How to Lead a Small Group Bible Study

If you've ever wanted to lead a small group Bible study, here are 4 tips for how to get started and advice on how to make it fun and inviting. #WomenLivingWell #OnlineBibleStudy #WomensBibleStudy #GoodMorningGirls


For over 35 years, I’ve watched my mom lead Women’s In-depth Bible Studies. I followed in her footsteps many years ago and began leading women’s studies as well.

As a child, I peeked through the railing of our stairs and watched the ladies come in streams through our front door. There was excitement in the air as the women ate snacks and laughed together. Some would come upstairs and visit my sisters and I to give us hugs goodnight – we loved that!

Then in my footie pajamas along side my 2 sisters, we would freeze so my mom would not see us peeking, and there’d be a hush as my mom opened in prayer and then taught God’s word. It fascinated me as a child to watch all these women. What a joyous night we had in our home once a week!

If you’ve led a Bible study, you know women join for many different reasons.  You also know there are  different variables that can be challenging such as — an overly quiet group or an overly chatty group.

Today’s video includes some of the things I’ve learned along the way from leading women’s Bible studies, how to manage prayer time and how I plan my notes for leading a study.

{Are you reading this in an email? Come on over and visit us – watch the video and share your input in the comment section!}

A few things I neglected to mention in my video:

1.)  Food!  Food makes everyone more comfortable.  Especially on the first week. It’s good to have drinks and name tags and muffins or cookies to put everyone at ease.  Send around a sign-up sheet and ask everyone to contribute.

2.)  Socials!  Socials outside of the study time can help the group bond.  Consider asking one of the women in the group if they would take this on and plan a special night out to dinner, out for coffee or in someone’s house.

3.) You can do this!  It does not take a PhD in Bible, a perfect person or a perfect personality to lead a woman’s Bible study. It takes a woman who loves the Lord, loves women, can handle sticky situations with humility, and a willingness to be stretched and used by God.

4.)  Your Bible Study group can also be a Good Morning Girls Group!  GMG was born out of a Bible Study Group I was leading.  I needed accountability – as the leader – to stay in God’s Word everyday and do my homework!  So I asked the women if I could email them every morning at 6am after I had my quiet time and say “Good Morning Girls” and then they would email me back if they were up and having their quiet time. This is how we kept each other accountable.

You do not have to be “Reading Through the Bible” to have a GMG group.  Simply ask if anyone else in the group needs this sort of accountability and then put their names on a list and begin emailing, texting or facebooking them in a private group after you do your Bible Study homework – and a GMG accountability group is born!

Is God laying on your heart the desire to lead or host a Bible study in your home or church?

Go For It!  Just watch God knock your socks off!!

**Chime In**

Are you a part of a Bible study group?  

What resources do you use, how do you prepare, where do you meet, what do you do for prayer time, for food, and socials?

I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments, especially those of you who have been leading for many years – please share your wisdom or anything you feel I neglected to mention.

Walk with the King,


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  1. Yes, I do it at my church and I love it. It is neat to be encouraged and be encouraged by the women. That is so great you were able to watch your mother lead.

  2. Hi Courtney!

    We work overseas and have realized the importance of telling stories from the Bible and let people find out the truth out of the stories themselves, in discussion led by good questions. This is called Simply The Story and I would encourage you to have a look.

    Bible is such a great book! We don’t need to go through a book someone has written (even though I admit that those are often very good), because we have all the stories God has written for us already!

    There is something amazing that happens when a person has an a-ha moment in the Word. Instead of nodding and saying “Yes, yes”, she can deeply understand what this means, has an “A-ha” moment! Often good questions in groups help us to come to these moments of deep understanding and application.

    Keep going!

  3. Another great video and another cute outfit! 🙂 I haven’t had much success with this at our church (been attending for over a year), so this lead us to search for a new church that actually offered or would allow small groups. Fast forward a year and a close friend of mine just moved closer to where I live. She has children and presto! – a new bible study with other Moms with children in her subdivision. Since she’s closer, I can now go, where as before that wouldn’t have been possible. It’s been wonderful! 🙂

  4. Hi Courtney,

    Thank you for another inspiring video! Where I live it is not common to lead or attend biblestudies. It is something I deeply miss. However, I find my fullfillment in GMG blogging through the Bible and I attent the International GMG group on facebook. This is such a great group! I am learning so much from all those ladies! But I still wish I had some real live friends to study the blible. Maybe someday….

