I’m a fan of any Bible study that unearths the truth found in God’s Word, reveals the gospel of Jesus Christ, and gives the Holy Spirit room to do what only He can do. With that in mind, I believe it’s important for every small group leader to know the pros and cons of using video-driven studies so that he or she can decide what is best for the ministry they are leading.
I believe there are five pros of video-driven Bible studies for groups:
1. Assures the church leadership that biblical truth is taught. A conversational Bible study can quickly become a night of shared ignorance. Watching a knowledgeable and spiritually mature Bible teacher on video ensures the group that biblical truth is taught and allows the group time to focus on application.
2. Demands little to no preparation time.
3. Can help in the recruitment of new group members if the teaching on the video is done by a well-known teacher or preacher.
4. Makes it possible for a group to experience substantial understanding without having someone in the group with the spiritual gift of teaching.
5. Allows an expert to teach the group concerning topics that are often outside the knowledge base of any of the group members.
While there are some very important pros, we cannot overlook the cons of using video-driven studies exclusively:
1. Individuals with the spiritual gift of teaching will never be able to utilize their God-given gift.
2. The Holy Spirit is given little room to be the teacher as He often makes truth known through the synergistic conversation that takes place when a group of Spirit-led Christ followers are seeking truth together.
3. Individuals who have the gift of teaching but are new to teaching will never have the opportunity to grow in their teaching abilities.
4. Group members seldom learn how to seek God’s revelation using their own Bible. Most of us learn how to use our Bibles by watching others. We watch them as they are cross-referencing, using the helps in their study Bibles, etc. And the only setting most people are in where this happens is during a small group Bible study.
5. Group leaders are unable to evaluate the biblical knowledge level and the worldview of each group member. Knowing this information is important so that the group leader can determine how to take next steps with each group member in their spiritual formation process.
Rick Howerton has one passion — to see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is pursuing this passion as the small group and discipleship specialist at LifeWay Church Resources.