Resources for Small Groups

As our small groups wind down for summer, some look forward to well-deserved rest, some plan to serve as hosts for our summer coffee times or meet informally for a mid-summer picnic, some are deciding now what they might study together come fall.

If you’re interested in a topical study, I can happily recommend the Upside-Down Living series from Herald Press on money, technology, sharing faith stories, and other themes. Each study features six short sessions that reflect on Scripture, engage group discussion, and wrestle with practical issues.

Our church staff read through Sharing Faith Stories together, which sparked some lively discussion, and in between the sessions from the book we also took turns sharing our life stories, and learned something new about each other. The book has also been used by other small groups and as resource material for a youth retreat, so it’s been well tested.

I’ve previously mentioned Sharla Fritz’s Waiting: A Bible Study on Patience, Hope, and TrustIn contrast to the short form of the Upside-Down Living series, this Bible study offers eight chapters of solid content to read on your own, with a study guide at the end of the book.

Each chapter features a woman of the Bible well acquainted with waiting–like Hannah who waited on God for a son, and the woman who struggled with disease for twelve years until she was healed by Jesus. The study guide works well for both personal and group use, with a variety of questions and activities to choose from depending on your group and time frame.

InterVarsity Press published its first LifeGuide Bible study over thirty years ago. The intent of these inductive guides is to create conversation around Scripture, with the goal of covering the books of the Bible, selected biblical characters, and themes.

If you are a grandparent, or know someone who is, I recommend one of the newest LifeGuides, Grandparenting: Loving Our Children’s ChildrenThe nine studies for individuals and groups include praying for grandchildren, nurturing contentment, family forgiveness, when it is time to step aside, and other topics.

For those immersed in the world of work, I appreciate the Denver Institute for Faith and Work. Theology of Work – Free Small Group Resources lists a  variety of half-hour studies on biblical characters; hour-long studies on ambition, dealing with a bad boss, and other work-related topics; video resources and lessons for kids.

Other Resources for Small Groups:

4 Lenses for Selecting Curriculum – Promoting self-discovery, digging into the Bible, aligning with your church’s values, pointing to Jesus.

5 Things to Look for When Choosing Your Next Bible Study – Another practical checklist from checking for diversity of material to the number of discussion questions.

Choosing a Bible Translation – A helpful overview of popular English Bible translations and how to choose a Bible.

How to Lead an Inductive Bible Study – A basic guide to inductive Bible study, with sample questions and tips on leading.

What Makes a Good Bible Study – Look for a study that increases your knowledge, creates a lively group experience, and offers practical application.

Writing/Reflection Prompt: What resource for small groups would you recommend and why?

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