Ten Tips for Leading a Rocking ‘On The Rocks’ Bible Study…
- Help people move forward spiritually at their own pace. Some of the people may be real Christians and this will strengthen their faith. Others will be seekers who are more than ready to respond to a clear explanation of the gospel. Others will be quite ‘anti’ – and though this person may not respond to the gospel, hopefully they will come much closer to that possibility in the future because of a positive experience of this Bible study.
- Make everyone feel welcome and unthreatened. The goal is that many unchurched people will join. Be careful to be respectful as you listen to their perspective. And tell any Christians in the group to not come on too strong in trying to make others see it. This can be off-putting for them. Don’t feel you have to convert them, rather let God do that as you have conversation around the gospel. Don’t worry when people disagree with the Bible. Often as people experience non-judgmental people who caringly listen to their objections and questions, it seems like their objections melt away. Don’t ask people to pray or sing if they are not ready to do something like that. When you do pray, pray short prayers in normal language. The last question of each group time is ‘Anyone need prayer for anything’. This is a great lead into a few short prayers for those who want prayer. Be sure to find out if God answered the prayer.
- Work on your discussion facilitation skills. This means several things: Watch the DVD on your own a few times before hand, and go through the questions suggested – and come up with some of your own, Remember to ask open-ended questions that draw out people’s feelings and opinions. Stay away from factual questions. Don’t dominate the conversation, rather get other people to do the talking (since your role is to facilitate not teach). Affirm people when they do say something, even if it is small. Keep the conversation on track. Keep the pace moving. Always keep it shorter rather than longer. Carefully draw out the quieter people. Gently ask the dominant people to make space for the others to share. (An example would be to say something like, ‘Shem, you have lots of cool ideas, hold on to some of them for now – I would love to hear what Jake and Roxy have to say.’)
- Don’t worry about tough questions you feel you can’t answer on the spot. When someone has on objection to the gospel don’t get defensive. Say, ‘That’s a good question. There are lots of people who have asked that same question. And there are some brilliant answers. Can I get back to you next week as I give it some more thought.’ Then check out www.commongroundchurch.co.za and click on ‘Tough Qs’ to find answers. Perhaps email the person with the question the link.
- Create a cool meeting place. People should arrive and the place is ready. Make an effort to make the time together special. Organize music and snacks. Cut out possible distractions. Arrange the chairs in a circle with nothing in between people.
- Get creative. Think of ways to keep each time you are together fresh and interesting. How sad if these Bible studies are boring! Maybe get people to write things, think about things, draw things. Pray beforehand that the Holy Spirit will give you fresh ideas. Ask both funny and deep questions that will help people to get to know each other.
- Be real. As the leader you don’t have to have it all together. The more real you are about your struggles, the more real the people will be too.
- Persevere through disappointment. It is really hard when people either don’t arrive, or don’t seem open to building friendships or spiritually learning. Persevere. Keep praying for everyone in the group. Keep praying to God for strength and wisdom. ‘Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.’ (Galatians 6:9).
- Care for the people. This group is not about you, but about them. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Pursue people in the group who didn’t come and tell them you missed them. Encourage people as you see them growing. Be gracious to those who disappoint you. Invite everyone to come to church with you. And once the journey is over, keep the friendship going.
- Know that we’re praying for you. Here’s our prayer: ‘Jesus Christ, you love surfers. So draw 100s and 1000s and 100s of 1000s of them to find and follow you. Much like you once did when you drew your first disciples from the beach. Open the eyes of surfers everywhere to see how loving and powerful you are, and what you did for them through the cross and resurrection. We submit On The Rocks to you as one way of doing this. Use the DVD and the Bible Studies that go with it to revolutionize the lives of multitudes of these surfers! Oh God, empower Christian surfers everywhere with your Spirit as we expose surfers everywhere to the gospel through On The Rocks and other means. We won’t give up till the fame of Christ burns bright on every beach!’