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The Pace of Discussion in Bible Study

A good Bible Study leader has a sense of the pace of the class. She varies the pace—sometimes fast; sometimes slow.

A good Bible Study leader is like a good movie director. We need a change of pace. Fast, action, blow-stuff-up movies occasionally slow down. Sappy girl-friend movie occasionally have a good chase scene. OK, so maybe that was not such a great example.

I nearly always start a lesson with what I call a get-to-know-you question. (This is discussed in my book Disciplemaking Teachers.) Bible Study is not just about getting to know God and the Bible; it is also about getting to know one another. There is a verse somewhere that says we grow in Christ as we get closer to each other.

So, I always start each lesson with a get-to-know-you question. Something like:

  • Share your name and where you lived when you were 7 years old.
  • Share your name and where were you in the birth order of your family?
  • Share your name and where is the farthest you have been from this spot?

These questions have several purposes:

  • They get everyone—especially the quiet people—talking.
  • They allow the group to get to know each other better.
  • I try to tie them in to some aspect of the lesson. I am not always successful at this.

But, here is the real point. The questions go FAST. I usually set the pace by giving an answer in one sentence. I don’t ramble. I don’t pause. I don’t muse. This is go, go, go.

Later in the lesson you will want to set up some silence for people to think. When you ask those questions, you will want do so slowly. By asking the question slowly, you hint to the group that they can pause to ponder before answering the question.

By the way, let me ask you a question: what questions do you have about leading a Bible study group?