Bible Study Goes Virtual
Nothing replaces the face-to-face interaction that takes place in a Bible study group. Body language gets lost in the virtual world and some things are beyond our control. The group you lead is your group and Lifeway does not want to replace you. Instead, we want to help you continue to lead your group and do it well even if you can’t meet face-to-face.
If your church has decided to not meet in response to COVID-19, that does not mean you need to stop leading your group to study the Bible. Here are some ideas that may help you during these days.
- Use Social media platforms to conduct a virtual class. Skype, FaceBook Live, and Zoom are some of the more common virtual platforms. Each has pros and cons. If you use FaceBook Live, encourage the group to post questions in the comments. If you use Zoom, remind the group to either mute their personal video or be aware that others can see them.
- Use text to your advantage. You may want to create a group experience through a group text. Send everyone in the class a group message and remind them to read the Bible passage to be studied and the content in the Personal Study Guide. Set a time for a teaching time to take place and do it by group text. Treat the group plans in the leader guide or leader helps to a text script. Begin by posing the question at the beginning of the lesson you would have used if you were meeting face-to-face. Direct the group to read a passage section. Give them time and then send a follow-up question (use the questions in the plans or the Personal Study Guide). Allow for group response. Close with a challenge and encourage the group to begin to look at the next lesson or if using the Daily Discipleship Guide, direct them to complete the daily activities in the week ahead.
- Use Social media to foster discussion. Instead of going live on FaceBook, post a recording of you doing a summary of the lesson ending with a question or two to foster discussion (use the questions in the resources). You will want to make this a private group so the comments can be kept between the group.
This article comes from Ken Braddy, Director of Sunday School for Lifeway Christian Resources. Ken has several excellent blog posts about Bible studyand ministry during the COVID-19 crisis that are worth your time. Check out kenbraddy.com.
Great article! A question I’m dealing with is how to keep my older and less tech-savvy classes connected and involved? Many of my older groups don’t/won’t use social media. Other than maintaining contact through phone calls, what solutions do you see for keeping our seniors involved?
Andrew Hudson says
My colleague and counterpart for Explore the Bible, Fran Trascritti, wrote a FANTASTIC article about this. He walks you through low-tech to high-tech solutions to stay connected with your group. I’ve copied a portion of it here:
This is those who find themselves in the “I don’t have a clue” category when it comes to technology. Look, people learn what people learn, and there are a variety of reasons why someone has embraced—or not embraced—technology. The key focus for this category of a group leader is to do one-on-one discipleship and member care. Pastors should embrace this group because they probably are already connecting with each other. If not, a pastor can help coach their group leaders through a variety of low-tech options. Here are a couple of obvious ones:
Make phone calls. Almost everyone has a phone and deeply desires to interact with a human. A group leader or a designee can spend a little bit of time with group members on the phone discussing the group lesson for the week, sharing prayer requests, and checking on needs.
U.S. Mail. The post office is still efficiently delivering mail, sending cards, notes, study guides, and even verses of Scripture that encourage the heart are all great ways to remain connected with group members.
This is the “I have some clue” category of group leader regarding technology. This group leader might be on Facebook, can use email, and has used text messaging to communicate. The key focus for this category of a group leader is to do few-on-few discipleship and member care through care groups, online meetings, and mass messaging. A leader like this would do well by using the tools already mentioned plus these possibilities:
Emailing members. Send a word of encouragement, followed by the main points of the upcoming session along with application-oriented questions for the reader to consider from the Personal Study Guide or Daily Discipleship Guide.
Group texts. Send text messages to study a particular passage to focus on, pray for needs, or even a reminder message for an upcoming online group meeting.
Facebook Live. Although this is mainly a one-way conversation with some chat features, Facebook Live might be a useful tool for the person with some technological skills.
Zoom. Intimidated by the prospect of Zoom? There’s lots of training available, including some on Ministry Grid. However, one option is to recruit someone who is familiar with Zoom to host the meeting and handle the tech side of things, freeing up the group leader to teach the session.
Digital guides. While print guides are an option, the Spring quarter Personal Study Guide and the Daily Discipleship Guide are both available in digital, right now, free of charge. Church staff just need to go to curriculum.lifeway.com to get started.
Enon Tabernacle says
Hi we added a phone stream service now we broadcast to a toll free number for seniors to dial in. They love it!
I would like some ideas on that as well. We are doing Max Lucado Anxious for Nothing on Facebook and scheduling once a week Zoom chats. What I will do is send the older folks a paper copy of the corresponding devotional and invite them to call in to Zoom meeting to share prayer and thots for the week. I will begin 4/19 so don’t if it will work or not but was all I could come up with…
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Lynn Pryor says
Our blog is free because it supports the Bible studies that one can purchase: https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/bible-studies-for-life-adult-personal-study-guide-leader-guide-winter-2021-digital-M00100270