DO YOUR PREPARATION
The most important keys to a successful Bible study discussion are
1. Pray before the meeting
2. Do your preparation of the study
3. Encourage those coming to have studied the same bible study outline before the day.
The aim of the discussion groups is to get everyone into the bible. As the leader you must have done the study prior to the time. Write down other relevant bible passages to support ideas you have got. This will help in getting you prepared and confident to lead the group.
Remember you should not do too much talking on the day. You are to lead the group not teach the group. Insights that you have received during your own study can either be mentioned along the way (if no one else has mentioned them) or used to prompt the discussion on. Needless to say, give adequate time to your payer time before the day.
It is a good practice to allow about ten minutes toward the end of the Bible discussion time for a time of praying over what has been discussed. This could be done in smaller groups of three's or four's.
GET A FOCUS AND KEEP TO IT.
Leading a group is not as easy as it sometimes looks. After doing your preparation you should be aware of the lessons being put across in the study. Try to keep the group discussion focused on the main points. You will be amazed at how easy it is for the group to drift off course and start discussing things totally unrelated to the topic in question. All our Bible discussions are geared towards relating Bible truths (whether Old or New Testament) to our present day living. There is no point in having an in depth theological debate on the merits and demerits of Esau's actions without relating it to ourselves.
KEEPING THE DISCUSSION FLOWING.
Some people have a tendency to do more talking than others do. There is no harm in this as long as other people are not denied the chance of talking because of them. However make sure the person or people doing the most talking are not going off point.
When leading a group pay attention to body language. Some people just speak out. Others either raise their hands in an attempt to speak or just look at you seeking attention to speak. Those who just speak out tend to do more talking. Do not be afraid to ask them to give way to the person raising his/her hand (or giving off any other signal).
Where someone has not spoken at all during the course of the discusssion you can ask him or her (politely) directly if they have anything to contribute.
KEEP TO TIME.
The time allocated to the bible studies should be known to everyone before the discussion begins. This can vary from one hour to half an hour. It depends on how much you have available.
There is no value in rushing these studies. If the allocated time runs out during the studies simply continue them during the next study. Do not attempt to rush them.
Groups of 8 people make a good size to manage for a discussion group. When half an hour is allocated for the studies it would take a group of about 8 people two sessions to complete each study here.
PREPARE FOR QUESTIONS RUNNING OUT.
Normally time is always tight. But if you ever experienced leading a group where no one has prepared you will be surprised how soon the questions can run out. In the unlikely event of this happening do not panic. Sometimes it might be just as good to let the Bible discussion end early. You might have not talked a lot but several deep and important truths might have been shared. Also, there is no point in forcing people to speak when they do not really have anything to say. They will only go off point.
Always keep to the Bible Study structure that has already been drawn up. Remember, everyone is studying the same thing. Do not turn up to the Bible Study group with an entirely new Bible study in your hand and a big grin on your face. You will only be told to do it yourself!