I love the excitement of a new fall Bible study. It’s fun to see women anticipating a semester of diving into God’s Word, building community, and praying for transformed lives. The problem I often hear from leaders is that the excitement tends to drop off after a few weeks. By the end of the study, you are left with a fraction of the women who started. It begs the question, “What went wrong?”
Make this a priority as you begin your new study this fall. Here are four ways you can keep women from dropping out of your Bible study:
1. Enlist someone to stay in touch with women throughout the study. Depending on the number of women enrolled, you may need more than one person, but designate one member to send out a weekly email, a text message, or Facebook message. When someone misses two weeks in a row, make a phone call. There may be a legitimate ministry need, and you don’t want them to fall through the cracks.
2. Give women responsibilities that require their attendance. This may seem a little manipulative, but when women have a reason to be at Bible Study, they are more likely to show up each week. A few ideas include: being responsible for refreshments, enlisting greeters, designating someone to run the video equipment, enlisting someone to take prayer requests, putting someone in charge of name tags, or someone to coordinate childcare. Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Besides, this is just good leadership development. You never know who might be the next Bible study leader!
3. Be prompt and courteous of women’s time. If you start late and end late, it reflects leadership that doesn’t seem prepared or ready for the study. Remember—the leader should always arrive first. It’s a great time for conversation, to make sure the room is prepared, and to pray before women arrive.
4. Have an “end goal” in mind from the beginning. Communicate with women your desire for them to finish well and to finish strong. Give them a reason to finish—maybe a celebration on the last week of study or a fellowship where women share what they have learned. Each week, remind women about the importance of finishing. If they get behind in their homework, encourage them to jump ahead and to stay on the current week.
Maybe you have some good ideas for keeping women plugged into Bible study. What has worked for you?
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for Lifeway Christian Resources and oversees the YOU Lead events. Join her this year and get to know her heart for ministry leaders. Follow her on Twitter @kellydking.