    Lots of love, Yvonne

  5. I love how even as a seasoned teacher you can always learn something new and helpful. I like the idea of opening in prayer time. I usually end with prayer and many times I feel rushed. Some really great information! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Thank you, Courtney! This is very helpful! I especially like the idea of having 10 questions for 30 min of discussion. Very practical!!! THANK YOU!!!

    Also, you’ve talked about your mom a lot. She sounds WONDERFUL!! Any chance the two of y’all would lead a study here? Maybe using the inductive method and your Bible coloring chart, a how-to for those of wanting to learn more??? Just tossing an idea out. 🙂

    Thank you for all you do for all of us!!!


    1. Hi Shari,

      This would be a dream of mine! She and I do have a little something in the works but the timeframe for its completion is far off because we are both busy with our current ministries. Please pray for us – we have faced some spiritual warfare that has kept us from being able to see this dream come to life.

      Lots of Love,

      1. I will pray that your dream will come to fruition! God bless both you and your Mom 🙂

  7. Look at how God sends you what you need, when you need it!!! It has been on my heart for over a year now to do a bible study in my home, but I was waiting for the RIGHT time. You know when I have the money to make a nice meal, get small gifts, have a fancy lesson printed out, some small type of decorations. It got turned into me me me and not what it was supposed to be and that was GOD, GOD, GOD. Well last week, I just felt the Lord telling me “you still haven’t done what I asked you to do”. So, I sent out invites and I got a few responses and a few ladies said that they would attend. My basement was cleaned, food was made, even had a little extra funds to give a small gift to the first four ladies that arrived. Picked up hubby from work, son from school, made one last trip to a store and came home last Friday night, READY for the bible study. My lesson had been printed and each lady was going to get a folder with a 2 week study to go home with and dig deeper. 7pm rolled around, no doorbell ringing !! 7:30 food was out of the oven, still no one on the other side of my front door. 8pm, 9pm, still no one showed up and no calls came in. I wasn’t upset or hurt!!! I know that was the Lord, that gave me peace about that. I think my hubby was more disappointed, he knew what my intentions were. But, I’m thankful for the post this morning. Tomorrow, I’m planning on sending out my first save the date for February 20th!!! Please pray with me, not just for ladies showing up but they will have a open heart to receive what will be presented. I will have a mixed crowd, ladies that have grown up in church and knowing the word and some that only attend church on CME (Christmas, Mother’s Day, & Easter). I don’t want anyone to feel intimidated. I don’t want anyone to feel like they are being judged. My purpose is to present a Jesus of Grace and Mercy to them!! My purpose is to remind each lady that our God is concerned about every aspect of their lives(every aspect, even Single ladies… I know at one point in my life before marriage, I kinda felt that God had much more on his plate than to care about me and my desire to be married… I have a new view on that topic). I REALLY JUST WANT MY GIRLS TO KNOW JESUS LIKE I DO!!! I LIKE JESUS DON’T WANT TO SEE THEM LOST!!! THAT’S JUST HOW MUCH I LOVE THEM. QUESTION: For this type of mixed group, is there a bible study you would suggest us to start with??? I would love one that gets them in the word everyday. I want to be able to introduce and reintroduce Christ to everyone in the group. I love love love your blog and the lessons you have. I’m super excited of how God lead me to Women Living Well!!! You’re doing an AWESOME AWESOME job in building God’s Kingdom!!!

    1. Hi Jessica,

      I love your heart – this is wonderful! I’m so sorry no one showed up – that is so hard. I love how you aren’t letting that get in the way of moving forward.

      My favorite book of the Bible for beginners is 1 John. I recommend going to the local Christian book store and looking through the Bible Studies on 1 John and pick the one that best fits your group (or you can create a study yourself).

      I pray your group goes well. Keep shining!

  8. Thanks for sharing! I am just about to start my first Bible study group at my house & we are going to start with Bill Hybels book Wiser Together. It is a great kick starter 5 week study going over introductions & why we should gather! I highly recommend it to anyone getting started!

