Study Guides & Small Group Training Options
There are several ways to study the Gifts of Freedom series of books with a group or a class. Studying these books in a group setting can provide a whole new level of discovery. But what study is appropriate? Where do you begin? And do you have what it takes to lead a group?
Who Can Lead These Studies?
Just about anyone! The first skill needed to lead a small group is simply the ability to organize a group, and get them to show up regularly. Being able to encourage others is a great skill to have for this, but that can come from others in your group as well. While a general understanding and/or some knowledge of the Bible is helpful, it is not required. But you’ll need to be willing to invest some time in preparing for each meeting. This will include doing homework and making sure your meeting place is available and set up for your group’s use, and that everyone has the book and any other materials they need for the study.
Small Group Basics
First, small groups need to be safe places. People need to feel that they can share without being judged or criticized. They also need to feel safe in not sharing. Someone in your group may not want to talk. They may simply want to listen. That’s ok too. Never force someone to speak if he or she isn’t comfortable doing so.
Second, no one likes a “know-it-all.” It’s okay that you, as the leader, don’t have all the answers. Discussion and discovery are part of the process, as you and other members of your group develop a closer relationship with God. It is helpful to include a seasoned Christian or two in your group who can offer their wisdom when the group encounters questions that aren’t easily answered. But never be afraid to simply say “I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’ll find out!” Write down those tough questions. You can ask your pastor or chaplain or another church leader to help you find the answer.
What Study Should our Group Do?
The major factor in the question is how much time do you have? There’s a lot to digest in each of the three Gifts of Freedom books.
There are four unique group study options:
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- Using the Book-Based 26 Week Study Guide, you can use the Study Guides found at the end of each book. You can work through the three books, one chapter a week, in 22 weeks. With a couple additional resources we suggest, you can create a semester long class. This can be done as a personal study or with a small group or class. If used in a class or small group setting, please download the Leaders Notes for additional ideas on how to effectively run a small group or class.
- Using the Book-Based 13 Week Study Guide you can study the content of all three books in 13 weeks. Using this option, you’ll average a bit more than a chapter and a half of reading each week, as you’ll read all three books while you work through the Study Guides found at the back of each book in the series.
- Using the Book-Based 6 Week Study Guide you can study the content of one book in the series in 6 weeks. Using this option, you’re group will read 1 to 2 chapters of reading each week, while you work through the Study Guides found at the back of each book in the series.
- Using the Excerpt-Based 13 Week Study Guide you can work through the ideas contained in the books in 13 weeks. The excerpts will help summarize the main idea of each chapter as you read through the books. This Study has its own questions, so you will not be using the Study Guides in the back of the books.
In determining which option is best, the important thing to consider is how many weeks you do have. If you’re a Sunday school teacher or a small group leader, ask what the group is interested in. Then ask for a commitment from those class members or group members to attend for that length of time.
Again, we would encourage you to download the Leaders Notes file for additional ideas on how to effectively set up and run a small group or class.