Want to know how to lead a Bible study?
Join one and follow the leader.
That may not seem like what you had in mind — based on the title of this post — but it’s true. Jesus teaches us to follow first before leading. In fact, when the disciples argued about who was the greatest Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35, NIV84).
I don’t know about you, but this is an area I struggle with.
My husband and I recently joined a new church and a new Bible Study. When I was single I led plenty of Bible Studies for singles and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of hospitality, meeting new people, worship, and fellowship.
Discipleship happens best in home Bible Studies where we learn how to follow Jesus by following each other’s lead.
But…am I a lover of Bible Studies only if I am the one leading?
A great example of this comes from Titus 2:3 – 5 that says, “Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
God’s design for leading and mentoring includes both older and younger women.
If you’re 30 years old like me, there are plenty of “mother” figures to look up to, ask for advice, and encouragement. The same goes for those younger women in their 20′s whom I can encourage and lead – by God’s grace.
It’s okay if the woman ahead of you or me doesn’t lead the way we like.
It’s okay if the woman younger than you or me doesn’t understand the way we lead.
Learning and leading both take time, and submission is a beautiful thing. Jesus humbled himself to the Father and through His obedience He learned and taught me helpful things for us all. It’s important not to lose sight of God’s calling. If we are to lead fruitfully that requires us to remain under His leadership. If you or I (gulp) have a hard time submitting to one another in a Bible Study — how much more so do we have trouble submitting to God’s authority in our life?
Just because I can speak and write and lead Bible Studies doesn’t mean that I can’t learn under someone else. I am not the only one and as much as I don’t want to hear that sometimes — it’s true. It’s Biblical. And it’s much needed in a culture who says “follow me.”
Jesus said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19, NIV84).