Another common misconception is that by having small groups read and study the Bible together, we're discouraging seekers and new believers from attending. Many believe that engaging in a Bible study during a small group is just too intimidating for new people. But we believe that God's Word was written for all of us, not just scholars. Leaders are trained to lower barriers for new people by forming questions that anyone can answer and focusing on being hospitable to newcomers. With this model, there's no reason a new person can't participate in the discussion on the first night.
In light of the sad state of biblical literacy and biblical community I encourage you to evaluate your small-group model. What results is your model producing? If you're like us, you may find that your model is perfectly suited to produce results you never intended. But you can turn things around by equipping God's people to study the Bible. Pour into your leaders and train them to read and understand Scripture so they can help their group members do the same.
—Brad Himes is the Involvement Director at Broadway Christian Church in Mattoon, Illinois.