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 lead a group of any size. All you need to do is ask your friends to join you!

 

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.

 

Seek Permission and Support

Especially if you are planning a parish study, you’ll want your pastor’s sign-off. (And if you’re doing it in your home, you might want to clear it with your spouse!) Reassure him that you don’t need him to commit to anything, just to give his blessing. This study won’t be a burden on him (or anyone).

 

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 never picking a time. Be sure to give yourself time to arrive early. Even with minimal preparation, being the first there will boost your calm and improve your presentation.

 

Choose a Location

You want a location that is easy for everyone to get to and has the proper technology needed for presenting the study. We also recommend somewhere with tables or desks for note-taking. Strike a balance between having space for everyone and making sure people are comfortable. If you have an option, consider round tables to encourage discussion and fellowship

If you are planning to host the study at your parish, be sure to coordinate with someone who has a full view of activities happening at your parish. They can help you avoid conflicts and get the right equipment.

 

Get the Word Out

The best way to spread the word is in-person. Ask your friends to come. Invite people verbally—even over the phone. Everyone is more likely to respond to a personal invitation.

If you want to reach a broader audience, download our editable posters for Bible and the Sacraments or Bible and the Virgin Mary—fill in the correct information and post it around your community (parish, school, workplace, etc.).

 

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 be ready to lead your group with confidence and ease.

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

 

Allow Time for Questions

Questions are an important, fruitful part of any study. While they can be intimidating, don’t be afraid to respond, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” 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 jts@stpaulcenter.com and we’ll help you 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.

Childcare
It can be hard to clear your schedule when you’ve got children relying on you. If you know they’re in your target participant group, consider giving young mothers and fathers a leg up by offering childcare. Be sure your babysitters are qualified to work with children. (If you’re hosting a study at home, consider hosting childcare at a separate location).

Assignments
Encourage your participants to read the assigned Scripture (and Catechism, Swear to God, and Speaking the Love of God) 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!