Differences Between Small Group, Life Group, and Bible Study Group

Differences Between a Small Group, Bible Study Group, and a Life Group 

Christians use different terms for getting together in a small group for a time of fellowship, learning, and worship. Small Groups, Bible Study Group, and Life Groups are three terms that are often used interchangeably. But is there a difference? If so, which is right for you and your group?

Let's look at some similarities and differences so you can decide which style of group is your best fit. 

Small Groups

A Small Group is usually a group of 5-15 people who get together on a frequent and recurring basis. Topics discussed during small group time can range from common interests such as marriage, grief, or parenthood, to deep Bible study and dissection of scripture. 

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25

Bible Study Groups

The term "Bible Study" has become a catch all phrase with many meanings. In its truest definition though, a Bible Study group meets with the interest of combing through the Bible. This group can be large or small, but the sole focus is to dissect the Word of God in order to draw out meaning from the text. 

Often times, a Bible Study Group focuses on a book of the Bible or a certain section of scripture to discuss. They usually continue to meet until they are finished studying that topic. This can be long-term or short-term. 

"Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men." Acts 17:10-12

Discipleship Life Groups

A Discipleship Life Group is a group of people who meet with the intention of discipleship and "doing life" together. Life Groups are usually small and meet on a long-term basis. 

They are usually formed based on a commonality such as age, marital status, gender, stage of life, etc. They discuss God's Word in a variety of formats– Bible study, topical, etc.  When they finish one topic, they choose a different topic because the goal is to have on-going meet ups with the same group of people. 

One unique aspect of Life Groups is that they purpose to get together outside of meeting time for a bonding activity. Whether it be sports games, picnics, or even travel, Life Groups have the intention of living life together through meetings as well as outings. 

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:44-47

Final Thoughts

Small Groups can come in a variety of formats. Deciding which format is best for you depends on your personal needs, goals, and how the Lord is leading you. Whichever format you choose, small groups are a great way to interact with people in a less intimidating manner and can provide a good level of discipleship and accountability to the group members. 

To learn more about starting your own Life Group for the kids in your life and community, go HERE


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