The amazing privilege of being missionaries on the college campus is the opportunities it affords our staff and student leaders to share life with others and serve them in ways that God’s love can be expressed with them. One of the events that we have been able to utilize at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) in Little Rock is Discover Jesus Bible Studies. And they are exactly what they sound like they are— Bible studies meant to help students discover who Jesus is, the life that He lived, and His love for all people.
The point of doing them is simple—share Jesus. But the process of them happening is incredible as well. Often on our campus we have invited, encouraged, promoted, posted flyers and done various other things to let students know that we are on campus and that the BCM is an incredible place to be. For some students, the ministry becomes a home. They find friends, encouragement, accountability, love, and free food. But for others, that may be looking for the same thing, they are friends and attend an event or two but are not extremely interested in being religious.
This has been where the magic of a Discover Jesus Bible Study can come in. It is a way of sharing the hope of Christ in a way that helps people discover Jesus. Many students in the university setting are open to learning something new, in relationships with others that they respect, and are naturally in classes where learning through dialogue is part of most days. So, the Discover Jesus Bible Study is like taking a class — the life of Jesus 101. Where students that love Jesus and are focusing their life towards following him can bring others into a conversation where they can learn about the life of Jesus.
What does it take to start one? Simply a few people that are eager to teach others about Christ and a couple others that are open to learning. Most of the groups we have going now are friend groups. They were already hanging out together and it just added an activity for them to do.
When can it happen? Anytime! We have had some that happen regularly over meals and coffee. Some that have happened before worship services or after.
How long do they need to last? Usually, a minimum of three weeks is required. They can go longer. But for most of the groups the struggle is with the logistics of meeting. We encourage most groups to plan for three weeks, and then if the groups want to go longer, they can.
How to get a Discover Jesus Bible Study started:
- Pray! Pray that God would use this season for His glory.
- Identify a few people that you know that you think would be interested in learning more about Jesus. These would be people that are followers of Christ, but you think they would be willing to meet a few times and hear more about Him. Trust between the two people is key.
- Sit down with them. Perhaps a coffee meeting with them would be a good starting point. Share about your relationship with Christ, how it changed your life and how God is currently working in you currently. Then follow up with wanting to share more about Jesus with them. This is a low-pressure conversation. They need to be able to have the freedom to tell you “I am not interested.” If that happens—that’s okay! It could come up again later. Your friendship doesn’t change at all.
- If they say “YES”— Pray more! Most of what is said in a Discover Jesus Bible Study is strongly led by the Holy Spirit. You will open a passage of Scripture and be guided by questions, but the conversation can go anywhere (as it should!). The main goal will be selecting the group. You may feel comfortable doing this with another person or by yourself. You don’t want the group to be more than three or four. If a person is seeking, then they will have a lot of questions and having too many people hinders people from asking some of the deepest questions.
Listed at the end of this article are several helpful websites about how the content of the meeting should go. A simple template would be:
A. Open with highs and lows from the current week or last week.
B. Read the selected passage of Scripture. (There are a lot of passages and tons of topics the Bible covers. The main goal of the Discover Jesus Bible Study is to help them discover Jesus. Selecting a passage from one of the Gospels is most preferred.)
C. Have another person in the group retell the story as best as they can.
D. Next, go through the passage and highlight different things that this passage says about God, Jesus or God’s plan for the world. Then, ask similar questions about humanity. How does this passage relate to me? What can I learn from this that is most helpful to my life?
E. Close the time by thanking the people that came and for the conversation. Every conversation we have shapes us in some way. One of the goals of the Discover Jesus Bible Study is to have a meaningful intentional conversation with someone about Christ.
5. As you end the study, you can end in prayer if that is comfortable. It also may be helpful to give the person the passage to read for next week. You don’t want them to feel like it is a homework assignment. If they get around to reading it, that is great. But it is not mandatory before the next meeting. If there is significant spiritual movement in the meeting (this is what you have been praying for!) for you to ask the question, “Is there anything keeping you from trusting Christ and following him right now?” then do it.
The answer to this question is important. What they say here either clues you in that they may be ready to become a believer in Christ or it will give you specific things to be praying over before the next meeting.
A final word, part of what is happening in a moment like this is the exchange of ideas. The exchanging of ideas and information is a completely natural and normal part of life. Our world is filled with the introduction, discussion, and movement to ideas. Introducing Jesus to someone and discussing His life that could lead someone to follow Christ is not weird. It’s not abnormal. We do this with information and ideas that shape our lives all the time. My encouragement to you is to try it!