Launching a Home Bible Study Ministry
By Ben Favel
In my travels around the country, I am often asked the question “How do I start a Home Bible Study Ministry in my church?” I mentally applaud anyone that asks this question, because it means that they have realized just how important Home Bible Study is to sustainable growth in a congregation. Obviously, the first step toward starting any ministry is realizing that there is a need for it. A pastor that does not see a need for a ministry will not invest the time, energy, money, and personnel from the church to make it successful. So first and foremost recognizing that there is a need for this ministry is the beginning step toward starting a Home Bible Study ministry.
But just recognizing that there is a need for a ministry is not enough. The ministry still does need to get started and be successful. There are many different facets of any ministry and most ministries tend to get pretty complex the longer that they are running. However, the points that I think are the most important for starting a Home Bible Study ministry are broken down in this way, plan, prepare, and proceed.
You must have a plan. This involves writing out some goals for the new department. What do you want to accomplish? How will you measure your success? You need some tangible goals that you can achieve. They cannot be abstract, but they must be solid. A good starting goal is figuring out how many Bible Studies that you want to teach in a year. Another part of planning is choosing the people that you think are most likely to be effective in this ministry. One of those people should be capable of leading the new department or at least helping you to run it effectively. Finally decide what church resources that you want to devote to this new ministry. Will the church be purchasing Home Bible Study materials? All of these questions should be addressed in the planning stage.
After you have your plan in place it is time to prepare. I have heard it said that “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Most ministries get through the planning stage. Goals have been set and personnel are selected. But then the ministry falters and no studies are being taught. The reason for this failure is because there was no preparation. Just because you tell a person that they need to teach a Home Bible Study does not mean that they will know how to do it. Someone has to take time to train them how to teach. One of the biggest obstacles that I have run across in my travels is that some saints don’t really understand how to teach. No one has ever shown them how to do it, or taken time to mentor them.
So because they do not feel confident in their abilities they are reluctant to teach. A successful Home Bible Study department will start on the basis of preparation. Teach your teachers how to teach. When you show them how to do it, then that will breed the confidence that they need to be able to teach on their own. Spend some time training the workers before you send them out into the harvest. Untrained teachers will not be very effective and will quickly lose their motivation. It is in your best interest to spend some time in preparation before you launch your new ministry.
Finally, you need to proceed with your ministry. This encompasses having some kind of “kick-off” in which you formally start your new department and get commitments from your teachers. The first commitments need to be small so that your new teachers are not overwhelmed, however as your ministry grows your commitments drives can grow too. Continue to follow-up with your teachers to check on their progress and to encourage them. Celebrate every Home Bible Study success with your teachers and your congregation. Let everyone in the church know which new converts are direct results of Home Bible Studies. This will generate excitement and allow you to recruit even more new teachers.
It is a good idea to continue promoting Home Bible Study whenever you get the opportunity. It is also wise to establish some form of mentoring for those that want to learn how to teach. The new teachers can go with some of your experienced teachers. The new ones can help the experienced ones and learn from them how to teach effective Home Bible Studies. This will keep the ministry continually fresh and growing.
A church that plans the ministry, and prepares for the ministry, before proceeding will always be more effective. As with anything you have to start off small and work your way up. I have heard pastors complain that nobody wants to teach. But I have often found that there is usually at least a small group of people in any congregation that want to teach. It is your job to find those people and work with them. Do not get discouraged because the ministry does not start off large or because not everyone wants to get involved. Work with those that want to teach. As they get established, they will help you recruit new teachers and cause your Home Bible Study department to grow. The great benefit of the ministry growth is that as the Home Bible Study department grows the church will grow too.
From: www.benfavel.com web site. Rev. Ben Favel has been used by God to create and develop long time needed training materials for this generation. While our message of salvation and holy living does not change, our presentation and style of teaching must sometimes change to meet the needs of the current generation. Bro. Favel’s Home Bible Study Institute has done just that. Truly “World Class” PowerPoint presentations along with student work books prove to be interactive for all those in attendance increasing their retention rate of the details of this much needed and proven ministry of Home Bible Study. Stephen Reed, Pastor