When asked to share a few reasons why I will be using the newly redesigned Bible Studies For Life curriculum from LifeWay this fall, a number of things came to mind. However, after pondering on it for a while one number in particular kept coming into my head. That number is the number one.
In the 1991 film City Slickers, the Curly Washburn character played by Jack Palance asked the question, “Do you know what the secret of life is?” Holding up one finger he stated, “One thing, just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean nothing.” Here is a list of the “one things” that I believe set BSFL apart:
One Question – Each lesson begins with one question designed to engage every class member in discussion. The question is open ended and designed so that everyone from a seasoned Sunday School member to a new prospect can answer and be included in the discussion.
One Point – I have taught lessons that I am sure my class thought were pointless. That usually came from trying to teach too much in too little time. BSFL focuses on one point. This focus will enable me to communicate the one main point that my class members can walk away with and have it make a difference in their lives on Monday morning.
One Bible Passage – Each lesson will focus on one Bible passage. The light from a flashlight will reveal what is in the dark. Take light and concentrate it into a small beam and you create a laser capable of cutting metal or performing surgery. To me, moving from multiple passages to one Bible passage is like moving from a flashlight to a laser. This laser-like focus will allow our class to dig deeply into a section of Scripture to see how God wants to transform our lives.
One Conversation – The fact that BSFL covers that same concept across all age groups allows families to discuss what they learn. I look forward to being able to discuss each week’s concept with my high school and middle school children.
One Take Away – Each lesson ends with suggested actions for class members. I like to call these “Now Whats?” Now that we have studied one passage and understand the one point we are intended to learn, now what? What do we do with this information? My goal is to teach for transformation, not information. BSFL assists in giving us actions to take with the information we learn.
One New Unit – The lifeblood of growth of our LIFE Groups (what our church calls Sunday School) is starting new groups. One feature of the new BSFL I like is the ability to connect new people to Bible study groups as we start the six-session studies. I see this as a great help for our church as we start new units and continue to reach new people for Christ.
BSFL succeeds at being that one thing that will grab people’s attention, draw them into Bible study, and keep them in your small group ministry. I hope that my insights help you as you decided what curriculum is best for your Sunday School and/or small group ministry.
Marty Blakely serves as Sr. Associate Pastor of Third Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tenn. In addition to overseeing LIFE Groups, he also teaches teach a couples class. You can follow Marty on Twitter @3BCMarty.