Note: This study can be used be used to lead a person to faith in a one-on-one type of setting or a part of a seeker type group (a mix of Christians and non-Christians that come together specifically for this study). For suggestions on why and how to use this study as part of a seeker small group, see the article, "Why the Gospel Should Be Shared in Community Wherever Possible."
Where possible, hold the study in neutral location like Starbucks or the home of the friend of the person who is studying. This will help the person be at ease. You can also ask the person who is being studied with to serve as the "host" of the study and to invite their circle of family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. This greatly increases the potential number of people who are studied with, and allows the person being studied with to play the role of a "person of peace."
If possible have a meal, light refreshments, or a dessert prior to the study. This helps make the group more comfortable and encourages relationship building.
Begin each study with a prayer by the leader. Later, as the group gets more intimate, you can have more extended prayer time at the end of the lesson.
When studying, show openness, admit mistakes, be humble--and listen!
Give each person studying and his or her friends a copy of the lessons, one per week. You can just use the lesson copies, or you can use the lesson copies with Bibles. However, don't assume that people know anything about the Bible or that they have copies. In fact, at the first study, it is suggested that you bring 4-5 "pew Bibles" that are all the same so that you can reference page numbers for the Bible verses. In the first study, explain where Genesis is, what a chapter is, and what a verse is. Do this simply without being condescending at all.
The less educated a person is, and the less time you have for a study (such as in a timed Bible class), the more it is recommended that you simply use the Story of Redemption copies, particularly for the first few lessons. If the people that you are studying with are well educated, and if you have more time for each lesson, it is recommended that you use the lesson copies plus Bibles to get people familiar with using them. Of course, use the study in the way that works best for you and the people that you are leading.
As homework, have the person answer the questions at the end of the study. This will cause him or her to re-read the lesson, increasing his or her understanding. Go through the questions at the beginning of the next study.
In general, go through one lesson per week. This will allow time to build up trust and a sense of community among the person, the study leader, and his or her friend.
As the person goes through the study, also invite him or her to be involved in as much of the life of the church as possible. We learn by doing, and so serving, caring for others, praying, worshiping and fellowshipping can help a person come to faith.
Complete the official lesson in 50 minutes to an hour, even if there is good discussion. If the discussion goes on for too long, people may enjoy it, but they may decide that they won't come back because they can't afford the time. Most importantly, it is in the informal time after the official discussion that oftentimes the "real discussion" takes place. This is where people ask questions that they were too shy to ask in front of a group and where closer relationships develop.
Make sure that you begin to add the "lived out" portion of the study beginning in week 3. At the end of week 3's lesson, ask everyone there to seek to bless someone that week and to come back and share their experience the following week. (In a new edition of the Story of Redemption, these lived out elements will be more fully integrated.)
Listen to Carolyn share some of the ways that churches can better connect with Millennials and the Next Generation for Christ, including:
1. Outward Spirituality
2. Intergenerational Connection
3. Personal Mentoring
4. Participatory Culture