous knowledge or exposure to a Spirit-filled church. Interpret each of these underlined phrases:
“You better pray through or you’re lost!”
“We had a great move of God. People were shouting all over the place!”
“Just yield! The Lord is all over you right now!” “We better get ahold of God.”
“Get ready, God is going to pour it out on you!” “We have to get on fire for God!”
“Just keep praying. The Lord might slay you in the Spirit!”
You can see that these terms may confuse or even scare a person who is seeking God. The use of simple language transmits a clearer understanding. These phrases are not wrong to us, but avoid them in a teaching situation.
__ Use your hands and voice for emphasis. A student can easily become bored if you use a monotone voice and remain motionless throughout the study.
Use appropriate gestures to describe Biblical action and stress important points with an emphatic voice. This keeps you awake, too!
__ Use supplemental information. Giving attention to small details distinguishes between good teachers and great ones. Leaving printed literature in students’ hands each session helps emphasize the lesson all week long.
Developing the use of helpful supplemental materials will take consideration and time. Try to leave something pertinent with them after each session. It may be magazine articles or newspaper clippings concerning prophetic happenings, archaeological discoveries, tracts, booklets, study sheets, loose-leaf chart handouts or the Accelerated Bible Curriculum.
Select material based upon topics covered that week. For example, select a good book featuring the Creationist versus the Evolutionist viewpoints. Or, give them Accelerated Bible Curriculum Lesson One, God’s Word For My Life.
Do not flood them with too much-just an appetizer for more of the Word. As you study each lesson, search for appropriate materials.
Search for Truth now provides exciting, informative “Truth Series” booklets covering a variety of subjects relating to your Home Bible Study. These tremendous aids help students understand repentance, water baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, the Godhead, Divine healing and other topics. (For a complete listing of supplemental material, refer to a Search for Truth order form).
__ Review the previous lesson. At the beginning of each session, review the charts of the last week or those which help to establish the topic for that evening. As you point to the illustrations, make brief comments. Such review will help refresh the students’ memories and aid retention. It also helps you get your thoughts flowing for another session.
__ Put Your “hooks” in for the next session. As you conclude each lesson, it is important to tantalize their interest. Your job is to make them want to continue the series. Creatively introduce the next week’s topic so they will look forward to it all week. Always be enthusiastic and your audience will respond likewise.
For example, you may remark: “That concludes our lesson for this evening, but next week promises something special. Have you ever admired a beautiful monument, pondering over the historical event that happened hundreds of years earlier? Well, one such structure was erected to commemorate a future event. It symbolizes what is happening today. Next week we’ll talk more about it-the Tabernacle.
Students will be intrigued and fascinated. Use your creativity to elicit interest week after week.
During the course of your sessions, you will encounter questions that cannot be answered. Here are a few pointers in dealing with these situations:
When someone asks a valid question and you don’t have a correct response, reply honestly, Say something like: “That is a good question. I really don’t have the answer right now, but I’ll find out and let you know next week”. Check with your pastor, or use a reference book as soon as possible.
Then, call your student to explain the answer. He will be pleased and delighted that you found the answer and cared enough to call. This courtesy will prompt excitement for the next lesson.
“Tell me, was my mother saved when she died?” Never answer judgmental questions. If you reply “yes”, you may not be telling the truth. A “no” reply could lose your friendship and your Bible study. How much better it is to respond:
“I am not the judge. Since God will judge the souls of all men, we must leave this question in His hands.” Most students on the threshold of acceptance to salvation are not ready for the answers. Refer all judgmental questions back to the Great Judge who mercifully does all things well.
You may meet a student who is disagreeable and argumentative about certain points. Never allow yourself to be drawn into an argument, because no one can win.
It is easy to become involved in a disagreement. You know that you are right and he is wrong; you can prove it with Scriptures. But you lose your opponent’s goodwill. You have made him feel inferior, wounded his pride and insulted his intelligence, judgment, and self-respect. He may want to strike back, but he will never change his mind. All chances have been lost of winning him to the Lord by your witness or teaching. Remember, the only way to win an argument is to avoid it entirely.
Sometime during your Bible Study career, some student will challenge you. For example, you may be saying: “To speak with tongues is the initial evidence that you have received the Holy Ghost”. The student may interrupt: “Excuse me! I have the Holy Spirit and I have never spoken in tongues.”
What do you say? Do not emphatically insist that you are right and he is wrong. Sure, you can prove it in the Scriptures and on the chart. You can even tell him that he doesn’t really have the Holy Ghost. But NO! NO! NO!
