Today's activity – Plan your Bible study for your next group. Read Colossians 1:8-10.
There are three essential parts to every good Bible study.
Introduction – Every lesson needs a hook. As you start your study, the average person in your group is not engaged. They may even be wondering if this study is going to apply to them at all. You need a hook, you need an activity that will tweak their interest and get them thinking, "Yeah, I've always wondered about that!" You can always tell when you have set the table for the study that day when you see people lean forward.
For example: say your lesson is from Colossians 1. To start your study that day, you might ask a simple question. "Have you ever reached the point in your spiritual life that it seems like your prayers all start and end the same, like it has become some kind of ritual or something?" Let class members respond, and then direct them to how Paul prayed for the church in Colossae. (By the way, there are five things Paul prayed for this church that we would do well to learn.)
Content – After your opening exercise or statement, you must have content. Your group wants some meat, I mean… you want your group to learn this right? Let's stay with our Colossian study. How about breaking your class into groups and asking them to find five specific things in verses 8-10 that Paul prayed for this young church.
I know you're curious, so here are the five areas of Paul's prayer for the Colossian believers. He prayed that they:
- Be filled with the knowledge of God's will;
- Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord;
- Bear fruit in every good work;
- Increase in their knowledge of God;
- Be strenghened in God's power.
You can have quite a discussion just going through what these five areas of prayer mean and how to do them.
Application – Every Bible study needs some kind of application to our lives. My dad calls this moment the "so what?" part of the study. In other words, now that we've studied the Bible… so what? What will we do with what we have learned? Application is what makes Bible study something tangible and prevents your Sunday School from just being a history lesson! Let's stay with Colossians 1:8-10. First, I would hand an index card to each person in the group and have them write the passage and the five points of Paul's prayer on the card. Encourage them to learn them and to practice them every day, perhaps each night when the family sits down for dinner. Then, I would close the group in prayer, and do you know what prayer I would pray? Exactly… I would pray these five points for my group!
I hope you are enjoying our 31 days together. We are halfway through!
For a companion to this blog for your pastor, check out Brett Selby's 31 Days to a Better Church at http://brettselby.com.