4 Ways to Increase Engagement with your Sermon Discussion Guides

March 1, 2024
How To

Thousands of churches write, compile, and deliver a sermon discussion guide almost every week.

And it’s a good thing they do! Sermon Discussion Guides are a powerful way to help your congregation further explore and apply what they learned on Sunday as a group or family.

But even if you’re writing high quality questions and tips, there are other elements of your Guides that may be hindering engagement, frustrating leaders, and wasting your precious time.

Format, delivery method, and accessibility all make a difference. We don’t want anything standing in the way of someone truly integrating the message into their everyday lives.

And as technology advances, our congregations will continue to unconsciously expect certain levels of excellence that can be hard to deliver on your own.

So if you’re ready to upgrade your Sermon Discussion Guides, we’ve got the plan and the tools you need right here.

1. Make It Easy to Find

Accessibility is key when it comes to ensuring that your congregation can easily access the sermon discussion guides.

Many churches unknowingly complicate this process, be it through convoluted links, buried PDFs in emails, or unshared Google Drive folders.

A hard-to-find sermon discussion guide can frustrate group leaders, erode trust in the church's organizational competence, and stop group members from preparing beforehand or engaging personally.

The upgrade is simple: create an easily accessible “home base” for every sermon discussion guide. Make sure it can be found by anyone, especially the tech-averse types.

This is we made sure Tether could create an all-inclusive centralized hub for your Sermon Discussion Guides. Your unique link can be integrated into an existing church app and your website.

And by committing to the most user-friendly design and layout, Tether ensures that every guide is readily recognizable and navigable.

This seamless experience fosters familiarity and makes it effortless for congregants to find the materials they need without asking for help.

2. Make It Easy to Read

A common pitfall with sermon discussion guides is information overload.

In an effort to give groups as much material as they could ever need, churches sometimes include lengthy intros with new ideas and complicated questions.

Easy-to-read Discussion Guides begin with writing simpler content. Instead of saying everything, focus on the fewest, most poignant words that can spark conversations. Less is more, because it will get people talking more quickly.

You can also make sure you’re aiming for a 6th-8th grade writing level — not because people aren’t smart, but because you want them to process and apply the information as quickly as possible on the spot!

But it doesn’t stop at the way you write: format matters, too. Messy, visually complex guides can overwhelm group leaders and members so much that they end up only reading the highlights. Design is a learned skill, and it’s not as easy as you might think — and it often adds lots of administrative time to truly dial in a guide design on your own.

That’s why in Tether, we help you break down discussion guides into concise, digestible sections that feel refreshing to navigate.

Tether Discussion Guides are also always mobile-friendly and optimized for readability. They’re broken up into an easy-to-understand step format that’s perfect for mobile or desktop, but it doesn’t stop there.

Tether will also provide everyone an automatically generated PDF of every Discussion Guide that’s beautifully laid out, leaves space to write, and is ready to print (for that small contingent that still loves paper!)

3. Provide Multiple Delivery Options

Every congregant is unique, and their preferences for receiving notifications and accessing materials vary. And we’ve all heard the people that are actually frustrated (or sometimes offended) when you communicate in the way they don’t prefer.

This customized notification process can feel completely unachievable. And honestly, it is far too much of an administrative burden if you try to manage it manually. Ever-changing lists, new people, and cobbled-together email and text tools would take far too much time to feel worth it.

That’s why we made sure Tether could do this automatically on your behalf. People can easily choose their notification preferences (email, SMS, or push) and update them whenever they want.

All you have to is publish your Sermon Discussion Guide, and Tether will automatically deliver it via every single person’s preferred channel.

That means you’re doing less work than ever, but providing a tailored and personal experience for every person you serve.

4. Make It Interactive and Relational

This may sound impossible. How can a static list of questions and notes be interactive and relational?

And you’re right — aside from a wild-west Facebook Group, delivering your discussion guide in group texts, or hoping everyone will hang out on a blog post’s comments section, this is beyond the scope of a normal Sermon Discussion Guide.

That’s where Tether comes in.

Tether was designed with engagement and relationships in mind. Everything you create in Tether can move beyond the personal, into the practical and relational.

Using short answer or multiple choice questions and Tether groups, your groups can engage instead of passively consuming content. They can even make meaningful connections outside of the group meeting.

We all know that friendships are started in group, but strengthened in our everyday lives. Tether provides a natural bridge between the two spaces that’s focused on what matters most.

Whatever your vision, Tether can power it.

Get more engagement and provide personalized next steps for everyone in your community. Deliver content, upload resources, host groups and more with Tether.

Integrates with your website or app

"For those of us who want to see technology serve and support the church...Tether is a hugely exciting development."

Andy Crouch
Author and Speaker

“Tether is a tool that helps Christian organizations redirect our attention back to what truly matters in our lives"

Curt Thompson
Psychiatrist and Author