I’ve been reading up on ministry to college students (College Ministry from Scratch: Equipping Kids for Life after Youth Group, by Chuck Bomar) and want to share a little about what I have learned:
The best lessons are ones where the students read the passage every day that week, and then come to class prepared to discuss what they saw or what God illuminated for them.
We need leaders who facilitate a class more than teaching a class because people are already familiar with the passage when they come to the small group, there isn’t as much of a need for the leader to be a teacher. Whoever is leading ought to know the passage and make sure the true meaning of any particular passage is known to everyone. I’d even recommend that the leader have a commentary on hand in case a question comes up during the discussion that the group cannot address on its own. But most of the time, the leader won’t have to say much at all.
The leader can lead by facilitating—making sure the passage is known and applied simply through the discussion. This can be accomplished by asking basic questions such as:
- What are two things that really stood out to you in this passage?
- What do you think this teaches us about God?
- Did you see a repetition in theme or words that gave you a better understanding of what this is about?
- Were you convicted to do something because of this passage?
- As you read over the passage this week, was anything confusing to you?
- How does this section fit into what the author’s been saying up to this point?
- How did this passage change or affirm your perspective on life?
The potential list of questions is limitless, but the key is that the leader facilitates rather than teaches. Without the people even realizing it, the small group can become a lab for learning to study Scripture. People naturally learn and inevitably end up helping others learn, too. People begin to see the value of Scripture. Once this happens, we no longer need to talk about having quiet times.
People will automatically invest their time and resources into what they find valuable. So, very little influence in this area is needed.