>> facilitating a bible study
FACILITATING A STONECROFT BIBLE
When preparing to train
a new Stonecroft Bible Studies Guide, be prepared to share the unique
qualities of Stonecroft Bible Studies that sets them apart from other
studies she may have experienced in the past.
We encourage Guides to bring together people from a variety of
faith backgrounds, as our studies are designed to draw people to
God’s Word for answers. Here are a few important considerations
when training a Stonecroft Bible Studies Guide.
A Few Tips to Get Started
• Always provide an environment that is safe!
• Establish respect and confidentiality guidelines at the
beginning of the study, being non-judgmental, open, and accepting.
• Establish the opportunity for the relationships in the
group to develop into a caring community.
• Provide clear directions to the group. Make sure those
who have never been in a Bible study feel safe to assimilate in
this type of group.
• Keep the discussion “on track.” Sometimes it
is difficult to interrupt, though you often might need to gently
interject, so the conversation does not go on a rabbit trail.
• Keep moving forward, but also be aware of those unique
opportunities the Lord is using to share at a deeper level.
• Be flexible and expect God to work, not only in each person
represented, but also in the community itself. Be in constant prayer
for those in your group.
Creating an Environment for Learning and Sharing
• Maintain and build feelings of self-confidence and self-worth.
• Acknowledge ideas, comments, and responses in a sincere
and specific manner by restating what the person did or said and
why it was effective. Remember when someone does not have a faith
background or knowledge of Scripture, she may say some things that
are not necessarily accurate, but you can still acknowledge, affirm,
• Use a variety of statements to praise participants. Using
the same phrase too often (such as “Great job!”) could
cause your sincerity to be questioned. Consider taking a few words
from her sentence and repeating it back. "I really liked what
you said about. . . ."
• When correcting or clarifying, take the focus off the individual
and put it on the situation.
Listen and seek to understand the participants.
• Listen to the entire message before responding; do not
interrupt. Remember you are there to serve, encourage, and support
participants. Be careful not to represent yourself as the authority.
• Be a non-judgmental listener—concentrate on what
participants are saying instead of whether you agree or not. Affirm
what you can affirm, and then turn the question to someone else.
• Be aware of nonverbal messages participants are sending.
A frown or not making eye contact could indicate more clarification
is needed. Feel free to ask, "I can tell you have something
on your mind. What are you thinking?”
• Call on specific participants only when you are asking
for an example or opinion. Think about open-ended conversations,
such as, "What are your thoughts?” “How do you
feel about…?” “Give me an example.” “Tell
me more about that.” These simple questions or statements
can be very helpful to encourage dialogue.
• When asking questions of the group, wait at least a few
seconds for someone to respond. This gives participants time to
• If you believe that someone prefers not to share, respect
that. Do not put people on the spot; though also try to open them
up. The more they share without a negative reaction, the more they
will trust the group dynamics.
• Keep the discussion “on track.” Sometimes you
may need to gently interject when the conversation is dominated
by one person. Be aware of those unique opportunities the Lord is
using to share at a deeper level.
Additional Tips to Ensure a Meaningful Experience
• Feel free to rephrase questions if it would be helpful
for understanding. Use open-ended questions, rather than those that
can be answered “yes” or “no.”
• Someone whose life experience relates to the study could
be invited to share a brief testimony of what God has taught her
or how He has been real in her life.
• Keep the focus of the study on Jesus Christ.
• If needs are expressed that may indicate the need for counseling,
approach the person privately. Encourage her to seek godly counsel.
DISTRACTIONS AND DISRUPTIONS
“And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will
draw everyone to myself.”
John 12:32, NLT
• Is called to proclaim the Gospel message in every phase
of ministry. The mission of Stonecroft Ministries is to equip and
encourage women to impact their communities with the Gospel of Jesus
• Desires to lift up the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in
all things and believes that “All Scripture is inspired by
God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize
what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and
teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip
his people to do every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NLT).
The Scriptures also tell us to “make every effort to keep
the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians
4:3, NIV). A spirit of love and peace has been the hallmark of Stonecroft
Ministries. We depend on those who serve with us to help maintain
• Works in harmony with churches and encourages people without
church affiliation to attend a church of their choice.
• Is not called to take a stand on doctrinal, social, or
political issues outside its Statement of Faith.
Because of this, Stonecroft Bible Studies—
• Seek to point participants to Scripture to find answers
to faith questions. Discussion is encouraged only about what the
Bible says, rather than focusing on what church doctrines or traditions
• Seek to avoid distractions and disruptions stemming from
discussions about doctrinal, social, or political topics on which
people and/or churches disagree.
Stonecroft Bible Studies leaders at every level—
• Are from various churches which agree with Stonecroft’s
Statement of Faith. Guides and Stonecroft leaders are asked to avoid
recruiting people for their individual churches or convincing others
about their specific doctrinal, social, or political beliefs or
views, outside of these mentioned in the Stonecroft Statement of
• Remember that the purpose of Stonecroft Bible Studies is
to introduce people to the truth of the Bible and disciple them
in God’s Word. They are expected to provide leadership that
will keep participants from being distracted by doctrinal, political,
and social issues that would detract from the main purpose of the
When addressing disruptions and distractions, not every situation
can be handled alone. Regional Leaders are trained and willing to
help you prayerfully work through situations where controversy is
disrupting a study group or when a participant is causing difficulties.
These leaders are valuable assets when handling controversial issues
or conflict resolution.