Introduction: What has been your experience with the COVID quarantine? Since this is a world-wide issue, I’m guessing that almost all those reading this study have experienced a change in their life based on this virus. One big change for me is staying at home. I taught my law school classes from home. My litigation work was done at home. I even taught my Bible classes and preached from home.  What I was missing was personal interaction with people outside my home! Our lesson this week is about working with others to advance the Kingdom of God. Are you looking forward to working with others again? Does that give you a feeling of excitement? Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible to learn more about the excitement of working with others to advance God’s Kingdom!

  1.         Small Bible Study Groups

  1.         Read Mark 3:13-14. Why do you think Jesus chose twelve disciples to work with Him?

  1.         Why not a larger number? (The text says “so that they might be with Him.” This suggests a practical decision about the number of regular companions.)


  1.         Read Hebrews 10:23-25. When you read these verses, do you think that this refers to regular church attendance? (It could refer to regular church attendance.)

  1.         When you attend church, do you get to encourage other members and stir them up to love and good works?

  1.         Or, do you speak casually with other members, and then go home? (Perhaps this reflects my personality, but when I attend church I speak briefly with a number of people. It is not a place where I learn enough from the other person to consider how to most effectively encourage their work.)

  1.         Consider again the part of Hebrews 10:25 about encouraging each other. The preacher or the Bible teacher should encourage us as a group, but how many people do you individually encourage at church?

  1.         For decades I have been a part of small Bible study groups. In those groups I got to know the members, learn details of their lives, and understand what concerns them. These are things I would never learn from merely meeting someone and speaking briefly with them at church.

  1.         Read Acts 16:11-13. What is Paul looking for on the Sabbath? (He is looking for those who worship God.)

  1.         Read Acts 16:14-15. Lydia is converted after hearing Paul explain the gospel. What advantage do you find in being taught in a small group? (Small groups are less intimidating. A person who might not speak up in a large group will feel comfortable doing so in a small group.)

  1.         Would you feel more comfortable inviting a nonmember to attend a small group than inviting that person to church?

  1.         Do you think that a nonmember is more likely to accept an invitation to a small group than an invitation to attend church?

  1.         Small Group Efficiency

  1.         Read Acts 20:16-17. Paul is sailing past Ephesus, but he wants to speak to the elders of the church in Ephesus. Why didn’t Paul just sail to Ephesus? (He did not want to get slowed down by meeting with the entire church.)

  1.         Have you found small meetings to be a more efficient use of your time?

  1.         Read Acts 20:18 and Acts 20:28-29. If I told you to “pay careful attention” to the church members, how would you do that if you were the pastor of the church?

  1.         Would you make home visits?  Would you make telephone visits?

  1.         How often, as a practical matter, could you do that?

  1.         Let’s say that you made home visits twice a year? (I never recall any of my pastors doing that, but let’s assume this was done.) Would that be “careful attention?”                        

  1.         Look again at Acts 20:28. What is Paul calling the elders? (“Overseers.” This is someone who supervises.)

  1.         What do you think that means? (Those who are paying “careful attention to … the flock.”)

  1.         I’m not sure how your church is structured, but many have a pastor who is assisted by local elders.  Imagine if all of the elders had a weekly small group Bible study. How often would they be checking the condition of the members?

  1.         If the elders were told to report to the pastor when church members needed help, the pastor would have a weekly “check up” of all of the members. Can you suggest an easier or less intimidating way for a pastor to regularly check on the members?

  1.         Do you like to go to the homes of your friends? Is small group Bible study an exciting way to get involved?

  1.         Small Group Structure

  1.         Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-14. This suggests that the church is like a person’s body. What does this analogy suggest about church organization? (It suggests that it should be organized.)

  1.         Do you think small groups help to organize a church?

  1.         What if you put all of the members doing similar tasks in the church in the same small group?

  1.         Would that help them to accomplish their work? Or, is this too much organization? (I created a structure that organized all church members in small groups according to their general duties in the church. It was never adopted. I’m sure part of the problem was being told what group you should be in – as opposed to choosing your own group.)

  1.         Read 1 Corinthians 12:27-28. What are your thoughts on having small groups composed only of apostles, prophets, teachers, or miracle workers? By this I mean that one small group would consist only of prophets? (That highlights another problem with my idea.)

  1.         Do these verses say anything about the best composition for small groups?

  1.         Do you look at small groups like a “hand” or “foot” ( 1 Corinthians 12:21) of the greater church, or do you view small groups more like a small church? (Although I still think organizing small groups along lines of work in the church would be an advantage, it seems that they work best if they look more like a small church.)

  1.         God’s Small Group

  1.         Hebrews 1:1-2 and John 1:1-3. Who is involved in the creation? (These texts mention the Father and Son, who is also called the Word.)

  1.         Read Genesis 1:1-3. Who else is mentioned here in connection with the creation? (The Spirit of God.)

  1.         Read Matthew 28:18-19. Why would Jesus command that all Christians be baptized “in the name” of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? (Because they are working together.)

  1.         Why do you think God works in a “small group?” (Read John 16:7-8 and John 14:26. We see that Jesus and the Holy Spirit coordinate their work. They help each other)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 6:4. Is this inconsistent with Jesus’ baptism instruction? (No. This superficial conflict is resolved by the doctrine of the Trinity – that the Three are One.)

  1.         Friend, working through small groups started with God! Everyone wants to belong, Pastors need to keep watch over their flock, discussing the Bible with others helps us to learn, and most people love to socialize. Why not put all of these together by forming or joining a small Bible study group? If you are looking for material to study, consider the archive section of

  1.         Next week: Sharing the Story of Jesus.