Changes in Bible Studies For Life: Kids

land-1024x1017 I’ve heard it said, and I’m sure you have as well, that hindsight is 20/20. I think that we live and we learn. It’s easy to get caught up in the conundrum of life and forget to make sure that everyone is on the same playing field. So this is a post that probably should have come several months ago when everyone started using Bible Studies For Life: Kids and not now. But, again, hindsight is 20/20.


I wanted to take a chance to visually and verbally (through my writing) explain some of the changes to Bible Studies For Life: Kids curriculum. Also, I wanted to show you some of the many ways that it is the same as the Bible Teaching For Kids that you knew and loved.


Bible Studies For Life: Preschool



You can see from the chart above that the basic elements remained the same. The “Teacher Connection” actually became a more robust and full “Leader Bible Study.” The Bible Story and Group Time are still there, but they were moved from the end of the session to the beginning. This was done to give the teacher the ability to read the Bible story right along with the Leader Bible Study. It also, as one preschool leader described, “gave him the freedom to do Group Time at the beginning of the session so the learning activities became more applicable.”

We did make a major shift from calling activities “Learning Centers” to “Learning Activities,” however, the learning activities still list the appropriate center.

Some new optional activities to the material that weren’t seen previously are the Coloring Pages and the Life Action DVD. These are optional and are only intended to be used if you are comfortable with them. We didn’t cut content in order to include them.

The most major changes are the removal of dates and the One Conversation pages. Starting in the Spring 2014, you can find the dates on the Table of Contents and the Bible Stories will be back on the One Conversation pages. In the meantime, here is a link to a handy resource of dates and Bible Stories. The link also has extra activity ideas for every session!

As we have heard from our customers, we’ve heard requests for more crafts with preschool. We are in the process of adding more crafts.

Bible Studies for Life: Kids



In kids you will notice that the Personal Bible Study became the Leader Bible Study.

Preview has become Practice Bible Skills. The intent of preview was to be an Early Arriver activity, but with Practice Bible Skills, we hope that it can be used wherever you need a hole filled.  You will notice that there is an Optional Coloring Page listed as well. As with preschool, the intention is that this would be optional for churches that want to use them.

Power Up has become Introductory Activity. This activity has maintained the same approach and idea, we just thought it would be better to call it what it is.



Plug-In became Study the Bible. We left this section pretty much exactly the same. The Bible Study is the most important part (in my opinion) of the whole session. We wanted to devote time and energy to this section.



Personalize became Live It Out! We want kids to know how to live out the biblical principles that you have taught that day. It is so important that with kids you provide active and hands-on activities to get them to interact with the biblical content.

Some new optional activities to the material that weren’t seen previously are the Coloring Pages and the Life Action DVD. These are optional and are only intended to be used if you are comfortable with them. We didn’t cut content in order to include them.

The most major changes are the removal of dates and the One Conversation pages. Starting in the Spring 2014, you can find the dates on the Table of Contents and the Bible Stories will be back on the One Conversation pages. In the meantime, here is a link to a handy resource of dates and Bible Stories. The link also has extra activity ideas for every session!

I hope this clears up any confusion about the curriculum and I also hope that you find this post makes it a little easier.

Here are some training videos that really explain the changes well.





  1. Andrea Lyon says:

    Will the suggested dates be added to the Preschool classes Table of Contents as well? Or just to the elementary classes? Our church ended up making a separate sheet of paper to include with each preschool leader guide that lists the dates that they should teach the lessons just to keep everyone straight — it’d be a lot easier if the suggested dates were included in the preschool leader books they way they will apparently be with the elementary class. Thanks!

  2. Christy Compton says:

    Wow, I could have written several of the comments that I have been seeing myself. I particularly like the comment “what are you thinking”? All faith in LifeWay preschool curriculum has been flushed (excuse me!) I am one who came into my position asking that we use LifeWay. I am looking for another curriculum,

    • I’m sorry you have lost faith in us Christy. Could you offer specifics on the issues that you are having? We might have already addressed the concerns.

  3. Ann Ingram says:

    I agree with Christy. I have used Lifeway material for Sunday School in different age groups for over 40 years and this is the worst I have ever seen. Extra for Bible study Leaders for kids is non-existant. Today is December 2. The information on Extra is for November 24 Thanking God. If Extra is in a different location, it would be helpful if you would notify us. Have you heard the phrase “If it ain’t broke,don’t fix it”, I think that is what you did with the older Lifeway material. You jumped off a cliff with no parachute. If you thought your changes would help and increase sales,boy were you wrong. Now you really need to fix this mess. One thing I would try to do is be consistent. Some weeks you have several different ideas for applying the lesson. The nest week I find none. What are you doing?

  4. Gentlemen, I have no idea why you have reinvented yourself. I have been teaching out of this book for several years and now run the Children’s church for two years. This curriculum was so easy for me to separate for my teachers as I have different ones every week. Now I spend hours trying to figure out what they should be teaching in their packet for each week and where it is in the book. If do not simplify this, as it was before I will have to look elsewhere.

    I’ve always loved your curriculum. Please fix it.


