How to complete a session of The Gospel Project in 20 minutes
You’ve undoubtedly have thought it before: “There’s so much material—we can’t finish it all in the time we have!” No matter how long your group time is, completing a session in one gathering can be challenging. Everyone in the group might really want to dig into one point (or more) during the session. Discussion, one of the keys to a good group experience, might run longer than expected. Or your group might have less than 30 minutes for each gathering.
Although we’ve written The Gospel Project for Adults with a 35-40 minute group time in mind, it’s possible to run through an entire session in half that, as little as 20 minutes. Here are three suggestions to assist you:
Choose the key point(s) you need to emphasize the most with your group
You will want to spend about an hour reading through the session and making notes on what element(s) of the session is most important for your group. As you read, perhaps you’ll find that your group needs to focus almost the entire session exclusively on one of the three main points. If so, be sure to provide some context and summarize the other key points, but zero in on that one point. Maybe there’s an element of all three points. Whatever the end result is, emphasize the elements most essential for your group.
Keep your discussion tight
Every session features a mix of different kinds of questions: ice-breaker, observation, interpretation, and application. Keep discussion pretty tightly controlled by limiting yourself to just a handful of these questions from throughout the session. I would recommend limiting yourself to four questions total in a very short group time, but if your group likes to interact, you may need to reduce that further.
Encourage personal study among your group members
Even if you have plenty of time and get through the session content in your group time, you’re still only going to scratch the surface of what can be taken away from the session. Strongly encourage personal reading and reflection before or after each session in order for participants to make the most of each study. Group members will want to make sure they’ve got a copy of the Personal Study Guide in-hand for this, alongside their Bibles. Beginning with our new study cycle, the Daily Discipleship Guide will make this even easier as we’ve included five daily devotions for group members.
A final encouragement
Remember, your goal is not necessarily to “get through” the content so much as to encourage one another as we grow in Christlikeness. So as you prepare, continue to pray and trust that God will lead you to focus on the material from each session that will accomplish that goal. That is our prayer for you as well.