Whereas the pulpit provides concentrated spiritual guidance from a small portion of the reading, and adult Sunday School provides a more general overview, small groups are the venue where personal interaction, fellowship, and sharing of the Word takes place; the place where God’s Word really becomes personal.
The Bible studies available on the Walk with the Word web site and emailed weekly in our newsletter are formatted to address the need of small group and individual Bible study, greatly emphasizing the application of God’s Word to each individual’s walk. Using this format, a small group “leader” is really more of a “facilitator”. After reading through a specific portion of the reading (rarely more than a chapter and often less), the small group leaders guide the discussion through the Scripture point by point by asking questions that elicit the group’s participation to jointly observe, interpret and apply the passage to their personal lives.
Having heard a sermon from a very small portion of the reading and received a general overview of the entire reading, the small group setting is the opportunity for personal sharing, exploration and mutual support in the study of a section of the reading. People tend to feel a little less inhibited in their participation at the group level having had reinforcement from their pastor and Sunday School teacher the previous Sunday. This creates the necessary bridge from passive listening to lives that begin to experience behavioral and heart changes. It is the final step of making all that they’ve learned to apply to their personal life and heed the call of God’s voice to become more committed not just as hearers of the Word, but doers.