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Little Rock Connections: The Good News for Today
August 2019


My Experience as a Bible Study Facilitator 

We asked Steve Picard, longtime Bible study facilitator and friend of Little Rock Scripture Study, to share with us some wisdom and blessings he has gained as a small group facilitator.

For the past twenty-plus years, I have been blessed to facilitate a parish Bible study at St. Jerome Parish in Los Angeles. We use a small group faith-sharing model of study, prayer, and conversation, usually using Little Rock Scripture Study.

Many of the blessings I experience as a Bible study facilitator are the same blessings I receive as a Bible study participant, since as a facilitator, I am also a participant. My Bible study friends confirm that joining a Bible study gives us incentive to read Scripture on a regular basis. The group encourages us, and we all feel a responsibility to the community we have created. Together we develop discipline to read and prepare. As a facilitator, this discipline aspect is heightened a bit for me. I need to be that person who has read and prayed about the session’s assigned Scripture and who has prepared well enough to begin the conversation confidently especially when others are tentative. 

In every Bible study session, I have an opportunity to improve my small group facilitation skills. I look for connections in the conversation and try to identify consensus in observations, feelings, and insights. I look for opportunities to ask questions and help people be specific about what they feel and observe in Scripture. I express encouragement and thanks for the contribution of each participant as the conversation unfolds. God blessed me with an introverted personality, but I have learned with practice and repetition to employ certain extroverted behaviors to good effect!

From many Bible study conversations, I recognize that joy, peace, patience, and other fruits of the Spirit have increased tremendously in my life, and that trajectory continues. While there is still much for me to learn about who God is and what God does, what I have already experienced has increased my awareness of God’s holy presence in all things and in every situation.

I am blessed to be present when someone connects the text of Scripture to the text of his or her life. Such a conversation usually begins with the observation: “This (biblical passage) reminds me of a time in my life when . . . .” The participant then describes an experience similar to that of the person in the “Footprints” story, who sees only a single set of footprints in the sand of his life and realizes it was then that God was no longer walking beside him but carrying him.

I have learned to encourage others and to be encouraged by others in our Bible study to keep the Main Thing—being in relationship with Jesus who has died, who is risen, and who will come again—the main thing. Our Catholic tradition is wide and deep, and sometimes I need to remind and be reminded that although the books and the rules and the wisdom of our tradition have their place, my spirituality is ultimately informed and formed by my living relationship with the real person of Jesus.

I observe that people join Bible study with varying degrees of connection with the Church, and I have learned to be sensitive to the many levels of connection or disconnection people feel. I am blessed when I discover that someone who has felt distanced from the Church or from God has decided to respond to God’s initiative to them to reconnect. I feel edified when they choose Bible study as that first, brave step because they anticipate that Bible study might be a safer place to reconnect than some other parish activity. As a facilitator I have learned to make welcome, hospitality, and encouragement a priority for all, but especially for those who are negotiating their reconnection to the Church.

Another graced moment I experience as a facilitator is hearing from someone who, as a result of something they heard or read in Bible study, had a courageous conversation with a family member or coworker or someone else about Jesus. I am blessed when I hear how Bible study gave this person the confidence to speak to others about Jesus and the sensibility to look for opportunities for such conversations. 

Last though certainly not least, as a Bible study facilitator, I am blessed with a deep sense of gratitude to God for all the blessings in my life, especially the gift of his holy Word. It is a privilege to join with those in my Bible study as we share together in the experience of God’s Word in our lives.

In addition to facilitating Bible study at his home parish, Steve Picard serves as an instructor for the Los Angeles Catholic Bible Institute, training Bible study facilitators and helping them develop successful strategies for increasing biblical literacy in parishes of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.


Exodus Part One and Part TwoMake plans now to delve into the book of Exodus this fall in your parish! Journey with the Israelites from slavery to freedom as they learn what it means to be God's People. Our new editions of Exodus: Part One and Exodus: Part Two are now available. Part One covers Exodus 1−15 in five lessons. Part Two covers Exodus 16−40 in four lessons.


Little Rock Scripture Study

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