How to Start A Bible Study for Christian Teens
By Kelly Mahony
Many youth groups meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but not many of them break up into small home Bible study groups. While not all students may want to meet every week to study their Bibles from Genesis to Revelation in 10 to 12 lessons, but there are plenty of Christian teens that do want to take their faith to a deeper level, and also want to reach out to their unsaved friends. So whether you are a student or a youth worker, here are some steps to starting small home Bible study groups within your youth group for both spiritual growth and evangelism:
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Pray about it. It may sound trite to tell you to pray about starting a small home Bible study for youth, but a home Bible study takes a huge commitment. You need to be sure that what you are doing comes from the Lord, otherwise you may not have the strength to get through some of the tough times.
Talk to your pastor. While you may have a great idea to start a home Bible study group, your pastor may have some other ideas. He may also want you to have a certain focus or meet at certain times. You may also need to meet with your pastor regularly to discuss how the home Bible study is going and student involvement.
Talk to the students. Find out if there is interest. Most likely there will be a lot of interest in a weekly home Bible study, but you also need to find out preferred days of the week, whether Saturdays or evenings work better for students, etc.
Decide on a home Bible study series you will utilize. What interests your students? What are the Christian teens around you struggling with in their lives? Where do you see the most spiritual need? These questions along with prayer should lead you to a list of good topics.
Decide on the length. Usually a home Bible study series lasts about 10 to 12 weeks. If you make it too long the students get bored. If you are using a book as part of your Bible study, try to choose one that breaks up into sections. This way everyone stays interested. It also allows for teens to join in periodically and not feel lost. Prepare the curriculum.
If you are using a pre-made Bible study, like Search for Truth, a lot of the work is done for you. It comes with built-in questions and readings from the teachers manual. However, you will want to go over the curriculum first so that you can add questions and make modifications if needed. If you are creating the curriculum on your own, you will want it completed ahead of time.
Have students sign-up for the home Bible study. If you are ordering student books or supplies, you will want to do so ahead of time, and the money should not come out of your own pocket unless you want it to. It also allows for you to determine interest and make teens feel as if they are committed to the Bible study. Having students sign up also allows you to see if you will have too many students. There should be no more than 10 students in a group, so you may need to recruit more leaders and break the students up into smaller groups.
Make the emphasis on evangelism. Each young person should commit to recruit at least one unsaved young person to join the home Bible study group. Encourage them to focus on their school friends, siblings, and neighborhood youth. You might also suggest, if they are unable to find anyone, to look for the young person at their school that appears the loneliest and appear left out. Every school has youth that don’t seem to “fit in.” Often these are starved for friend and fellowship and would be excited to participate in a youth group study of this nature.
Start meeting. Sometimes it is helpful to bring food to celebrate the start of the home Bible study. Make sure everyone gets to know each other using icebreakers and go over the rules at the start of each the first lesson. Then enjoy the time everyone has together in prayer and study of the Bible.
How To Design Your Own Home Bible Study
By Kelly Mahony
So, you want to teach a home Bible study, but you would like to create the Bible study yourself. There are plenty of pre-made home Bible studies available for Christians, but you may find at times that the pre-made Bible studies just don’t fit the needs of your particular study group or the person you wish to teach. What are some important components of a home bible study, and how do you go about creating your own?
HOW TO START
Decide on an approach. Bible studies are done in different ways. Some Bible study leaders choose a topic and then assign certain verses or chapters in the Bible that relate to that topic. Others choose a subject from the Bible (ie: baptism) and read through all the relating verses in a systematic order.
Determine a topic. You probably have some ideas for Bible study topic, and you need to decide how you will address the subject. Remember, a typical Bible study topic only lasts 6 to 12 weeks. Also, you want to keep the topics relative to the needs of the person you are teaching.
Decide on a supplement. Some home Bible study leaders also use a book as a supplement to the Bible study, while others just focus solely on the Bible itself. Be careful about using a supplement book. You need to be sure that you are able to divide the reading up so that it is not taking away from student doing homework. It should also be a supplement that allows new students to join the home Bible study regularly.
Do the reading. It may sound like common sense, but you will want to do the reading ahead of time. It will help you develop the questions and memory verses from week to week. If you are unprepared it will show.
Determine the format. Decide on what elements you want to include in your weekly study. Most home Bible studies have study verses, discussion questions, and prayer time. You can use a sample Bible study guide to help decide your format.
Create an agenda and study guide. You should develop a basic agenda for each lesson. This way the student knows what to expect. You should also have a weekly study guide so that student knows ahead of time what needs to be read and studied. It helps to create binders or folders for the student where they can keep the weekly study guides.
These articles by Kelly Mahony were excerpted from About.com.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”