Forming your own community Bible study group is simple and easy. There’s no need to conduct a complicated recruitment process or advertising campaign–just start with who you know.
Make a list of the communities that you're already connected to
This can include your church, your school, your job, your sorority/fraternity, organizations, your friends, your family.
Think about the people you know
Who are the people you’d like to strengthen your relationships with? Are there relationships in your life that need healing, or others that you’d like to nurture and grow? Make a list of these people.
After getting some essential information about your class figured out, return to this list as a starting point for sending out invitations.
The Who, What, When, Where & Why
It’s best to hash out some details–who will be facilitating, when and where and how often the class will be held–before sending out invitations. We held our community Bible study every Tuesday night from 6-7:30pm on Zoom. Although we chose to hold all our classes online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we believe that in-person classes could provide the opportunity for deeper discussions and connections. At the same time, providing an online option enabled those with childcare or job responsibilities to participate when they otherwise could not. We invite you to choose the best platform and frequency based on your community’s needs and capacity. We have included in this toolkit our fourteen-class curriculum–enough for four months of weekly classes with two one-week breaks where needed.
Once you know the 4 W’s–when, where, who, and what–for your community Bible study, it’s time to invite folks in. Start with the people on the list you created earlier. Try to make your invitations as personal as possible. If you can, sit down over coffee or dinner to share your vision and mission for the community Bible study. Ask questions to try and uncover some reasons why the person you’re meeting with might want to participate. If in-person meetings aren’t possible, try a Zoom or phone call. If need be, you can send a text invitation or message on social media. Cast a wide net, and try not to take it personally if someone is not able to attend.
Check out the sample flyer below for an example of the kind of information you should include in your invitation. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like an editable version of this flyer!
Preparing for your first community Bible study
Once we had a conversation with someone we were hoping to bring into our community Bible study, we followed up with the above flyer and registration form. We encouraged everyone who expressed interest in the class to complete the form–which collected basic information such as name, email address, mailing address, and phone number–so that we could keep them up to date on class information. Responses to this form helped us create email lists and text chains to stay in touch with our participants and send weekly class reminders. We recommend Google Forms as a free, easy tool for creating your registration form.
We spent almost a month on the invitation process before launching our community Bible study. Do not worry if your registration numbers are not as high as you want them to be. We found that word of mouth was our most effective method of bringing people into our Bible study. Our very first class we had 20 people in attendance, but afterward, those people went and told their friends and family about their experience. After just four weeks, our group more than doubled in size. Still, we encourage you not to worry too much about numbers or metrics. Every person who attends the study is a potential heart transformed.