More Books Coming Soon!

Four more books are coming very, very soon.

“Happiness vs. Purpose” is coming out in July. According to our guinea pig groups, it promises to be our most powerful bible study book yet!

Our first two Chinese books (Jesus’ Most Popular Parables and The Most Glorious Psalms Ever) will also become available in July. We are super excited to see how the Lord might use these books amongst the jillions of Mandarin speaking folks on the planet. Our probable outlets for these two Chinese books are likely Alibaba, other Chinese websites, No-Prep Bible Studies website, and perhaps also on Amazon.

Lastly, we are almost done with a regular book. Yes, you heard that right, a regular book! It is an autobiography by Rudy & Joanne Sheptock who adopted and raised some 50 children, many of them with severe disabilities. Joanne’s incredible salvation story and the Lord’s miraculous provision for this really big family form the core of this 9,400 word micro-book.

Spanish book is here!

We’ve always felt like the Spanish speaking community is a little underserved in good bible study materials. Our good friend, and missionary to Central America, Dan Clark liked Jesus’ Most Popular Parables so much, he volunteered to translate it into Spanish. So, after much work, “Las Parabolas Mas Populares de Jesus” was finally released on Amazon last week. We encourage you to seriously consider buying ($7.65) and giving this booklet to your Spanish friends, even if they are unsaved. Maybe especially if they are unsaved! Two of the five lessons have calls to faith. The reading is easy and the topic of Jesus’ parables is definitely non-frightening to unsaved folks.

Muchas gracias to Dan Clark!

More Spanish booklets are in the works.

And Mandarin is next!

Group Leader Tip #9

Always promote the next study coming up!

This is super simple. Just say something enthusiastically like: “The next study looks very interesting. It does Psalm 23 backwards!” Or, “The Psalm 103 study next week has a stunning modern healing story. You don’t want to miss it!”

Just a little teaser to give people another reason to come back the following week.

If you don’t promote next week, who will?

Group Leader Tip #8

Don’t let one person dominate the group.

This is easier said than done. Almost every small group has one person who seems to take up way more than their fair share of the discussion.

As the leader, for sheer balance, you need to control that dominant person by using all the diplomacy and creativity you can summon. It’s not easy.

But our Bible Studies work to your advantage by clearly showing an outline of what has to be covered in 45 minutes. Folks can see that each lesson has some finite parameters, and yes, a goal line! They sense that there isn’t time for open ended rabbit trails. Dominant folks tend to become team players under these circumstances.

Group leaders constantly tell us that our little books really do somehow magically help control that particular person who would prefer that the lesson revolve totally around himself or herself.

Group Leader Tip #7

When a new person visits your group, learn their FIRST NAME immediately.

Here’s how. When you meet the person, say their FIRST NAME out loud once, and in your head 5 times quickly. Then during the meeting, use their name EVERY CHANCE you get. Like, “That’s an important observation, Megan”, or “What do you think, Megan?” or, “Hey everybody, this is Megan from New Jersey”.

When you use a person’s name, you will naturally remember it. And they will really appreciate the care you’ve shown to learn their name.

It’s a little thing. But it’s a big thing. And your small group will follow your lead and integrate Megan faster.

Group Leader Tip #6

Make folks aware of your attentiveness to the finishing the lesson on time. Its super easy and it makes people feel comfortable. Try these simple phrases.

At the start, say something like “We will be done in 45 minutes at 8:00 tonight”.

In the middle, say things like “We gotta keep moving”.

Near the end, say something like “We have 6 minutes to wrap up this lesson. We can do it!”

Afterwards say something lighthearted like, “We ran our typical 2 minutes over.”

All of the above shows people you really care about finishing on time. Trust me, they will appreciate it!

Group Leader Tip #5

Good listening skills are so important for a group leader. People are going to speak, and when they do, you need to listen like a hawk.

Use this plan for when someone else is speaking: Actively listen to the person with both your eyes and ears. This means looking directly at them. Your body language matters too. Turn towards or lean towards them. And concentrate on what they are saying! Then acknowledge what the person said to *show them* you were listening. Use a simple phrase like “I hear what you are saying,” or “That makes sense.” Finally, add your own thoughts if you want and move the group along.

Honestly, one of the most important gifts you can give a person is the gift of listening to them. People yearn for someone to listen to them. Be the person that gives them that important gift.

Group Leader Tip #4

Many group leaders mistakenly think that “discussion” is the holy grail. It isn’t. What you should really shoot for is participation. You want folks participating towards a certain point or goal, not an open-ended discussion that can and will go absolutely anywhere.

The questions in our No-Prep Series are intended to do just that—elicit participation towards a specific point. If your members start to stray away from these specific goals, nicely pull them back and keep them on point. Keeping “discussions” focused is an art form that the best group leaders develop over time.

Remember, what you are after is participation, not “discussion”.

Group Leader Tip #2

This teaching maxim sits on a plaque on my desk:

Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn.

This saying is attributed to Ben Franklin but he likely borrowed it from an ancient Chinese saying. Whatever the case, it is so true! It is NOT your main job as group leader to “tell” or “teach” folks the things you know. It is your job to “involve” people.

Our No-Prep lessons are geared towards “involving” people. Each lesson has 12 to 15 probative questions to get the participation going. Just get people involved and they will naturally learn!