Small Group Planning Guide

Explore the Richness of the Bible with Your Friends and Family

The streaming video format and leader guide make it easy to host a group study. All you need to do is ask your friends to join you! Below are a few more tips to make the most of your time together.

Start with Prayer

Above all, pray. We can’t accomplish anything without God’s grace, so ask for it and ask for God’s grace to open the hearts of all who attend your study.

Choose a Time

First, know your audience: if everyone works full time, you may want to do it in the evening or on a weekend. If you expect a lot of young moms, you may need to schedule around nap time.

With a small group, it’s tempting to see what works for others. We recommend you start with a plan and adjust as necessary, otherwise you can get stuck waiting and never get around to starting. Be sure to give yourself time to prepare. Even with minimal preparation, being the first there will boost your calm and improve your presentation.

Choose a Location

Assuming you’re hosting people in your home, this may not be much of a decision, but having the right equipment is key. We recommend somewhere with tables or desks—or sturdy side tables—for note-taking. Since you’re hosting at home, strive to strike a balance between having space to write and making sure people are comfortable.

Get the Word Out

This one may seem obvious, but it’s also very important. Ask your friends to come.

If you want to reach a broader audience, you can download our editable posters, fill in the correct information and post it around your community (parish, school, workplace, etc.). But even then, everyone is more likely to respond to a personal invitation. Invite people verbally—even a phone call or text is more personal than email or a poster.

Order a Leader Guide

While not strictly necessary, we strongly encourage you to order your study’s associated Leader Guide. With suggested prayers and notes for facilitators, you’ll know what to say at the beginning of the night, so you can focus on hosting and hospitality.

Encourage your friends to order the participant workbook to get the most out of the study.

Allow Time for Discussion

Our studies can be a lot to think about. Make sure your group has time to talk about things and digest.

Sometimes people may have questions that the group can’t answer. That’s okay. Questions are an important, fruitful part of any study. There are lots of great resources to help answer specific questions. We recommend Catholic Answers, and the Catholic Encyclopedia on NewAdvent.org. If you’re really stumped, you can email customerservice@stpaulcenter.com and we’ll help field the question, though our response time varies based on volume.

Pro tips:

Refreshments
Eating together enhances fellowship. Give people a chance to chat and snack (or even share a meal), and you’ll find that you’ll have better discussions during the actual study. We’ve also found that serving wine or whiskey can be a great way to help people relax and enjoy the evening.

Childcare
It can be hard to clear your schedule when you’ve got children relying on you. If you know this might be a challenge for your friends, consider coordinating childcare. That can be as easy as letting one family’s older kids watch the rest. For the best opportunity to focus on the study, we strongly encourage hosting the kids at a different house.

Read ahead of time
Encourage your participants to read the assigned Scripture (and Catechism, and supplemental book) chapters ahead of time to enhance learning and discussions.

Weekly Prayer Requests
We started with prayer, and we should always continue praying. Ask if anyone has prayer requests and get a small team (or commit yourself to) praying for those intentions each week.

What are you waiting for?

Get your Leader Guide and DVD Set and start your study today!