Leading a Bible study small group can be challenging. There will be some who want to fill up every minute with chatter, and others who won’t want to contribute at all. Some finish all their homework every week, and others never touch it. It’s enough to make us wonder – how to lead a Bible study that pleases every personality?
There are four basic personality styles. Each one is broad, and not meant to put people in a box, but to simplify and improve relationships. Every person has some unique gifts and challenges with respect to Bible study. All can be satisfied in the same group if we as leaders know what to watch for and how to meet the needs of each personality type.
First of all, do you know what your personality preferences are? No matter what, you can be a great small group leader. To better understand your unique style, and the styles of others, try my free personality assessment, Personality Key. When you complete the assessment, you will receive a free report containing more details about each personality type and other helpful tips.
Here is a summary of each type and how to ensure your leadership pleases her personality.
Sanguine Heart Personality
The Sanguine Heart personality style is the emotional one. She loves people and is energized by being with people. This is the most optimistic and outgoing personality. She can be counted on to connect with other women. You can be sure she will make friends with someone who came alone and doesn’t know anyone. Enlist her to make sure no one feels left out.
She will probably love parties as well, so you may be able to have her host a lunch or dinner at the end of the study. She may be creative and would love to bring a craft or an ice breaker game. I’m sure you’ve met her, she’s the fun one!
Like any personality, the Sanguine Heart can present some challenges in a small group study. She may dislike silence and may be quick to jump in and answer questions if a few seconds pass by without someone speaking up. Whether she finished the homework or not, she is likely to have something to say! This tendency can be curbed by a private conversation with her. Thank her that you know you can always count on her to answer, but enlist her help in pausing and giving others a chance to think and then answer.
The Sanguine Heart personality may have difficulty finishing all the homework if there are lots of questions. It might help if you go over the homework the week before it is assigned and circle 3-4 questions that you recommend everyone do. That way she will be off the hook for all the homework but will feel like she can still contribute something.
Phlegmatic Soul Personality
The Phlegmatic Soul personality is often a deep and introspective thinker. If asked, this type will usually surprise you by the depth of their thoughts. However, they are not as likely to contribute to a discussion. They are usually quiet and may be unsure of themselves. Sometimes it’s very hard to draw them out. They’re the listeners, not usually the talkers.
The Phlegmatic Soul usually does best in one-on-one discussions. So invite her for coffee and you might be surprised at her depth. As you talk, let her know about how important her contribution would be to the group. Ask her permission to call on her occasionally. This personality will usually be willing to contribute if asked. But make sure you get her permission first, she won’t like being surprised.
Melancholy Mind Personality
The Melancholy Mind style will be the one who loves the homework and may prefer a deeper study. If the study you have chosen is lighter, you might ask if she would like to do some extra research. Looking up Hebrew or Greek meanings of the words, or finding other Bible verses that apply to the lesson might be something she really enjoys.
The Melancholy Mind is also a quieter personality, and hesitant to share personal stories. She will prefer research-type questions and may shy away from the personal applications. She won’t want to reveal too much with a group until she gets to know them better. Keep that in mind when calling on her to answer.
Choleric Strength Personality
This personality type doesn’t often join a small group. They are usually leading them! The Choleric Strength type loves to lead and feels very uneasy if they sense a void in leadership. They may jump in and take over in that case.
One of the things that will annoy Choleric Strength types is someone who dominates the conversation. This is one reason it is so important to enlist the help of the Sanguine Heart to hold back from answering every question.
The Choleric personality will keep you on your toes to practice good leadership skills! She is usually in a hurry and will respect you as a leader if you begin and end on time. She may stop coming to your small group if it runs late consistently. If you have members who like to hang around and talk, make sure you finish the study on time, pray, and dismiss them. You can always offer to hang around if anyone wants to stay.
Which Personality Type Makes the Best Small Group Leader?
Honestly, every personality type can lead a small group well. Each style has gifts that would benefit a group. Watch my short video below for encouragement in leadership, no matter what your unique style.
How to Find the Perfect Bible Study
I recently participated in the 2017 Bible Study Expo. Here is my interview for Making Peace with Prickly People. At PricklyPeople, you will be able to download a free study guide which contains leader notes to help you make your small group experience the best it can be.
Visiting Bible Study Expo is like opening a treasure chest of information about great Bible studies. Visit the site to browse through the archives and hear from the authors why they wrote the study, who their intended audience is, and how your small group can benefit from it.
…because U count, deb