Here is where the wisdom and the discretion of the successful soul-winner shines brightest. Do not condemn him. Try to understand him. Only wise and tolerant soul-winners will win here.
The following is the most important principle in this book: Be careful to show respect for your student’s opinions. Never tell him he is wrong.
To address his interruption, smile and respond: “You know, John, I don’t blame you for questioning my statement. If it’s not in the Bible, I have no business saying that. I occasionally am wrong. So many times I must search the Word of God. It is always right. I agree with you, that this is a pretty big statement for someone like me to be making. Let’s examine the facts together from the Bible.”
Then you gently review all the New Testament examples of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Carefully note that each instance was evidenced by speaking in other tongues. Ask him to read the Scripture references.
As the point becomes clear, never gloat or say: “So you see, I was right!” Be humble and wise in every situation.
Nobody will ever be offended when you say: “I may be wrong. Let’s examine the facts.” Admitting that you may be wrong is a virtue. It stops all argument and inspires your student to be equally fair and open. He may admit that he might be wrong.
When we are mistaken, we may admit it to ourselves. And if we are handled gently and tactfully, we may admit it to others. But if force is used, we will not relent-even if convinced of our error. Our human nature prohibits that admission.
“I may be wrong.” Those four simple words are like a magic phrase that stops all arguments, eliminates ill-feeling, creates goodwill and makes your student listen more attentively. An answer like that softens the most disagreeable person.
By saying that, you can be completely sincere and honest-you could be wrong! You have been wrong before and you doubtless will be again. Much is accomplished through reviewing the facts from the Word of God. Remember the wisest man of all realized the secret of avoiding argument:
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright…” (Proverbs 15:1-2).
Also, the greatest Teacher used this exact principle in His ministry. He also recommended that His listeners use it as well:
“Agree with thine adversary quickly…” (Matthew 5:25).
Christ implied, “Don’t argue with your Bible Study student. Don’t tell him he is wrong. Find a point of agreement, use kindness, compassion, tact and diplomacy. You’ll be a wise person.”
Actually your Bible Study series is a long process by which you are winning friends. While the true purpose is winning them to Christ, developing friendships is also very important. It heightens the effect of your teaching.
Likewise, as the friendship blossoms, so does their confidence and credibility in you. Such is the quality you want to achieve. That is where souls are won and influenced to Truth! The friendship road is the best one to successful soul-winning.
Let’s consider some ideas to help you develop that friendship more personally.
Following each study session, refreshments may be served. Eating together breaks down the initial formal barrier. You are not in a church atmosphere, so don’t create one. What comes more naturally in a home with friends and family than eating? lt ties you a little closer.
The early church utilized both the importance of sharing natural bread and the Bread of Life. Who can argue with their results?
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers… And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (Acts 2:42,46).
Paul’s missionary campaign included visits to sinners’ homes. Once he and Silas made a late call at the home of the Philippian jailer. The entire family was baptized that night. And, refreshments were served:
“And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house” (Acts 16:33-34).
You can use this tool effectively-but plan carefully. There are no set rules for serving refreshments. “Feel out” the atmosphere where you teach. Some families will applaud the idea; others will minimize it. Share the burden of refreshments with your host. Allowing them to contribute adds a feeling of responsibility to the Bible Study. An alternate schedule may suffice. If they serve the first week, volunteer a cake for the next.
As the teacher, bring home-made goodies only. Never pick up packaged cookies at the convenience store en route to their house. Little details indicate the importance of their friendship. The extra effort and time are revealing.
If you cannot bake something, pay someone else to make a home-made specialty. How much is a lost soul worth?
Be innovative for serving suggestions. Fresh pastries from a French-styled bakery are delightful treats. Chilled watermelon or home-made ice cream are also creative.
If you sincerely desire to win people to the Lord, you can easily join their interests. We can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than we can in two years by trying to get other people interested in us. Your students will likewise respond.
Real friends are made by expending extra effort to do things for them. And it will require time, energy, unselfishness and consideration. When they perceive your degree of sincerity and effort, they will respond with kindness and friendship.
Make calls on your students during the week to inquire about their well-being. Keep the visits brief unless they indicate otherwise. These calls verify that you are willing to spend time with them. Week by week you are weaving your way into their social life and spiritual development.
Consider how the following acts of kindness will affect your students:
Send a greeting card expressing enjoyment for the pleasure of teaching in their home.
Send birthday and anniversary cards to family members.
Send a thank-you note after the study is complete. Include a gift certificate to a nice cafeteria or restaurant.
Invite them to your home for a meal on a weekend evening.
Plan a combined picnic or outdoor activity with their family on a Saturday.