    1. Hi Jackie,

      I am starting to plan my first in home Bible study group. I have read mixed reviews on Wiser Together and was curious as to how you felt about. Thanks in advance!!!

  9. These are great tips!!

    I’m a part of a Bible study group right now through our church. We are reading the Women of the Word how to study the Bible book and I’m enjoying it so far! After we read the book, we will go through Colossians using the techniques that we learned about. It’s been a great group so far!

    We meet at the church weekly and have time in the beginning for food and socializing. 🙂

  10. Good video Courtney. Thanks for sharing with all of us. I have led DVD-based Bible Studies for 3 years now at my church on Wednesday nights. We call them connection groups. I have 15-20 women. I’m the type of person who loves to set an atmosphere, so I have drinks and sometimes an inexpensive snack of trail mix and nutrition bars for them. As they walk in the door, I have a table set up against the wall to their left with a colorful plastic cover and all the snacks with either some twinkling lights or a table lamp. I have the lights over that area turned down. I am a music person, so I have my iPod and dock playing music as they come in. I greet them as they arrive, asking how their week went, just making connections with the women. They sign in, gather the DVD listening guide sheet or any other information I want to share and grab a snack. I also have colorful index cards where they can write out their prayer request and place it in a colorful basket for our prayer time. I find that in a larger group, it’s best to do it this way, because some women can take a long time sharing a prayer request. Time is valuable in my class since we only have 7:00 to 8:30 to meet. If I have any announcements of upcoming events etc., I do this at the beginning. At the end of class, I read the prayer requests and then hand them out for others to pray. We also go over prayer requests that were given before in class to see if any have been answered or how things are going. I have a discussion time at the end of the DVD. Sometimes we discuss as a large group, sometimes we split up into smaller groups. Since I play the piano and lead worship at church, I like to incorporate a worship time at the beginning or sometimes at the end. Right now we are listening to Beth Moore’s Children of the Day. It’s a 9-week session on 1-2 Thessalonians. Great study!

    1. Sharon – I LOVE what you shared – you painted the perfect picture of how you lead your small group! Thank you.

      My mom uses note cards for prayer requests in her group as well! That is a great way to manage prayer time.

      Thanks again for sharing this!

  11. Courtney, thanks so much for your advice and encouragement. All these women have great ideas and wonderful ministries. I have been leading a young adult group every other Friday and again sometimes I do not have an audience but God has the perfect time. I now feel better about taking charge in leading and not giving up. I pray to Him to strengthened me and guide me to give me discipline to study His word.I am a single mother and sometimes I am busy doing so many things. I will prioritize my time to spend more time Studying His word of truth. It is a nice feeling to know His word will not return void. I will not be intimidated. Thanks. God bless.

  12. I loved your video. I lead a Bible Study here at Senior Housing. We have 11 faithful ladies who know and love the Lord. We just finished studying the first 30 Psalms and are beginning a new study tomorrow. We are using Elizabeth George’s book “Growing in Wisdom and Faith” -James. They have a tendency to be a quieter group, so I enjoyed hearing how to draw them out. I would also like to plan a couple of socials very soon. Thanks so much for being there.

  13. You are the BEST! Thanks so much for your great tips! Still praying for you. Thanks so much for all you do for us! God Bless you!

  14. Thanks so much for sharing this. Since I gave my life to the Lord, I have always desired Bible study, specifically a women’s group or marriage-centered. I did get to participate in one that was “book club-ish” (A Woman After God’s Own Heart). It ended on a not-so-good note. It’s been about 3 years since that group, and since then, I have really wanted to get a smaller group together and actually study the Bible. Here are my issues/concers:

    1. I always get a major sense of unworthiness. I think that I am not adequate or smart enough to “teach” the Bible. I still consider myself a “New Christian” because I’ve only been saved 4 years. So when it comes to teaching, it’s more like just learning the Bible. (Just like I’m doing now with Exodus!)

    2. I get nervous about who will be in attendance. One of the issues with the last group I was a member of was safety and security that Bible study discussion stayed in Bible study. I find myself not being so welcoming to just anybody because of previous experiences. How do you handle that, because I don’t want to hinder someone’s walk?

