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Mar 12, 2014

3 Steps to Winning Parish Support for Your Bible Study

Karyn O'Neel

After many people experience a faith renewal through the Great Adventure, they often want to know how to introduce it to their wider parish community. There is no better way than to approach your parish leadership and let them know the joy and enriched faith that you have experienced.

Stamp of ApprovalIn fact, having the “buy-in” from your pastor, parish priest, DRE or other parish leader is often the key difference in a program being wildly embraced versus one that ministers to just a few committed laity.

So how do you get the crucial support of your pastor, DRE, or other parish leaders?

Be ready for questions

Parish leaders will naturally be asking: “How much work will it take to run this?,” “How much will it cost?,” “How long does it last?” and other similar questions.

We can help you get those questions answered.

Before a decision can be reached, here are three things you’ll need to share:

  1. Information about The Great Adventure Bible study
  2. Your enthusiasm (it’s contagious, trust me!). Your enthusiasm should, of course, be real but you should also be reserved as you’re presenting—realizing that others may not initially see what you have seen and experienced.
  3. Your willingness to help facilitate the study

1. Gathering information

Before you do anything, however, stop and pray.

Pray to the Incarnate Word, asking that he guide you, and that he stir the hearts of those in your community. In the end, the purpose of Bible study is to lead those hearts to him.

Now, let’s pull together some helpful info.

“Show” is better than “tell”

The more familiar and comfortable you are with The Great Adventure studies, the better.

Contact one of our Study Consultants at 1-800-376-0520. They will provide you with free tips, materials and resources, (like leader’s guides and ready-made promotional flyers), which can make the meeting easier and more successful. If you are allowed to make purchase decisions at the parish, you can even order a review pack of our studies “risk-free.”

Bible study chartAnyone can view study materials online at to see product reviews, study materials and costs. And, at our support website,, we walk you through what you need to know to start a study.

2. Share your enthusiasm

Great. So, you’ve got the enthusiasm and the materials. Now it’s time to communicate them.

When you set a time and date to meet with your parish leadership, you should refer to the meeting as an informational meeting where you would like to share what you have learned about a Bible study that has played a serious role in your own faith renewal.

Bring the study materials with you, including a Bible Timeline chart, promotional DVD and sample of the study. Have the “Steps to starting a Bible study” with you, for reference.

A little smile goes a long way

Bible Study GroupsAt the meeting, remember to relax and smile.

After all, you’re speaking about something that is found in thousands of parishes across the country. And, if you pray in advance, the Holy Spirit will certainly be with you.

Share your excitement about the study, and then give a brief overview of The Great Adventure.

You might say, for example:

  • “It offers an easy-to-follow, narrative way understanding of Scripture”
  • “The Bible Timeline chart makes the complex simple. (It is a color coded guide to salvation history!)”
  • “Over 300,000 people in all 50 states have participated in this program”
  • “Cardinals, Bishops, and priests have given their support and testimonials”
  • “All of The Great Adventure studies have received the imprimatur”

Then, talk about how The Great Adventure Bible studies will help your parish:

  • Understand God’s plan/our Catholic faith
  • Enter into and understand the Mass readings
  • Develop a deeper personal relationship with Christ
  • Become more involved in the parish community

Get Personal

Finally, share some of your own personal experience with The Great Adventure Bible studies: the impact they made on your life, or your impression of what you have seen so far. Your testimony will create an excitement and enthusiasm of its own.

Let the Holy Spirit guide you. After all, this is His work.

3. Lend a Helping Hand

Bible study requires some preparation. Explain what role you can play with the preparation that will be needed, including gathering a Core Team and training small group facilitators.

You will also want to be prepared to answer some of the questions that may come up, for example, how long the study runs, the physical space needed, cost, and who will help run the study. If you ever need help with this, our Study Consultants can help you with getting these answers.

You may not get approval right away, but do plan to follow up soon after your meeting to answer any additional questions or concerns.

If the parish determines that this program could be a blessing and desires to move forward, be sure to ask your parish leaders if they know others who might play a part in the study. Explain that creating a core team will help the parish in many ways. Maybe they will be as enthusiastic as you and decide to join in!

And now, you’re on your way! The next step is to plan and promote your study.

Did you find this helpful?

You can find more helpful posts about facilitating Catholic Bible study here.

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