Leading a Group in Person

Meeting in person has been the traditional way that most small groups have taken place.  It is a formula that works so well because it has been tried, tested, and truly perfected dating back to biblical times. So, what does a typical in-person group look like?

What Happens When Two Or More Are Gathered?

During the first meeting, you and your group will get to know each other and become acquainted with the study materials. The Core Team should focus on hospitality and organizing participants into small groups of 8–12 people for discussion segments. The first video for each study is an introduction to that topic and should be played at this time. Name tags help set a friendly tone at the first meeting, especially for new attendees and in the event that social-distance restrictions have everyone feeling a bit uncomfortable.

After that, there are four main parts to each Bible study that you and your group will complete each week:

  • Home Preparation: Your participants should complete their at-home readings from Scripture and work on the study questions found in the workbook. Encourage everyone to complete as much as possible, but assure participants that they will still get a lot out of their study experience even if they can’t finish their homework each week. (This is particularly helpful for busy parents or working adults.)
  • Group Meeting: (The following elements can vary based on your group’s needs.)
    • Hospitality: Welcome everyone and open with a prayer. Some groups start with fellowship and refreshments.
    • Small-Group Discussions: Meet in small groups to discuss the study questions and to share your insights into the Scripture readings.
    • Video Presentation: Enjoy the video presentation, which offers unique insights and profound connections to help you gain a deeper understanding of the topics that you explored that week in your reading and discussion.

A customized suggestion for the timing of each of these elements will be found in your workbook.

How Much Time is Required For A Meeting?

You will need one or two hours, depending on your group’s needs. Ninety minutes works well in most situations. You should consider (1) how long the videos are for your chosen study, (2) how long your group wants to spend in small-group discussion (we recommend 30–45 minutes), and (3) if you want any additional time for fellowship at the beginning or end of your meetings.

If you want to keep your meeting as short as possible, have your participants stream and watch the video portion for each session independently on Thinkific at their convenience during the week and then gather together for just the group discussion and fellowship. This works especially well for busy parents and working adults.

How Do I Encourage Participation and Discussion?

Set a friendly tone with intentional hospitality choices like name tags, light refreshments, and a smiling “greeter” at the door. All Core Team members should be circulating among the attendees, chatting in a friendly manner, and helping people feel welcome.

Do I need to purchase DVD's to lead a study in person?

There are three ways your group could view the study videos:

  • You could watch the videos on DVD, gathered as a group.
  • You could watch the videos streaming from our Thinkific website, gathered as a group.
  • Each person could watch the videos independently at home on the Thinkific website.

We strongly recommend purchasing the DVDs for in-person group viewing because this is usually the easiest method for volunteer leaders to manage and because the DVD sets can be reused later by other Bible study groups in your parish.

If your meeting place has a stable internet connection and connecting and viewing the videos is not a problem for your team, it is possible to stream the video content from the Thinkific website for an in-person group viewing experience. This option will save you money, but remember that you must have an excellent internet connection and a dependable computer/projector setup to display the streaming video. Furthermore, keep in mind that the Thinkific video streaming access expires one year after your workbook purchase. If you’d like to have the videos to come back to in the future, the DVDs are the best option.

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