How to Lead Application

So What?

During the third part of the conversation, called “Application”, you’ll help your group put into practice what God has made clear through his Word.

You’ve been building toward this, so don’t skimp when it comes to application! You can serve your group with bold leadership here. Be real about your own challenges. Change is hard and scary for all of us, but good leadership gives us vision and courage for transformation.


First, you’ll want to wrap up your Interpretation conversation and carry that clarity and momentum into application. We’ve found the best way to do that is for the leader to summarize what the group just discovered in the passage.

Before the study, you’ll prepare a summary. As you share this summary, try to weave in the key phrases or ideas that came up during your group’s conversation.

A great summary will:
  • Usually be no longer than a minute or two
  • Help your group feel the weight or drama of the passage
  • Feel familiar to your group because it reflects what was just discussed
  • Emphasize the heart of the passage
  • Transition naturally into your call to application

Lead Into Application

Application answers the questions, “So what?” Given this Word that we’ve just encountered, what might it look like for God to align our life with his truth?

With prayer and practice, you’ll get better and better at leading your group into application. As you get started, here are some tips:

  • Protect your time for application. Watch your pacing. Set an alarm on your phone if you have to!
  • Be prayerful as you prepare and as you lead application. Depend on the Holy Spirit to give you direction. You will be better able to follow the Holy Spirit if you prepare two or three different application questions and then choose the one that best fits the moment.
  • Write SHARP application questions.
  • Over the course of a semester or season with your group, try to offer a variety of applications.
    • Some might be personal application (“How do I respond?”) and some might be for a group application (“How can we live this out together?”).
    • Some might focus on aligning our interior world (“How does this change how I think about God or myself?”) and some might focus on aligning our external world (“How does this change what I’ll do tomorrow?”).
  • If your group prays together after studying the Bible, don’t change the subject. In other words, encourage your group to focus on prayer requests related to what you all just heard God say through the passage.

Check In

Make it a habit to check in with your group about their application response. Don’t let your group fall into a pattern of talking about application and then immediately forgetting to do it. If your group knows you’re going to ask, they are more likely to remember to lean into the application during the week.

Consider personally checking in with a few people between studies. That doesn’t come from a place of making sure they are on task.  Rather, it comes from a place of loving those in your group and being excited to hear how God’s Word is impacting them.

We also recommend beginning your next Bible study by asking about how application went during the week. This is a time to celebrate how God is aligning you and your group with his good Word.

Give a Call to Faith

InterVarsity style Bible studies are safe and accessible places to explore what it means to become a follower of Jesus. Every year we see thousands of students decide to make a faith commitment through participation in a small group Bible study. We've developed lots of resources to help you learn how.

Resources For Leading Calls to Faith


How to Prepare