How to use The Loved Bible Project as a Disciple-Making tool for Small Groups

Recently we shared on social media about a small group of a group of neighbors meeting together wanting to learn more about the Bible and using The Loved Bible Project to guide their gatherings. Many people were interested in how this looked and how they could start with a small group.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to discipleship. As a disciple-maker, it’s important to consider where your group is regarding their spiritual maturity, what the next step is for their growth, and how to walk alongside them. If you know someone or a small group of faithful, available, and teachable individuals who want to grow in understanding the Bible and what it means to follow Jesus, then keep reading!

Who would this be good for?

These are just ideas, do not feel limited by these suggestions!

  • Think about an existing small group within your local church, a group of friends or neighbors, co-workers, or a group of students or teens.
  • Your small group could simply be one other person, a triad, or 4-5 people.
  • This would be good for anyone willing to meet regularly to grow in familiarity navigating the Bible to the basic key truths of the Christian faith.

If you do not have a group yet, pray for someone else to grow alongside you. Start a Loved Bible on your own and continually think about the people in your life. Pray for who your one might be and keep your eyes open for people God puts in your path!

Now that you have a small group…

You are going to create an active learning environment to grow in familiarity navigating the Scriptures. Instead of listening to a lecture or reading a systematic theology, everyone in the group will use the Bible to learn the Bible. Each individual will have their own Bible to use specifically for the purpose of the project. This Loved Bible will be used to highlight key truths from the Foundations Workbook. The Foundations Workbook lays out basic beliefs of the Christian faith, summarized into key points.

Preparation tips:

  • It’s helpful for each participant to have their own copy of the same Bible. Check out our Resources for suggestions.

  • Why use the same Bible?
    • We’ve heard from people that they don’t participate in group Bible studies because they feel shame and comparison, even when it comes to the Bibles people bring! Using the same type of Bible starts everyone on the same page.
    • Loved Bibles are supposed to be given away. Get a fresh Bible to begin the project, not your personal Bible. At the end of completing the Foundations Workbook with the group, we suggest that you give this Loved Bible to someone else. Invite them to go through it with you, or to make their own alongside you. This encourages everyone in your group that we make disciples that make disciples! We don’t want to similar take in information and knowledge, we want to share it and help others grow.

  • Supplies: We encourage a simple list of supplies to get started: highlighters, sticky notes, and a pen! See Step 2 in the Getting Started Guide.

Your first meeting:

  • Depending on your small group, your first meeting may mostly be about building community and connecting the various individuals in the group.

  • Build community. Ice-breakers are great ways to make an environment less intimidating. Here are a few to get your started:
    • If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    • What does a normal Friday night look like for you?
    • If you had to teach a 90 minute workshop with no preparation, what would be your topic?
    • For more ice-breaker ideas, click here or here.

  • Set expectations. Use questions to help set expectations!
    • Why are you here? Ask everyone “Why are you here?” and don’t forget to talk about why you were led to gather. Cast a vision connecting “why you are here” answers to the project and loving a Bible.
    • What difficulties in the past have you faced trying to read the Bible? Ask everyone to share obstacles they have had in the past. Determine how the group can help. For example: accountability with people doing the same and consistent meetings help with making Bible study a priority. Encourage the group can share not only their difficulties, but habits that have helped them!
    • Determine a regular meeting time. Try to find a consistent rhythm so everyone can prioritize and plan around it. We have found every other week to be really effective for 1-1.5 hours. Time management tip: If you meet every other week, on the week where you don’t meet, suggest everyone still reserve that time to work on their Loved Bible or a Prepare Your Heart activity from the  Getting Started Guide.

  • Remember: You want this to be a space for growing and learning. Your group may have lots of questions. As you lead your group, you’ll need to balance building community, answering questions, and also create a manageable pace to work through the Foundations Workbook.

You are ready to start the Foundations Workbook!

It’s time to get started using the Foundations Workbook to love a Bible. Again, we cannot emphasize enough – discipleship is not one-size-fits-all. You will need to adjust depending on the maturity of your group. These are prompts and conversation starters to help get you started, but as you go through the process you will learn what works best for your group.

A sample month:

  • Week 1: Initial meeting
    • Build community / conversation starters / ice breakers
    • Set expectations
    • Give an overview of the project
    • Distribute Bibles, Foundations Workbooks, and Getting Started Guide
    • Review Bible Basics
    • Homework suggestion:
      • Review the Getting Started Guide – talk about the importance of the “Prepare Your Heart” step.
      • Think and pray about who you might give your Loved Bible away to.
  • Week 2 Off
    • Keep in touch with everyone during the off week (whatever works for your group – text or email). Start to develop a pattern of praise and prayer requests. Sometimes people are not familiar with what this means, so it may be helpful to ask “What are you thankful for this week?” and “What is challenging, stressful, or a burden this week?”
    • What is everyone using to “Prepare their Heart”
  • Week 3: Foundation 1: What is the Bible
    • This foundation will probably take the most time and may take more than one week to cover. You are still building community and familiarity with the process.
    • You may decide to highlight and add notes while you meet together while you discuss the Biblical Overview and Key Truths. If you find this process is taking a lot of time, it may be helpful to have the group highlight, add notes, and flag the Scriptures in their Bible during their off week. When you meet together again, review, and discuss questions.
    • Remember to take time to continue building relationships, pray, discuss who you could give this Loved Bible to.
    • Is your group spiritually mature and using the process to prepare to make-disciples? You may be able to move through the process more quickly, but still take time to discuss the conversation starters or brainstorm what other questions might come up.
  • Week 4: Off
    • Continue to keep in touch with everyone during the off week. Ask “What are you thankful for this week?” and “What is challenging, stressful, or a burden this week?”
    • Everyone finishes highlighting and adding notes for “What is the Bible” as homework

  • Week 5: Review Foundation 1, start Foundation 2: Who is Jesus
    • Continue the discussion of the Biblical Overview and Key Truths to Remember from Foundation 1
    • Practice what they have learned. For example, if someone asked you “What is the Bible” – what would you say and where would you go in your Bible?
    • Talk through “Prepare Your Heart” ideas (Getting Started Guide)
    • Repeat through Foundation 2: Who is Jesus.

Let us know how we can help you get a small group started!


Comments

  1. Sandi Wellnitz

    This is such a well thought out blog and resource to have a TLBP small group that is discipleship minded! Heart it so much!

    I am gonna start praying about this and consider it as part of my next (early 2022) growth plan.

    Who? When? Where? (Time to open the house wide open!)

    Love ya Project Team and Anne Marie,

    Sandi In WI

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