Starting a New Home Bible Study Ministry in the Local Church
By Tim Massengale
Question: If I want to start a home Bible study ministry in my local church, how does one go about doing this?
First, you need to make sure you have a clear vision for your church and this ministry. Have you and your leadership team identified your vision and mission statement in documented form? If you haven’t, now is a good time to create them along with a set of core values that can be your guidelines for how the home Bible study (HBS) ministry will operates within your current structure and for any new ministry proposal.
After looking over your church’s vision, mission statement, and core values, complete the New HBS Ministry Profile provided below.
New Home Bible Study Ministry Profile
1. Do you understand the vision of our church, and do you believe this HBS ministry will help expand that vision? Explain how.
2. What is the purpose of the HBS ministry and/or mission statement of the HBS ministry?
3. Who is your target group as HBS teachers? As HBS students?
4. Will you need any resources from the church to get the HBS ministry started?
5. How has God equipped and prepared you for this ministry? What is your background and knowledge in this area of ministry?
6. What are your spiritual gifts, abilities, and skills, and how will they help you in this particular ministry?
7. Do you know other people who have a passion for this area of ministry that may want to join you?
Once these questions have been completed, make sure you are clear on the following:
* Have you presented a clearly articulated purpose for the home Bible study ministry?
* Is there a current need in your church or community that will be filled by this HBS ministry?
* Do you have the tactical skills and knowledge needed to accomplish this HBS ministry?
* Are your spiritual gifts, abilities, and skills match what’s needed to lead this HBS ministry?
* Have you identified other people in the congregation who will join and become a part of the HBS ministry?
Steps To Starting a Home Bible Study Ministry
1. Read all available materials on starting a successful HBS ministry.
a. Chapter Eight (part 3) from Total Church Growth by Tim Massengale
b. The How-Tos of Home Bible Study by Ben Favel
c. Explosive Church Growth through Home Bible Study by Ron Willhoite
d. Secrets to Home Bible Study Success by Doug Joseph
2. Complete a Home Bible Study Director Job Description for your church and this ministry. Samples can be downloaded from AIS or adapted from Total Church Growth by Tim Massengale
3. Draw up a plan of action to launch the ministry and submit it to the pastor.
4. Determine what kind of studies you will be promoting: multi lesson or single lesson or both. This will influence how your training seminar is taught.
5. Set a date for a HBS training seminar. Determine if you are going to teach this training seminar yourself or bring in an outside speaker.
6. Promote the seminar well. This should be an exciting event that all would want to attend.
7. Check and double check your schedule for the training seminar. Make sure all aspects will come off well. Gather needed materials. Provide food and refreshments.
8. On the church service following the seminar, have a short “commissioning ceremony” in which you give all who completed the training a completion certificate and then commission them to go forth and win souls.
9. Meet with your trained teachers at least monthly. This should be a brief meeting after service. Encourage them. Share testimonies. Talk about your successes and your failures. Offer ideas. Encourage them to get a study to teach (or many studies).
10. Plan a monthly, 15-20 minute HBS promotional time on a Sunday night for the whole church. Use creative promotional ideas. Don’t just “preach” for fifteen minutes. See the article “35 Ways to Promote the Home Bible Study Ministry” that can be downloaded from AIS or requested from Tim Massengale
11. After about two months, any trained teacher that has not been successful in getting their own study to teach, help them get a study using the Quest Survey or one of the many other methods of getting home Bible studies. Request or download the file “How to Get More Home Bible Studies than You Can Teach” by Tim Massengale from AIS, or you can request this from Bro. Massengale directly.
12. After about six months you can scale back the monthly meeting to every other month or quarterly. But never stop these short, after church meetings. HBS teachers need ongoing encouragement, ideas, suggestions, and support. Make this a team effort. Set realistic team goals (number of studies to teach, number of people baptized from studies, etc.)
13. Plan to have a refresher training seminar every year. Plan to have a HBS teacher appreciation banquet each year as well.
14. Understand that the three key elements to a successful HBS ministry in the local church are:
a. Promoting the HBS ministry much and often with a wide variety of methods. Keep the ministry visible! Never let it die!
b. Train your HBS teachers. This includes constantly getting and training new HBS teachers, as well as regular refresher training for your existing HBS teachers (these are often done at the same time).
c. Obtain HBS’s from many sources. Help your teachers stay busy. No teacher should go six months without a study to teach.
Used by permission. www.apostolic.edu. Written by Tim Massengale. 2008