The third element of a healthy group is Expanding Faith. Essentially, this means helping the members of your group be formed into the image of Christ. In my opinion, this is the primary purpose for your group's existence; therefore, it should be the primary focus for you, the small group leader.
This element requires the small group leader to know himself (or herself). While many leaders are capable of preparing an effective Bible study or discussion on their own, some group leaders will need help if they are to consistently lead their group in faith expanding gatherings. Fortunately, if one knows where to look, it is very simple to find materials that will work for almost any group.
Small group curriculum comes in many forms. If you take the time to look you'll find book studies, Bible studies, topical studies, video-based studies, studies that require homework, and studies that simply offer up a few questions for discussion. As the group leader, you need to know which type of study will work best with your group; and you need to know what subject of study will best help your group expand their faith. I believe the best way to make those decisions is to discuss these matters as a group. (below is a three-step process to help you accomplish this)
A Three-Step Process for Choosing Small Group Studies:
Sometimes groups have a hard time deciding what to do next. Here is a suggested process for determining what to study:
1. Discuss potential study formats and topics with your Small group.
· Possible Study Topics
· Individual Books of the Bible
· Strengthening your relationship with God
· Discovering giftedness
· Sharing your faith
· Applying Sunday’s sermon
· Possible Study Formats
· Video-based Curriculum
· Video-based Curriculum with Homework
· Discussion Guide
· Discussion Guide with Homework
· Book Study
· Leader Driven Study (no guide, the discussion leader creates the
· material himself)
2. Determine which study you desire to do. Sometimes it's easier to narrow down the choices. Use the following choices to reach agreement:
· Do we want to use the "sermon questions" or find our own thing?
· Do we want to do a video study (usually includes someone teaching) or
· do our own discussions?
· Do we want to do a topical study, a book study, or a Bible study?
· If we do a book study, is everyone committed to doing the reading?
· If we do a topical study, will we use curriculum or will one person guide
· our discussions?
· If we do a Bible study:
o What book/passage/section?
o Do we want to use a study guide or just read and discuss?
3. If appropriate, determine whether or not all members of your group can cover the financial costs required for your chosen study. If necessary, share resources to make sure everyone can participate.