Send them a magazine subscription pertaining to a special interest or hobby.
Do not compromise your standards or convictions in your activities together. Obviously, going to the movies or watching a televised sports event are compromises. However, if such suggestions are offered, respond kindly with an alternative that both families could enjoy.
As you become involved in these activities, the friendship will grow. If you are to win them, they must feel that you sincerely want to be their friend.
Bring them into your circle of friendship and assure them how important they are to you. Be a good listener if they wish to confide. People want to be loved and needed. They will feel this as you become genuinely interested in them!
Dear Search for Truth,
I am interested in having a Home Bible Study like the one mentioned in some literature someone gave to one of my friends.
Since there was no accompanying church name printed on it, I am writing to you.
Can you please get me in touch with someone who could give me a Bible Study like this?
Soraida had been searching for God. Her friends dubbed her a fanatic because every night she attended a different church or prayer group trying to find God. She had tried everything in her search for peace; now she was trying religion.
A member of a Utica, New York, church gave an unstamped Search for Truth tract to a relative. It was lying noticeably in the relative’s home when Soraida came to visit.
“Here, you take this,” the relative said, handing her the tract. “I have no use for it. I know you are a religious fanatic right now.” Soraida took it and, compelled by spiritual hunger, wrote the letter.
The journey of that letter is also a miracle. Because there was no church in Hinckley, N.Y., this letter finally made its way to Pastor Maracich, in Utica (the closest church to Hinckley).
Finding the mobile home in the woods of Hinckley was a difficult task, but the pastor’s wife searched and found Soraida, a school teacher who had tried everything but Jesus. They began a Home Bible Study.
Soraida’s trailer soon filled with neighbors, leaving hardly enough room to teach. Soraida, the oldest of thirteen, has won a sister and several friends to the Lord-all from that one tract and subsequent letter! Her testimony is a tremendous example of how effective a Home Bible Study can be.
A nearby couple, Jan and Jim, attended that Bible Study. Both received the Holy Ghost a few weeks later while praying for their first time.
Soraida posts signs in the teacher’s conference room and talks to everyone she sees about God. At prayer groups, she plays audio tapes of the pastor’s wife teaching. Soraida has arranged for more Bible Studies to be taught to her friends and acquaintances.
Lori’s life was filled with misery. She was a young woman in her late twenties who sought love and care through drugs and alcohol.
She saw this ad one day: “Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready? Call this number, 000-0000”. Lori enrolled in a Home Bible Study, was baptized in Jesus’ Name and received the Holy Ghost. She began witnessing and won her brother, Mike.
Mike won his friend, Mitch, who now teaches Home Bible Studies. Mitch won his mother and his girlfriend, Rose.
Rose is teaching Home Bible Studies and the chain reaction continues… from one ad read by a hungry soul have come an endless host.
Herb moved to Maryland for a new job. Every night on the way home from work, he got lost in the circles and arteries of a new city. Repeatedly he came to a church parking lot. Finally, one evening after such a journey, he asked someone on the parking lot for directions. During the conversation, he was invited inside to see the new building.
Soon he was enrolled in a Bible Study. In a letter to his mother, he gave his testimony. Indignantly, she told him they had been saved all their lives.
She visited him at Thanksgiving. It happened!
Herb contacted his brother in Denver, who came for a visit. It happened! Also, it happened to his father . . . and to his mother’s neighbor.
And the miracles are being repeated every day. Why not add yours to the list?
Congratulations! You have accomplished the greatest feat possible. You have shared the joy of salvation and the glory of His Gospel with someone else. No task is more noble!
What are the rewards for the Home Bible Study teacher? The Word does not base your reward on the number of converts. But it does say your life will be filled with joy, happiness and radiance promised to no other vocation.
“And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday. And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not” (Isaiah 58:10-11).
If your students have not yet responded to salvation, do not become discouraged. Continue to meet with them as long as you are welcome. Extend the study awhile longer. Repeat it. Don’t allow Satan to defeat you. The Word promises forthcoming results.
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
Maintain the contact and interest until your students have accepted salvation or they wish to discontinue the study. Remain patient with them or you will lose everything you have tried to accomplish. Keep praying for them to respond.
If the students were baptized in Jesus’ Name and received the Holy Ghost before the last lesson, do not cancel the study. Complete all of the lessons. This will help to establish your new convert in the Word of God.
Your success in teaching a Home Bible Study will also motivate you to begin another study soon. The joy of bringing friends to salvation exceeds any earthly emotion you have yet experienced.
(The above material was adapted by a training course published by the Search for Truth International.)
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