You Are the Host; Treat Your Friends as Guests
• Remind your friends the day before (and perhaps again shortly before you get together).
• Set out snacks and drinks.
• Turn off phone ringers and TV/computer screens that might be distracting.
• Welcome people and introduce them to each other. (By setting up early you can talk with your friends as they arrive instead of finishing up preparations.)
• Explain what you will be doing and how often you will meet.
Respect Your Friends' Cultures and Traditions
Learn all you can about your friends so they feel welcomed and respected.
• Some people have special diets (Muslims typically don’t eat pork and Hindus typically don’t eat beef and are often vegetarian).
• Some people need a long silence before they are ready to say something.
• Some people like to jump into the discussion before others are finished.
• Some, such as Muslims, have great respect for holy writings, so please keep your Bible off the floor.
Expect God to Work in Your Friends' Hearts
God loves your friends. He is already at work in their lives. He will continue to work, so continue to care for them no matter what response they have. Again, God will speak through his Word. He has promised to do that!
“So also will be the word that I speak – it will not fail to do what I plan for it; it will do everything I send it to do.” Isaiah 55:11 (Good News Bible)
Expect the Unexpected
Everything is ready for your I-GIG… but the lights go out or your friends don’t show up. Relax! This is God’s group, and he will help you through anything.
Chelsea Shares Guang's Story
“Today is the day! I talk about it all the time, but it’s finally real. I’m so nervous about leading a Bible study,” Guang, an international student from China, texted me. She came to the US as a non-Christian. Now she is introducing her friends to Jesus.
God surprised Guang at the first study. Five of her friends showed up, one was a new believer and four, including Shan, had never studied the Bible before. As the group looked at the community of believers in the book of Acts, Guang shared her dream that her friends might enter into a community that is oriented around Jesus.
Guang’s friends continued attending the Bible study each week. A few weeks later Shan came to faith in Jesus! On the day of her baptism she texted me, “I am so happy and proud. We are family now!” Since then Shan has been studying scripture with Guang and others in the group. I have been amazed by how much she has grown in her understanding and love of God in such a short time.
Reflecting on leading a group for the first time this semester, Guang said, “I was very nervous, nearly crying every time before leading this Bible study. I don’t know who will come, I don’t know what questions will be asked, and I don’t know whether or not I can handle it. However, leading this Bible study has brought me closer to God personally. When I’m terrified, I just pray or invite people to pray with me. It’s so clear that God and Holy Spirit is leading it. During the Bible study we pray for each other and we naturally formed genuine friendships. We not only learn about God from Bible study, but also see God’s work from each other’s lives. At the end, we all grow closer to God and with each other. I’m very thankful to lead this Bible study!” The skills Guang learned will continue to serve her well long after her time in graduate school ends.