    3. Food never works for any group (including Sunday school) that I’ve been apart of. I feel like it takes too long to draw in the attention of the crowd and so many times it becomes a distraction with commenting on the snack, planning the upcoming snacks, and getting seconds. I like the idea of just something simple: cookies and coffee, juice, etc.

    This really pushes me forward to what I would love to do. I am learning so much from Exodus (a book I’ve never read, by the way) by using the S.O.A.K method and I really want to share that with a group of women. Thank you for the inspiration.

    1. My desire was to become closer to God through prayer and reading the bible. However,I had a hard time keeping myself accountable. I was approached by one of the ladies in a morning bible study who persuaded me to try teaching their group. Even though I was a retired teacher I must admit that I was really scared about my first session.I did not do food or even coffee and still don’t. I tried to explain to them that my first reason for accepting was to strength my prayer life and that we would always spend the first part in prayer. I gave them small notebooks and we do prayer request each bible study. I told them that I would look at these request daily and pray for them and it would be great if they could keep their book near and pray during the week for these people also. Next, I told them that I would really not be teaching that we would all be teaching each other. I do start the questions but the group is doing better and better about volunteering to read and giving their insight. The group has gained members over the last nine month and it has helped me greatly with my accountability. I can’t believe that I waited this long to get comfortable with God and the joy that it has brought me. The devil might tell you you can’t but with God’s help you can do anything.

  15. Our church does not offer any type of Bible study. When I shared my burden about one with the pastor’s wife, a monthly ladies’ fellowship was added to the calendar. These fellowships do not quench the thirst I hear from my own heart as well as the hearts of other young moms like myself. They are food, craft, and evangelism focused. My generation is crying out for marriage and parenting guidance, but there is little to be found. My husband and I see the need, and even though we have little resources, we desire it to be used of the Lord.

    Not knowing what else to do, we have opened up our house for a weekly playdate. The turnout has been great, and the conversation amazing. God has blessed our children even by allowing them all to play well together.

    A burden and question I have for you is if you have any suggestions as to how to incorporate a true Bible study into our get-togethers. We all have young preschool-and-under children, so interruptions are a guarantee. I know there are a lot of negatives stacked against our meetings, but I also know I serve an all-powerful, limitless God! He has a plan for our group! Thank you fo your ministry!

    1. Just in the last couple of weeks a few friends and I have started a playdate & mommy devotional time. We have only met twice so far, but it has gone well. We are using a 12 week devotional book by Sheila Walsh called “Living a Purposeful Life.” I just make copies for everyone (about 3 pages). There is an into paragraph and then just some scriptures to read with a question and a few discussion questions. It has been a great format for having lots of little ones running around. Also, no homework or reading required so it is easy to invite new friends to jump in. Right now we are meeting every other Tuesday. We plan to meet at the park once the weather gets nice!

  16. I have a small group study that goes on at my house once a month and you have no idea how much your site and your videos has blessed me in my life and in my walk with God. Thank you for your wisdom and support in uplifting women in their daily walk with God! 😉

  17. Hi, Courtney.
    Thank you so much for all you do in serving our Lord. I am new to your website and am so glad to find it. I have never had formal training to teach God’s Word, but He has seen fit to use me for many years now. I am currently using a Bible study book that has homework for us. I have a small group who are pretty quiet. I end up preparing a lesson and doing most of the talking. I would like to draw them out by asking questions, but I don’t want to feel like I’m just asking the same questions from the homework so that we wind up doing the homework together all over again. I have attended a class like that myself and felt I had wasted my time. Could you tell me how you come up with your 10 questions and maybe give an example list? Thank you! ?

  18. What a helpful video! Thank you for taking the time to share! It was informative, thorough, yet brief and manageable to watch! I am going to share this with our small group leaders. It’s my first time here, so I’ll have to look around a bit!

  19. Very useful article, thank you. I would say so, she is very vital, because I faced the same situation in the childhood, I saw how women gather in our house in one small gang, headed by my mother, and they begin to glorify our gentlemen. In my childhood, I did not understand why they did it, but now, 20 years later, I understand perfectly why they gathered and set up their own “group” to study the Bible, it’s something like a circle of common interests, well, you know, someone goes to the circle for drawing, and someone on such meetings, it can be said a hobby. Well, the advice that the author has given is very good, and helps to make the atmosphere of the meeting more friendly.

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