I recently subscribed our church to an incredible online library of over 500 small group video-based studies. Each study includes not only the videos, which you stream from the Internet and show your group, but also discussion guides and participant guides for the leader and group members. This is an excellent resource that we have unlimited access to, and I would encourage any group to take advantage of it. Here are three recommended studies from this site:
This six-week video series focuses on parenting and features teaching from Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church, Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage, and Kurt and Olivia Bruner, founders of ItStartsAtHome.org. This is an excellent study for groups with parents who are raising their children to know and love the Lord. My own group is currently going through this series. No book is required (which is great for young parents who have little time to read during the week!).
This six-week video series is based on one of the best marriage books I’ve read, Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas. I give a copy of this book as a wedding gift to every couple I have the privilege of seeing married (whether as a guest or a participant in their ceremony).
This 12-week video series goes through the New Testament book of Philippians and features teaching from one of my favorite pastors, Matt Chandler. His teaching is powerful and challenging to new believers and seasoned saints alike. I promise you won’t be disappointed as Pastor Matt walks your group through one of the most profound books in the Bible!
One of the biggest things I’ve learned from my hermeneutics class this semester (by the way, “hermeneutics” is just a fancy word for Bible interpretation) is that the Word of God was and is meant for community. Understanding the Bible is a community-based exercise, not something you should exclusively do alone. Before you start getting worked up because Pastor Andy just said you don’t have to read your Bible on your own, hear me when I say that this does not replace personal Bible study! What I’m saying is that Bible study shouldn’t be an individual practice only.
When we read the Bible, there’s a lot that we don’t understand. But I may see something in a passage you miss, and vice versa. When we study together, I can fill in your gaps and you can fill in mine!
Plus, we each bring our own ideas to the Scripture and we have a tendency to read our ideas into what the Bible says, rather than allowing the Bible’s ideas to override and change ours. The only real way to “check your baggage” is by studying the Bible with others who may see a passage differently than you do. Dialogue with that community can quickly reveal your baggage and help you arrive at a fuller understanding of a text.
I guess the last thing to say about this is that community Bible study also helps keep us accountable. It’s like exercise. I’m much more likely to run if I have a running partner who will stay on me when I’m slacking. I’m – You’re – We’re much more likely to study God’s Word if we have a partner or partners who will stay on us when we’re slacking (and we will).
A Picture of Biblical Community
A Connection Group is a small group, usually around 6 – 14 people, who pursue discipleship together in biblical community.