Hebrews 4:12 “The Word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword.”
Since high school, I have been participating in and leading Small Group Bible Studies as a way of growing closer to the Lord, and helping others to encounter Him. It was never something easy for me, but it has been so powerful to meet Jesus in the Scriptures. In the last 15 years of leading Bible Studies, I have seen countless lives transformed by the Word of God. There is nothing more rewarding than getting to see a soul catch fire with the Holy Spirit. Yet so few Christians are willing to embark on this great adventure of helping others meet Jesus in Bible Study.
I understand it is intimidating and there are many good reasons for not leading a Bible Study, but I want you to lead one anyway.
It will be worth it.
Here are the top 3 reasons that I hear whenever I give the invitation to step out and lead.
1) I don’t know enough about the Bible to lead a Bible Study,and someone might ask me a question that I don’t know the answer to.
Of all the excuses – I mean reasons – people give for not leading a Bible Study, this is the one I hear most often. Odds are, you may think leading a Bible Study requires a lot of knowledge and training, and perhaps a special skill set that you don’t have. But in truth, you don’t need to have all the answers about the Bible to lead a great Bible Study. A great Bible Study Leader is someone that loves the Lord and can ask interesting questions about a short passage of Scripture.
A Bible Study leader’s job is not to be a teacher, but a facilitator of conversation.
If you’ve spent even a little bit of time with the Bible, you know that God has used people even less equipped than you are for His glory!
Now let’s talk through that dreaded scenario: you’re leading a Bible Study on Adam and Eve and suddenly Johnny asks, “If God didn’t want them to eat from the tree, why did He create the tree anyway?” You’ve never heard that question before and you know you don’t have an answer. But I’m the leader, you think to yourself, I’m going to seem like a terrible leader if I can’t answer this question. Actually, you’re not a terrible leader if you can’t answer a question; you’re a great leader because you can admit that you don’t know the answer. You’re going to say, “Gosh, that’s a great question and I actually don’t know the answer. Would you mind if I do some research and get back to you?” Then later that week you’re going to actually do the research and give Johnny a call and say, “Hey Johnny, I did some research on that question you asked during Bible Study. Would you like to get together sometime this week to talk about it?” Look what you’ve done! You’ve won Johnny’s trust by being humble enough to admit what you don’t know, you’ve won Johnny’s respect by making a commitment and sticking to it, and you’ve won the opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with Johnny about the Scriptures. You’ve won–or better yet, you’ve let the Holy Spirit win through you–all because you chose to lead a Bible Study, even though you didn’t know everything there is to know about the Bible.
2) I don’t have time.
Neither do most people who do great things for the Lord. And yes, leading a Bible Study, even if there are only a handful of people that attend, IS a great thing for the Lord. None of us ever has time to give to the Lord if by “having time” we mean “I can do this without having to change something about my current situation.” It’s true, I really don’t have time to lead a Bible Study if I also want to keep getting up at the same time, watching the same amount of TV, and spending the weekend the way that I currently do. You don’t have time to give. You have to make it.
There’s an old saying: “You can’t out-give God.” This applies to time just as much as money.
There have been many times in my own life that I have been absolutely convinced that I didn’t have the time to do the things that God wanted me to do. Sometimes I made the wrong decision and didn’t give the time to God. Other times I said the prayer, “Lord, I don’t have the time to give so if I give it to you, you have to give it back to me somehow” and then I made the sacrifice God asked me to make.
You will not regret being generous with the Lord.
I have never once regretted making the decision to give time to God. He always makes it work, sometimes in some pretty miraculous ways.
3) I don’t feel called.
I’m surprised how often I encounter this phrase as a way of shutting down an invitation to do something heroic for the Kingdom. I’m going to let you in on a secret that most Christians don’t seem to know:
God rarely calls us purely through our feelings.
In fact, too much attention to our feelings is very often our biggest obstacle in hearing the voice of God. I’m not saying that God doesn’t work through our feelings. He does. But if our feelings are the first place we go to find out if God is calling us to something, it won’t be God’s desires but ours that will be the final word in what we choose.
Instead of beginning with the question “Do I feel called?” try asking these questions first:
“Do I really believe that I am loved by God unconditionally and do my decisions reflect that?”
“Am I currently using the good things I have from God for His glory?”
“Do I have the ability to learn how to be a good facilitator of conversation about Scripture?”
“What are the areas of comfort that I would have a hard time letting go of, even if God asked me to?”
“If Jesus was sitting right here and asked me to sacrifice something, what would it be?”
“Have others suggested to me or told me that I would be a good Bible Study leader?”
“If I do not think God wants me to lead a Bible Study, how does God want me to serve Him?”
This last question is super important! Maybe you aren’t called to lead a Bible Study. Maybe your life circumstances (perhaps the hours you have to work, the needs of your family, your unique set of talents) really do prohibit you from being able to lead a Bible Study. But God is still calling you to serve Him somehow. I beg you to invite Him to use you, whether in leading a Bible Study or in some other way. But beware…”Lord, use me” is one of the most dangerous prayers we can pray because God will always answer it, and He will almost always draw you out beyond your comfort zone to do it!
Whether or not the Lord is calling you to lead a Bible Study, I hope you will at least take it to prayer and do not let fear make the decision for you. There are great (free!) resources for learning how to lead a Bible Study. Check out www.focusoncampus.org for lots of resources on leading a Bible Study.