For the past few weeks, my son and I have been working on his Pinewood Derby car for Scouts. I actually bought a book on how to build a better car (yeah, I’m that Dad!). Each chapter is divided into three sections: Winning, Champion, and Ultimate. So if we want to work on a winning design, we follow some basic steps. If we want a champion design, we follow a few more. And if we want an ultimate design, we follow even more steps–one of which, apparently, is obtaining an engineering degree from M.I.T.!
One of the exciting things about the new Bible Studies for Life is that it allows churches to think on those same levels. Let’s apply those categories to the overall plan a church has for moving her people to spiritual maturity.
The Winning Plan: Adult small groups use the Bible Studies for Life materials. They see how the Bible addresses their life needs. And with four versions of the material—Young Adult, Adult, Senior Adult, and KJV—every adult in your church will find relevant Bible study. Plus, each week, leaders can search the blog for custom options designed to tailor-fit the lesson to the kind of group they are leading, such as men’s groups, women’s groups, parents, singles, and Boomers. Adults who are unconnected to small groups are geting connected. Leaders feel prepared and equipped. Rather than trying to squeeze in multiple points, they are laser focused on one point. Adults aren’t just learning and leaving it at church. They are learning and living it at home.
The Champion Plan: Not only are adult small groups all on the same page, but so are their kids. In children’s classes, kids are studying Bible Studies for Life: Kids. In the youth area, high schoolers and middle schoolers are using Bible Studies For Life: Student. There is tremendous value in every family member studying the same themes. What a great opportunity for discussion throughout the week when every member of the family is learning about, say, “The Pressure of Temptation” on his or her own level! Not to mention that twice a year all groups will be studying not just the same themes, but the same Scripture passages as well.
We want to make it easy for families to have conversations about what they are learning in their groups. Every week, a One Conversation sheet will be handed out in all children’s classes. Or, if you just have teenagers (or your groups meet off campus) you can get a black and white version of the One Conversation right here on the blog each week.
The Ultimate Plan: When Bible Studies for Life launches, pastors will be able to download sermon outlines that will complement every small group session. There will be two sets of outlines for each unit: a theme based outline, which will cover the same topics being dealt with in small groups but use different Scriptures, and a scripture based outline, which will use the same Scriptures. Pastors will find that when sermons are supporting what is happening in Bible study groups (and vice versa) that the door between small groups and the worship service will suddenly swing both ways: people who come to small groups will stay for worship, and people who are in worship but are unconnected to a small group will get connected. A pastor may choose to only preach the same theme during the twice-a-year campaign units (which is why we will offer three sets of outlines for those outlines, instead of just two). Or, he may find he likes this approach so much, he chooses to use it year-round.
Regardless of how deep a church decides to jump in with the new Bible Studies for Life, we believe we can help the Bride of Christ disciple her members with wisdom. That’s one of the promises we are making with these studies.