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Guidelines for Writing Buddy Group Sheets (Bible Studies)





Tips for Writing Buddy Group Sheets
Tips for Writing "Meaty" Buddy Group Sheets
Tips for Writing "Light" Buddy Group Sheets





What Are Buddy Groups?

To teach Members the Bible, Jesus Club uses a range of approaches to suit the learning styles and abilities of our Members. The segment called Buddy Groups occurs for 15-20min directly after the Upfront Lesson is taught. About 3-4 Members and 2-3 Leaders are assigned to a Buddy Group for the year, according to the Member’s ability level. Members with similar capabilities in terms of reading and comprehension are put together.




What are Buddy Group Sheets?

Buddy Group sheets are printed handouts with questions to prompt Members to reflect on the Upfront Teaching segment. "Meaty” refers to the advanced Buddy Group sheets and “Light” refers to the basic Buddy Group sheets. Below is an example of a Buddy Group Sheet.





Tips for Writing Buddy Group Sheets

Use repetition. Members love repetition, since it reinforces what they already know and thereby increases their confidence in learning. If using the previous lesson as a template, you can keep some of the same questions and only write say 5-7 new ones. 

Physically open the Bible. To demonstrate that our learning about God comes from the Bible, include 1-2 questions where Members must physically open up their Bible. For example, you could write:

Open up your Bible and read Daniel 2:5-6. Then answer questions 5 and 6.



Use simple language. Most of the Members in both the Meaty and Light groups are not literate. Keep words simple and use as many visuals as possible. Use large font.

Be consistent with terminology. Across lesson material, we try to keep terminology and definitions the same so as not to confuse Members. Visit our Common Terminology Used at Jesus Club page.

Use pictures. To help Members visualise a particular Bible story, use a picture rather than words. You can easily find pictures on the web. For example, the scene where people bow down to the gold statue in Daniel 3, below.




Avoid cartoons. Given that Members are adults, avoid using cartoons or childish pictures.

For example, use the photo (left) rather than the cartoon (right).

                               



Use pictures without backgrounds. To make pictures clear and easily identifiable, use pictures without backgrounds. Busy backgrounds will be too distracting.

For example, use the photo (left) rather than the photo (right).

        

Use photos of ordinary people. A subtle, indirect way to show Members they are valued by God is to use photos of ordinary people – with various ages, nationalities and abilities. Even better – use photos of the Members (if they have given written permission). Most stock photos from the web show young Caucasian people, which may implicitly send a discouraging message to Members.

A stock photo taken at Jesus Club (left) and a typical stock photo (right).

      

Use closely-related illustrations. Members can make the mental connection between closely-related items, but not abstract ones.

For example, if teaching about the concept of sin, Members can understand the comparison of parents being hurt and upset when their children ignore them. Members would find the comparison of a wall separating them from God too abstract and confusing.

            


If posing multiple choice questions, only give 2 options. We've found that Members get confused when more than 2 choices are available. Meaty Buddy Group Members may be able to handle 3-4 choices but 2 is ideal.

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Tips for Writing the Meaty Buddy Groups 


• Meaty Buddy Groups are for Members who would be able to think about the meaning of a passage and how it relates to their life. Not all Members in the Meaty group can read, so still use plenty of visuals.

• Consider using a range of questions.

1) Factual questions are the what, who, when, where questions. Example of a factual question:

Read Daniel 3:1. What did King Nebuchadnezzar build?



2) Inferential questions require Members to think between the lines and infer what is happening. An example of an inferential question:

How do you think Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego felt when they were told they’d be thrown into the fire?



3) Personal questions are questions about the Members' lives, which can help them to relate to what is happening in the passage. An example of a personal question:

Have you ever been scared of someone in a powerful position, like a school teacher or your boss at work?



4) Application questions get Members to think how to put what they've learnt into action in their own lives. For example:

God wants everyone to know who He is. Name 3 people in your life that don’t yet know Jesus. We can pray for them.



In the following application question, you could add some visuals to stimulate their thinking, e.g. a picture of someone smiling or giving a person a cup of water.


God wants us to love other people. What are some ways you can love people at your work/day program?




• Ask specific, rather than general questions. If questions are too broad, Members may not understand what the question is asking and therefore, what kind of answer to give. With specific questions, you may need to use multiple questions to make a particular point.

Examples of questions that are too general:

Name a time when you’ve found it difficult to trust God.

What kind of sins do you struggle with?


Examples of multiple, specific questions. In this example, three questions are used to flesh out the one point:

A) Name a time when you got angry at someone.
B) What did you do or say to that person?
C) What do you think God would want you to do in that situation?


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Tips for Writing the Light Buddy Groups 


• Light Buddy Group sheets are for Members who can answer factual questions and can recognise basic ideas.

• Write questions where the Bible answer is already given and Members have to choose which picture demonstrates that Bible answer. For example:

The King made a gold statue. Which picture shows gold?





Another example:

God made people to be friends with him. Which picture shows people being friends?





• Make the Buddy Group sheets interactive as a way of engaging Members.  Examples of interaction:


1) Tick the box of the correct answers (as in the above examples).


2) Colour in the words or picture.




3) Copy words. For example:

Write the word “Jesus” in the blank spaces.


____  ____  ____  ____  ____ 



4) Tick a particular feature of a picture. For example: 

Circle the gold statue in the picture below.





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