    • Jeff Land says:

      Hi Barbara,

      What age group do you teach? I’m not sure how to respond to your question. For the kids ages, we have listed the packet items with the session that they are used for. We are adding that for the Preschool ages in the coming quarter.

  5. Last fall it felt like we were being pushed into the new Bible Studies for Life. All of our adults opted to stay with Explore the Bible mainly due to the format change. Then with the Students, Children and Preschool, we had no choice. It felt like Lifeway was “SELLING” and we just never thought that revenue and profit were the main jist of the SBC literature provider. But I guess that was then and this is now. Do our complaints go to the top or just stop in the tower in Nashville?

  6. After struggling for a year with the Gospel Project for preschool, we started using the BSL series this year. Although not up to the caliber of the discontinued BTK series, the material being used is much more appropriate. Although we wish the BTK was still an option, this series has a lot of potential, and hopefully soon be up to standards we came to expect from Lifeway. We are in an adult class that uses BSL, and use BSL kids Sunday nights with Hispanic children, as well as BSL kindergarten Sunday mornings. We have enjoyed the continuity between the different age groups, as well as the appropriateness for the age. We look forward to the continuing development of this series.

  7. Jane Hughes says:

    This is the only time some children come to church all year. Where are the stories explaining what we believe about the Christmas story–the prophets, the angels, the shepherds, Anna and Simeon, the Wise Men, etc.? I am ditching the stories about Peter that you had planned for December. What were you thinking? I can’t imagine only one Christmas story for the whole month. I always loved the broadly graded literature until now.

  8. Debi Mishoe says:

    Where is one supposed to find all of this information, it is not on the enhanced CD that I got, one person wrote that we should NOT have to go looking for the material that should be the standard for Christmas, I so agree…… we have ALWAYS taught the Christmas story for the month of December – all you can now say is that it will be there for next year – I normally prepare the entire month (now unit according to you all) for the bulletin board and bible verses, but for this current unit I was so frustrated that I only did the first Sunday, so I didn’t realize that the Christmas story had been deleted from this years materiel – and all I see as an explication is that it will be there for next year……the joy is totally gone…….

  9. Debi,
    We understand your frustration. My wife and I have been teaching preschool for approximately 12 years and appreciated the BTK literature. Our preschool program used the Gospel Project for kids literature last year. We were also extremely disillusioned with the Gospel Project literature and videos. It was not appropriate for preschool age. We also were questioning whether we could continue teaching, if we had to continue to use the GPK literature. We love our kids, so we we glad to be able to start using the BSL curriculum this year. Since it was to be a replacement for the BTK literature we had high expectations. Although not currently up to the standards we came to expect from BTK, we feel like it has good potential. Jeff seems to be listening to our concerns and comments. We hope that the program will soon develop into what we have come to expect from Lifeway.

  10. Thanks Jeff.

  11. Stephanie S says:

    I have been hearing from my teachers and it seems they are not pleased with the new curriculum. I wanted to give some feedback on some of the issues. I hope that these are just some glitches that can be fixed as soon as possible. Unfortunately it is causing us to look at alternative options. Here are some of the complaints:
    The activities are not age appropriate; 5-6th grade –too young and not deep enough, 1-2 grade—too difficult in activities, also heard this from Kindergarten teacher and the example she gave me was definitely true it did not match the age level in mental ability or drawing capability. The 3-4th grade seems to be more on coarse. These teachers are experienced and some are school teachers as well.
    The activities are lacking and forcing them to go hunting for more options from other sources like past literature. Some reasons are:
    There are not enough applicable options.
    The activities are not centered around the Bible story or scriptures instead focus too much on the life application or are just time fillers.
    They do not fit their age group.
    There is no continuity for the stories which jump around because of the nature of the curriculum. Sometimes even in reverse chronological order.
    Even though it saves you money the pictures reduced size are not suited to large group teaching.
    There is not as much expounding on the scripture with background information to give further insight into the story.
    I looked at a sight on line that showed the improvements for 2014 and I did not see any of these issues addressed. Whenever anyone complains they are passed off to do more searching through links etc. This curriculum is causing my teachers to put in much more prep time and searching for options which of coarse should be totally unnecessary in an all inclusive curriculum. A weak week or unit can occasionally be expected (although not desired) but week after week of frustration just shouldn’t be an option.
    I am very desirous of strong Biblical teaching. Therefore the more bible emphasis and scripture the better. Just like the VBS direction of cutting down on verses is totally disturbing to me, the same is true for Sunday school. The teachers can always cut back if they can’t fit it all in but the curriculum should not.
    Please tell me there are going to be changes in the content not just the structure of BSFL. I liked being able to have the children’s church and Sunday school cohesive and hope we will be able to continue using them both.

  12. Hi Debbie,

    Thanks for your comment. It is helpful. Please note that we do have Easter sessions available here:

    You will be happy to know that with Bible Studies For Life we are going to use some of the stories that we never used in BTfK like Jonah and David and Goliath. I’m not sure why it is more difficult to keep their attention through the story. We really didn’t change that format at all. Can you please explain more?

    We are working on the memory verse ordering system, so hopefully you will see some changes in that area soon.

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