The most common question group leaders ask church staff is, "What should my group study next?" We can give you all sorts of answers, but the truth is you're in a much better position to answer that question than we are. After all, you know your group.
If your primary responsibilities as your group's leader are to pay to attention to everyone's spiritual growth, and to create an environment where they have the opportunity to take next steps, then you are uniquely positioned to know your group members' needs.
So, here are three questions you can ask yourself the next time you're trying to figure out what your group should study next:
- Spiritually, where are my group members right now?
Is your group made up of longtime Christians who are relatively mature in their faith? Do you have new believers in your group? Is there a person or people in your group that are still on the fence when it comes to faith? Every person in every group has growth opportunity, but that opportunity will look different depending on the makeup of the group. Keep this in mind: when you're leading a mix of mature and new Christians, it's a good idea to prioritize the growth of the newer believers, while still taking the needs of the more seasoned Christians to account. That may mean exploring a book of Bible, making sure to keep your conversations focused on personal application (which is relevant to people at all stages of their spiritual journeys). Or it may mean digging into studies like Starting Point or Christian that explore the core ideas and theology of the faith, while asking the longtime believers in your group to help facilitate the discussions so they're challenged to pour into others.
- What might their best next steps be?
You can't know for sure someone else's best next step. More important, you're not responsible for deciding another person's next step. But you can make an educated guess in order to help them explore, discover, and engage. Are group members currently facing challenges in specific areas of their lives, like marriage, finances, career, or parenting? Those life issues are spiritual. Seeking God's perspective in the middle of tough circumstances can produce a ton of growth. Do your group members have a passion about serving others with their time or money? Giving them an outlet to pursue that passion might be a great opportunity for growth. Have group members expressed a desire to read the Bible or pray more often, while also saying they're frustrated or confused about how to create those habits? Devoting time to understanding and pursuing personal spiritual disciplines may give those group members the fuel they need to take a next step.
- What kind of study, resource, or experience might help them take those next steps?
As you think about what your group members need, think more broadly than studies. Sure, a Bible or topic-based study may be exactly what your group members need. But don't forget about the Group Activities page of the Studies & Resources section of this site. Maybe your group members need learn more about themselves through the Temperaments Assessment or the Spiritual Pathways Test. Or maybe your group really needs a shared experience like serving together or going on an overnight retreat to kickstart growth.
We're always around to help you answer the question, "What should my group study next." Don't hesitate to reach out. But the next time you're finishing up a study and wondering what's next, consider those three questions. They may lead you to an answer that's better than what we could offer because no one knows your group better than you do.