If your life is anything like mine, it’s littered with complexity even as you strive for simplicity.
I let my elementary school-age boys choose one extra-curricular activity to participate in last fall. The result? I lost 5 out of 7 dinners with my family, and I increased my gas budget by 50 percent. What appeared to be a measured, simple addition to my life wreaked havoc on everyone and added layer upon layer of complexity that took several weeks and hundreds of dollars to unravel.
If you’ve ever led or taught a Bible study group, you’ve experienced a similar predicament. Perhaps the text you were studying was so rich you just didn’t know what to say, so you said it all. Or maybe the topic was connected so well with your group that nearly every facet of it was discussed so that nothing was really discussed at all. Experiences like this can lead a group leader to wonder, “How can I keep what our group studies simple for the sake of my preparation and everyone else’s understanding?” Consider these simple ideas.
- Evaluate your resources. One of the best ways to simplify what your group studies is to assess whether or not you have the right tools to begin with. In addition to your Bible, you likely have a short discussion guide or an exhaustive and thorough teaching guide to help you lead, or maybe something in between those two. Ultimately, only you know what tools work best in your hands for your group. Simplify your studies by assessing whether or not you’re using what’s best for you and your group.
- Own the content. Just because you’re using the right resource doesn’t mean that your study is simple enough. Let’s face it: a mass-produced Bible study resource was made for every group, which sometimes can mean it’s not always a perfect fit for a specific group. And if it’s not right, it adds a layer of complexity even though it exists to make your life simple. That’s one of reasons why many group leaders have rejoiced at the introduction of smallgroup.com. At this site, group leaders can quickly customize an expanding library of more than 1200 studies covering hundreds of topics and every book of the Bible. Add or delete questions and commentary, or tweak the language to reflect your church or group’s language. You won’t find a better tool for helping group leaders own the content and simplify their studies.
- Share the love. Even the most prepared group leader cannot and should not try to cover everything. Simplify your life and your group’s content by giving them a copy to study with on their own at a later time. You’re relieved of the burden of guilt for not covering everything, and they are relieved of the burden of sitting through the study while you try. If you use smallgroup.com to create your study, you can send it to them through the site in a variety of digital formats. How simple is that?
Don’t let the richness of God’s Word and the complexity of the tools available to you crowd out your need for simplicity. Evaluate your needs, own your study, and give it away. What could be simpler?