I've got three small groups to lead each week in Pure Arts: one on Monday, one on Tuesday, and one on Wednesday. Each group met for the first time last week (week 2), with the main emphasis on getting to know one another and finding out about the EU, its objects and its main activities.
This week, we started properly looking at the studies designed for first year Bible studies. Each year, the first years go through a set of foundational studies that go through the Gospel of Mark and some of Paul's letters, using the themes of the Kingdom of God and the Lordship of Jesus. The aim is for every student to start off their time at uni with a solid understanding of what it means to say "Jesus is Lord", and what that means for them.
My big mistake last week was not finding the time to prepare for the Bible studies I was leading this week! So after our three hours of training on Monday morning, I frantically spent the next hour and a bit trying to figure out how to lead a study on Mark chapter 1, verses 1 to 15.
Let me say optimistically that it might have been a good study if we had three hours for our small group! Instead, in the hour that we had, I was inventing questions on the spot, I failed to get to the main point of the passage, we ran out of time, and everyone was left confused as to where we were going. I did such a bad job of keeping track of time that we didn't even pray before almost all the group members got up and left to go to their classes. It wasn't a very good study.
After that failure, I spent another three hours or so tackling the text, trying to figure out how to get "in" to the passage. I typed up the six questions of the study. I decided also, since a number of people had forgotten to bring bibles, that I would print out the Bible passage on the back.
Tuesday's Bible study went at least three times better than Monday's study. I felt much better as a leader, since I was confident about where I was going, and the group responded really well to the questions that I had put a lot of thought into. We still didn't finish all the questions, but we had time to pray, and we got to what I thought was the main point of the passage.
Wednesday's Bible study was like icing on a cake. It went as smoothly as it did on Tuesday, with students really getting the key insight of the study. Learning from the timing of the previous study, I skipped over two of the less important questions so that we would have time to look at some of the Old Testament references. I was very happy with how it felt, not just because we made it to the "end", but because I thought the students really engaged with the text and came to a better understanding of it.
Pray that I continue to spend the time I require in preparation for Bible studies and all my other meetings, so that the word of God might have an impact in people's lives!