This past fall I had the opportunity to sit on our Bible Study Review Team.
I’ve been really curious about how it works.
It’s a process I think works really well and is one you might want to adopt for your church.
Let me walk you through how it worked for us.
At the end of the post you’ll find a free printable you can use with your Bible Study Review Team.
We open up our Bible Study Review Team to all of the women that are currently attending our Bible studies. We’re a smaller church, so this time around that was around 35 women. Five of us volunteered to serve on the review team.
We would hold our meetings immediately after Bible Study – which worked well since we were already at the church.
We had 3 meetings. The first was shorter. The last two were quite a bit longer – maybe an hour and a half or so.
At our first meeting our Bible Study Coordinator asked us to bring ideas and books, if we had them. She explained the review process and we came up with a list of studies we wanted to review. Some were titles suggested by the women sitting around the table. Some of the titles were studies the previous team had rated high, but had not made the final cut. We were also able to add new studies into the review process at our next meeting, if we felt strongly about them.
We divided up the studies for review. Women took the books we had home with them and we also headed to the local Christian bookstore to review the books. Your bookstore may allow you to purchase and return the studies as long as they are in mint condition. Each of us reviewed 3-4 studies. We tried to make sure at least two people were reviewing the same study. With 5 of us on the team, we were able to review a lot of books!
Before the next meeting (2 weeks later) we were each to fill out the spreadsheet for the studies we agreed to review.
On the spreadsheet we recorded:
- Study Title and Author
- Number of Weeks
- Video Component (length of videos sessions and whether the video was necessary/optional)
- Necessary Participant Materials (Book, Workbook, Both)
- Amount of Homework (approximately how many minutes a day/week)
- Personal Rating 1-5 (5 being you loved it)
- Preferred Session (Summer, Fall, or Winter)
- Summary of the Study
Each of us plugged in our information and emailed it to our Bible Study Coordinator who made copies of all the reviews for the team’s second meeting.
At the second meeting we talked through every study we had reviewed. We took it one study at a time. I was a little surprised that overall our separate reviews of the same studies were pretty similar. If one of us didn’t care for it or felt it wasn’t a good fit for our women, the other team member was almost always in agreement.
Our list of potential studies narrowed pretty quickly. Any studies we were on the fence about went back into the pile for review. If it was a definite “no” it was off the list. We switched books and reviewed those items we had not done yet. Again we each completed a spreadsheet and sent it back to our Bible Study Coordinator. We planned to meet again in 2 weeks.
At our third meeting we shared the new reviews and narrowed our list further. Once we put down the clear “winners” on paper we talked through when would be the best time to offer each study. We offer two selections for each Bible study session. We try to balance video/non-video studies and deep/lighter studies so women can choose what works best for their schedule/season.
I know it may sound like a lot of work. It definitely takes a couple of hours between each meeting to complete the reviews. It’s a process this women’s ministry team has used for some time and it seems to work really well.
Back in the spring of last year, our Bible Study Coordinator gave a survey to all of the Bible study participants and asked us about the topics we’d like to see covered and gave us the opportunity to suggest specific studies. Some of those studies were ones that we also reviewed.
While we planned out the studies for all of 2016, we will meet again this spring just to touch base and make sure we still feel confident about our selections for the fall of 2016. We have tentatively planned to offer one of the winter studies again in the fall because many of us felt strongly about our two winter offerings and wanted the opportunity to do both. It’s also a study that will really focus hearts going into Easter and Christmas. We’ll see if God leads us in a different direction or confirms our initial decision!
One more note: We have offered teacher-led studies on books of the Bible in the past. If you have women who are gifted, equipped, and willing to teach straight from God’s Word you’ll definitely want to add that as an offering.
As mentioned, here are your free printables. I’ve given you two options this time so your team can possibly fill them in on their computer and send them back to you.
If your team is computer-savvy you may want to create a Google document/form for everyone to enter their information. I don’t want your Coordinator to have to re-type everything.
If you have any questions about setting up a Bible Study Review Team be sure to ask me in the comments below.
You may also want to read:
How Women’s Ministry Teams Select Bible Studies
Tips & Tools for Bible Study Leaders and Small Group Facilitators