Feb 26, 2024

How to Use Ligonier Resources in Your Small Group

4 Min Read

Though they go by different names, many churches provide an opportunity for members to meet in smaller groups to facilitate fellowship, accountability, service, and mutual care among one another. These groups also vary greatly in how often they meet and the focus of their time spent together. For small groups whose purpose includes targeted time together in God’s Word, Ligonier produces discipleship resources to help guide your small group in spiritual growth.

Three categories of Ligonier resources are particularly suited for use by small groups:

  1. Books: Choose from hundreds of titles by gifted authors on various topics in biblical studies, theology, and Christian living.

  2. Teaching Series: Watch video messages on hundreds of topics and deepen your study through the accompanying study guide questions for reflection and discussion.

  3. Ligonier Connect: Use our online learning platform, which features teaching series with embedded study tools, as well as opportunities for group members to discuss within the platform about what they’re learning.

What might this practically look like in your small group? Since many people are already familiar with how to do a book study with a small group, we will explore how to use a Ligonier teaching series for small groups. Each teaching series contains a specific number of twenty- to thirty-minute video messages and a study guide. For example, the Romans 8 teaching series with Dr. Derek Thomas provides a small group leader with the resources needed to run a weekly small group over the course of three months.

Before the Meeting

Prior to the meeting, the leader takes time to watch the video and review the study guide material. Each lesson begins with an introduction, learning goals, and key ideas. These are especially helpful to the leader in planning the direction of the discussion. Each participant also takes the time to read and answer the “Before the Video” section of the study guide before they attend the small group meeting. The Scripture verse and questions prepare the small group participants for the meeting by encouraging them to think through the themes that will be part of that particular lesson. By preparing before the small group meeting, both the leader and participants come to the meeting ready to engage with one another.

During the Meeting

  • Discussion Before the Video: Because each participant has used the study guide questions to engage with the topic or passage in advance, the meeting can open with general discussion on the “Before the Video” questions and the Scripture passage. The leader can also ask open-ended questions about what the participants hope to learn or what questions they hope are answered during the study.

  • “During the Video” Questions: Each participant should have a copy of the study guide during the small group meeting. The study guide contains questions that should be answered during the video lessons. These brief questions help participants note the key points of the lesson.

  • “After the Video” Questions: Each study guide also contains concluding questions written to elaborate on topics and themes discussed during the lesson. These questions engage group participants and encourage them to discuss their answers with one another.

  • Prayer: After the study guide questions, suggestions for prayer are included in each lesson. These brief recommendations for prayer help participants turn the truths they learned during the lesson into prayers.

The detailed study guide corresponding with many of our teaching series provides an outline and content for small group leaders of every ability level. Leaders can either simply present the material as it is outlined in the study guide, or they can use different points within the study guide as a jumping-off point to explore topics or themes of special interest to members of the group.

After the Meeting

Taking time after the meeting to review what was covered is an important part of the learning process. Each study guide also contains review questions. These questions can be completed at the end of the meeting, but a more effective approach is to encourage small group participants to answer these questions a day or two after the meeting. By doing so, participants are encouraged to remember the important points of the lesson.

Flipped and Digital Classrooms

The meeting format described above is a traditional format for small group meetings, but it isn’t the only model that can be used. A more recent innovation in education is “flipping the classroom.” In this model, the message or didactic material is viewed by participants on their own before the meeting. The group then gathers to discuss the already-reviewed material. In this model, students watch the teaching series videos and work through some or all of the study questions on their own. When the group gathers, there is now much more time for in-depth discussion and application of the material.

Ligonier Connect is an excellent resource for using the flipped classroom model. This online learning platform provides questions for participants to study the teaching series material on their own or in online groups. A small group can create an online group on Ligonier Connect so that discussion can occur in their private online group during the week—in addition to the in-person discussion during the meeting times. For groups that are not able to meet in-person, an entire small group can be facilitated through a completely digital classroom on Ligonier Connect.

Whether you use Ligonier books, teaching series, or Ligonier Connect, our ever-expanding library of discipleship resources can support your small group as together you pursue maturity in Christ.