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Home Bible studies don't always operate by the textbook.

After more than two decades of promotion in books, magazines, seminars, and classes, the fact about small groups is that few churches can testify to success. Among the reasons are:

1. We have few role models, at least in our own culture.

2. The literature on the subject has promoted the idea without offering practical methods.

3. The American concept of home privacy causes such ministries to develop more slowly here than in some countries.

4 Our American style of church leadership does not often encourage lay ministries to develop outside the walls of the sanctuary, beyond the immediate supervision of the pastor.

5. Pastors who decide in favor of home ministries become discouraged when they cannot find specifically prepared Bible study materials. If we want to give direction to the teaching, we must adapt materials created for other purposes-and that's too much work.

Yet we cannot escape the reality that many lay Christians want a small-group experience-and can benefit greatly if the group functions ...

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