Journaling can be an effective way for small group members to engage Scripture together. Time for journaling can be given during the small group, or participants can journal throughout the week on one passage as a homework assignment in preparation for the next group meeting.
If journaling is to be used during the group meeting, the leader can incorporate it at several points during the Bible study. One option is for the leader to read the passage aloud to the group and provide a series of questions for group members to journal about after the reading (see the “5 Questions to Ask” sidebar for examples of discussion questions). Another option is for participants to read the passage individually first and then jot down which verses stood out to them, what they thought about those verses, what questions they had, general impressions, etc. Journaling could also be used after the passage has been discussed and the group is moving toward drawing applications. Participants could be asked to write down what specifically moved them about the passage and what action they plan to take as a result. They can also journal praises, confessions, thanksgivings, or supplications.
When using journaling as part of the small group time, the leader should be sure to provide plenty of paper and pens for participants to use. If journaling becomes a regular practice in a small group, it might be helpful for members to have their own journals that they bring to the meeting each week.
There are many ways journaling might be implemented in a small group. The way one group uses this practice may look completely different from how another group implements it. A leader needs to know the group members, use creativity, and let God and the Bible passage be the guides.