Lead Your Group

Effective leaders do not serve as teachers or lecturers. Instead, they should see themselves as facilitators who guide their group, encouraging people to interact with each other. This is good news. Not all of us are gifted as teachers, but most anyone can promote effective discussion by following these guidelines:

  1. Prepare your heart before the study: Pray for God to help you understand the study material and apply its teachings to your own heart and life.
  2. Pray for the members: Weekly, pray for each member by name, asking the Holy Spirit to use the Bible and study materials to speak into their lives.
  3. Begin and end the study on time: Let your group know that you value their time and will begin and end the study on schedule.
  4. Explain the importance of group discussion: As members share their answers and insights, God’s Word becomes real and practical. They learn from each other and can encourage one another to grow in knowledge and understanding. Try to affirm answers when possible. People will respond to questions more easily when they know they are heard, and their insights are appreciated. It can be helpful to set the tone for healthy discussion by reading over the ABCDs of Group Discussion found below during the first study.
  5. Don’t be afraid of silence: When you ask a question and the response is slow, sometimes people may need more time to think before they share. The silence usually seems longer to you than to others.
  6. Resist answering the question yourself: Let everyone have a chance to respond to a question. After others answer, you may share your own thoughts if you like, but be careful not to dominate the exchange.
  7. Never reject an answer: If you reject an answer, even if it is wrong, people may not risk giving their opinion again. To make sure responses reflect the truth of the Bible, you may ask, “Which verse led you to that conclusion?” Or let the group help bring the comment in line with Scripture by asking them what they think about the question.
  8. Avoid tangents that take you off-topic: If people wander off course, gently bring them back to the passage and question being studied. Our ABCDs of Group Discussion guide at the bottom of this page is a valuable resource.
  9. Guide the pace of the study: Most studies are designed to be completed in one session, rather than just ending and completing a lesson at the next meeting. This gives your group a sense of completion and closure, especially for members who may miss the next session. It is best to try and complete the lesson, even if you have to skip some sections to focus on key questions.
  10. Decide how you will include prayer in your Bible study. The How to Incorporate Prayer guide below will help you explore options.
  11. Consider reading the Group Mission and Values below to help set a healthy tone for your neighbor Bible study.

Explain these points as guidelines for Bible Study sessions.

ABCDs of Discussion:

A = Audible (Be loud enough for all to hear)
B = Brief (Share statements, not stories)
C = Christ and Content-centered (Stay focused), Confidential
D = Discuss without Division (Don’t talk about politics, denominations, or controversial issues)

These guidelines will help keep the Bible study session on track, avoiding tangents. If the conversation veers use phrases like:
“Let’s get back to what the Bible says/what the lesson is asking.”
“Each opinion is valuable, but during this time we are committed to discussing what the Bible says.”
“We want to keep the focus today on God and His word, not our opinions, but if you would like to talk after the study, I’m available.”

Remember, the goal is to explore God’s word together, not have discussion over controversial things.

The atmosphere of the Bible Study should encourage openness and transparency among members. This is an environment where people should feel free to be themselves.


To provide an environment where people can begin or deepen their walk with the Lord, through studying God’s Word and building friendships with one another.



The atmosphere of the Bible Study should encourage openness and transparency among members. This is an environment where people should feel free to be themselves.


For authenticity to occur, members must be able to trust that issues discussed within the group are not to be shared outside of the group.


Everyone is given the right to their own opinion and all questions are encouraged and respected. The study is discussion-oriented, and everyone is encouraged to participate, but no one is ever required to answer. Each member should monitor their own discussion time so that everyone has a chance to share.


Members should never say anything that will embarrass other members of the group.


We will strive to come to the study with our assignment completed. However, our priority is spiritual growth within the group. We would prefer you to attend and learn through discussion rather than miss the meeting.


It is important to create an atmosphere where members affirm and encourage one another, build each other up in Christ, and love and care for one another.


Because we represent many denominations, we will value our differences (which are few) and will celebrate and focus on what we have in common – God’s Word spoken to us through the Bible.


While we recognize the awesome power of prayer, our primary focus is on Bible study. We should feel freedom to share prayer requests without judgment, knowing they will be kept confidential. Prayer requests will be gathered in the following way: (edit to fit the needs of your group).

Embracing the importance of prayer without your group becoming singularly focused on it is the key. Members should be assured that requests will not be repeated outside the group.

Based on the maturity level of your group, here are some ideas for closing in prayer:

  • The facilitator closes the study with a simple prayer.
  • Members record personal prayer requests on 3×5 cards. The leader collects cards and prays at the end.
  • Members record personal prayer requests on 3×5 cards and exchange cards to pray for one another throughout the week.
  • The facilitator can circulate a notebook for members to record their personal requests and pray over those requests at the end of the study.
  • The facilitator can circulate a notebook for members to record their personal requests and enlist a volunteer to take it home to distribute prayer journal entries via email. One benefit to keeping a prayer journal is the ability to look back and reflect on God’s faithfulness in answering prayer over time.