Did you know that your room affects the learning of the people in your group? Whether you meet in a traditional Sunday School classroom or in the family room of a home, the way you arrange your room affects the message and learning of your group.
What do you do with those moments before your group officially gets started? You need to plan your way through this time. Often we let people amble in and find a seat. What if you have someone who is new to the group? Do you really want them to sit there for 15 minutes by themselves? And if you think it is awkward in a church classroom to spend this time by yourself, imagine being a guest in someone’s home and get stuck in a corner by yourself?
- Arrive early yourself;
- Enlist a person or two to serve as your group host/hostess;
- Provide snacks;
- Have some background music;
- Consider providing some kind of conversation piece that ties into the Bible study.
Arranging the room
Arrange your room with two things in mind. One, arrange it in such a way that is conducive to life-changing Bible study. Two, arrange the room that is user-friendly.
Avoid rows of chairs. A key difference between small group Bible study and a worship service is that a small group Bible study is meant to be interactive. It’s difficult to interact with the back of someone’s head! Set the room up in a circle or semi-circle. If more than one circle is needed, add another inner circle.
Use a focal wall. The focal wall is the wall that you want the group to face and it is more than likely the location you will lead the group from. You might have a white board on it, or a stand with tear sheets. If you are using a video-based study, the television will serve as the focus point.
It is best for the focal wall to be opposite the room’s main entry. Many times people will look in the room as they walk down the hall and distract the people in the group from the study. Also, arranging the room so that the main entry is opposite the focal wall allows group members to make graceful exits, and not walk in front of you on their way to the bathroom!
Try to avoid having people look directly into windows. For many people, the bright light of a window causes headaches.
Use neutral tones
Neutral tones help people relax. For many groups, we are aiming for a relaxed, informal discussion of the Scriptures.
Avoid bare walls
Put pictures and posters etc. on room walls. Try to avoid the sterile “prison” look to your room.
By putting a little thought into the arrangement of your group’s meeting room, you can enhance the content and discussion of the Bible study and involve more people.