Home Study Group

Small groups may choose a book that everyone reads in advance of a discussion group in a private home. A study group is best for people who have already participated in interfaith events which are primarily social, such as a home dinner group. An experienced moderator is key to assuring an energetic discussion which includes all present, as well as preventing misunderstandings or conflict. Here is a discussion guide if you are talking about something like Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong

Several free online invitation systems help you to create a guest list, send formatted invitations, and track RSVPs, e.g., Evite or Punchbowl.  A good size for a study group is 6-10 participants, including a moderator.

3 months out

Choose date, time and location.
Assemble committee or other volunteers who will plan and coordinate the event.
Confirm host and location.
Determine event format and desired book or other material for discussion.

2 months out

Make guest list.
Create study group invitation; ask for RSVP.
Invite guests: phone call to each is best, follow-up with small postcard or email.
Check availability of book/materials, include in invitation.

2 weeks out

Phone or email reminder to guests, including those who have RSVPd that they will attend.
1 week out Email confirmed guests to thank them for responding, give directions again.

Day of study

Set out name tags and pens.
If needed, turn on front porch light. You may want to put a small sign on your door welcoming guests, so they are sure they are at the right place.
Greet each person or couple as they arrive, introduce them to others.
Group Format [*Again, can we create training materials for moderators, or does anyone know of an existing resource we can use?]

Day After

Review event and make notes about what worked, what didn’t work, what was inspiring or memorable, and recommendations for others. Send any needed thank-you notes right away. Share photos with others as appropriate, including any web site you have used to organize and promote the dinner.

Download Home Study Group Worksheet

Suggested books or study topics:

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong

Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution by Diana Butler Bass

Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America by Eboo Patel

God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World by Stephen Prothero

Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong

Interfaith Leadership: A Primer by Eboo Patel