Online study groups
Thank God that in his kindness we have access to technology that allows us to meet around his word in our homes! But with many of our churches also now not held ‘in person’, the responsibility for Christian care of members has shifted more to home group leaders, so let’s start with three resources to help you lead and care for people well.
Together Through the Storm (by Sally Sims) — Our genuine concern for others is often hindered by valid fears, like the fear of not knowing what to do or say. This book helps us overcome this by setting out clear biblical foundations and very practical guidance for Christian care based in the word of God and in Christian hope. Sally also has helpful tips on caring for people during COVID-19.
The Small Group and the Vine (by Tony Payne and Marty Sweeney) — Being a good leader of a small group starts with being clear about what you are trying to do with and through your group. This five-session, video-based course takes you through the foundations and the basic practicalities of leading.
Being a Small Group Leader (by Richard Sweatman) — A short, practical book that encourages leaders of small groups to grow in five key areas: knowledge of God, character, teaching ability, encouragement of others, and team leadership.
Now, what to study together?
Living By Faith: Habakkuk: (by Ian Carmichael) — If we recommend a book of the Bible for you to study together, you might think we’d start with the book of Job! But the much smaller book of Habakkuk also has much to say to us in a time when we may be wondering whether God really cares about the goings-on of this world. What does it mean to ‘live by faith’? But we’d also suggest Job…
The Eye of the Storm: Job (by Bryson Smith) — … because Job is a book about life as it really is: where good things happen, bad things happen, and just plain confusing things happen; where there is grief and agonizing and asking why; and where there is God, whom we know is Lord of all, yet whose ways we don't always understand. These studies take us to the heart of Job, and to the valuable lessons it teaches us about life and suffering and the true wisdom of God.
But having recommended those two Bible studies in particular, there are plenty of other useful Bible studies you could do together. Just pick a part of Scripture and get into it.
Growing in Prayer (by Stephen Shead) — What a key time and opportunity to be working on your prayer life as Christians! This book is a four-week program of daily reflections for developing the habit of prayerful living. It also includes four Bible studies on prayer for individual or group use. Why not do the daily reflections on your own, but get together online once a week to do the Bible study together and encourage each other in prayerfulness?
From Here to Eternity (by Ray Galea) — Real sin and real suffering need real assurance, which is exactly what Ray Galea points us to in Romans 8. Take your group deep into "the most extraordinary chapter in the Bible" by reading chapters of From Here to Eternity alone and then discussing them together. With penetrating insight, good humour, and a disarming personal honesty, Ray opens up the wonders of Romans 8 and takes us to the heart of the Christian life. This book also features special contributions from Christians who share their personal reflections on walking with God through suffering and finding real hope and comfort in the promises of Romans 8.
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