In recent days, my Facebook feed has been full of photos of children headed back to school. I love seeing all of these little faces with their new clothes and chalkboard signs proclaiming it’s their first day. It makes me a little nostalgic thinking back to my own children’s first days of school. I think there’s nothing better than a new backpack, new school supplies and the anticipation of what to expect in the next nine months.
This is also the time of year your church is most likely gearing up for a busy fall, including women’s Bible studies. Whether you have children in school or not, it’s a great time to plan to get involved in an organized study of God’s Word. Just like new school supplies, there’s something fun about a new Bible study, new pen, and new notebook to start off the fall. If you’re a Bible study leader, here are some tips on getting ready for a successful fall study.
1. Pray about which study you want to offer. Pray you will offer a study that will help women increase not only knowledge of Scripture, but also application. Pray for the women who need to come—especially the women you haven’t met. Pray for good and balanced discussion. Pray for biblical community to be formed in your time together.
2. Consider which study or studies you will offer. By this time, many of you already know which study you are going to offer, but if you are still looking for a new study, click here for some Bible study options or visit your nearby LifeWay Christian bookstore. Here at LifeWay, we’re super excited about the revised and updated version of Discerning the Voice of God from Priscilla Shirer. Also, look for Beth Moore’s new study, The Quest, which releases in September.
3. Make sure you have the childcare question covered. If you are offering a study on a weekday, have you worked with your church staff to provide childcare for toddlers and preschoolers? If you’re offering a study on Sundays or Wednesdays, is there a program in place for children? If so, make sure your study fits into the time frame of those programs.
4. Ensure you have communicated well. How do women in your church know what you’re offering? Here are just a few suggestions on getting the word out:
- Use social media to advertise the study. Whether your women are on Facebook or Instagram, use these networks to get the word out.
- Have a sign-up table in your church foyer. Provide an easy way for women to sign up. Purchase study books ahead of time so they can pre-purchase the study.
- Place signage or advertise wherever your church allows. Maybe you will put signs on the back of bathroom stalls or in the weekly worship guide. Ask for an announcement in the church e-newsletter, in the worship guide, or whatever communication tools your church uses.
- Get creative! Maybe you can print business cards for women to distribute, set up a ministry fair for your ministry, or advertise the study in your community.
5. Communicate your needs to your church staff. Maybe you need the room set with round tables. How many chairs do you need? Do you need to complete a room request for your maintenance staff? Do you need video equipment? Make sure you know how to start the DVD player and adjust the volume so everyone can hear. Work with your church staff to ensure you have the equipment you need for your study—before the study begins. Maybe you need to make sure there’s room for refreshments or coffee. Be organized and enlist volunteers to help make sure you are ready for the first day.
6. Speaking of the first day of Bible study, start on time. In fact, as a leader, be there early. Greet everyone who comes to the study. Have name tags so women can get to know one another. Provide background music and make the atmosphere inviting. Donuts or treats are always a good idea too. In addition to starting on time, make sure you end on time. Time is a valuable commodity, so show women you care by having a well-thought plan and sticking to the plan.
I’m excited about your church’s fall studies. In fact, post a photo of your “first day” of Bible study and send them to me via Twitter @kellydking. Maybe your group will make it on our blog soon!
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources and oversees the YOU Lead events. Join her this year and get to know her heart for ministry leaders. Follow her on Twitter @kellydking.