Pressure Points Session 6: Discussion Option for Boomers

retaliation

Ask group members to read the story about Carl Ericcson on PSG p.60 (first paragraph).  Brainstorm other ways that adults are known to retaliate against other adults when they feel wronged.  Expand the discussion by asking group members to describe a situation in which one of their own children were involved in an act of retaliation (either the aggressor or the recipient) and how they as parents felt and what they did when they learned about it.

Background: Man gets life sentence in 50-year-old grudge killing (USA Today)

Ask, “When the Bible says ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ (Mt. 5:8) how do we  square that against the need to be patient when someone wrongs us? (HCSB Study Bible note:  “Jesus explained that eye for an eye…was given not as a mandate for personal vengeance but as a principle to guide courts in determining appropriate punishments.”

We want to hear from you! Share your thoughts on communicating the truths of this session with the Boomers in your group. 

Comments

  1. Blaine Little says:

    Where to begin!
    I have been filling in from time to time in my adult sunday school class, as has another member of our class. For the past couple years, the regular teacher has been tending to his wife who is suffering from cancer. Occasionally, he gets to teach, but it is mostly me and one or two other guys who step up to the plate. The class itself has been going strong for over 20 years.
    Having the benefit of teaching the old material (Life Truths), as well as the youth counterpart, I feel I can accurately express some of the challenges of making the switch to “Bible Studies for Life”. At the rrisk of sounding like I am someone who is simply resistant to change, CAN WE JUST GO BACK TO “LIFE MATTERS”? Nothing was wrong with the old material.
    Though I do like the topics in the new material, that is honestly all I like about it. Here are my issues with the new guides:

    -There’s not a lot of “meat on the bones” with the material, it seems a bit “dumbed down”. I’m doing good to get a 30 minute class out of it. Considering I take a little over 2 hours preparing, that’s not a good return.
    -I went from over 20 questions to incorperate in my lesson plan to 5. FIVE! I’m a lay member of the Church, I NEED those questions.
    -The personal study guide does not divide the scripture by sections. The class has to flip back and forth.
    -The last page of the learners guide is blank. We pass around a prayer list and make copies or send out a pdf. People don’t use the issues to journalize.
    -Life Matters, or Life Truths, or whatever, allowed me to go in one of half a dozen different directions with where I lead the lesson. Not so with the new stuff, it is very narrow in scope. I allow the Holy Spirit leads me in one particualr direction.
    -I don’t like the BOUND books, they don’t fit in my Bible – petty, but it’s an issue.
    -The little clocks don’t help, we have 75 minute classes.
    -The instructor guide does not show pictures of the learner guide page, so I have to prepare going back and forth between the two.
    -No dates on the lessons? Apparently it’s too expensive to ship the old books to Africa, so put the dates back on.
    -A month is plenty of time for each section. 6 weeks is beating a dead horse, we’re ready to move on.
    Sorry my rant comes on “Conflict” week, but seriously, something has to be done. This just isn’t quality. Every instructor in my class feels the same as I.
    Blaine Little 615-513-6443
    P.S. – I’m not that crazy about the “Gospel Project” either.

    • James Jackson says:

      Hello Blaine! Thank you so much for your critique. We value every comment, even the negative ones, so we really do appreciate your comments. We realize that not everyone is going to like the changes we’ve made. That is true for pretty much anything you redesign. But I can honestly say that for virtually every aspect of the redesign you don’t like, we’ve had several more people saying they really love that feature. Many of the features we incorporated, such as fewer discussion questions, bound books, and the “little clock” were in direct response to what we were hearing from customers. I was the editor for LifeTruths, and I can tell you firsthand that I got several complaints that we had too many discussion questions. “How in the world do you expect me to cover all this, when we only have about 30-40 minutes of teaching time?” was a typical refrain.

      Many of the changes you reference have to do with the core purposes of the material. Our number one goal is to connect the unconnected: to help churches get people who have not been involved in small groups to become involved. Whether your church calls them Sunday School classes or small groups, we know that there is a pretty wide gap between worship attendance and small group attendance. Many of those who are not part of a small group are new Christians and non-Christians. We want to help close that gap. So while the material is deeply rooted in Scripture, we move pretty quickly from “this is what the Bible says and means” to “let’s talk about the difference this makes in your life.” For groups that are accustomed to a lot of heavy exegesis without a lot of application, it may come across as “dumbed down.” But information without application leads to stagnation.

      We made the decision early on that these would be “one point” sessions. Again, this was in response to what we were hearing from users who said they never had time to get through three points. Therefore, we put all the Scripture on one page, in order to reinforce that we were making one point, not three. While we know that this is making group members flip back and forth, we are also hearing from people who are happy that the change is causing people in their groups to follow along in their Bibles rather than in a lesson book. There’s been a contingent that has wished we would remove the Scripture from the books altogether, in order to get their group members into the Word. So, the decision to put the entire passage on one page hopefully finds some middle ground between those groups.

      As to dates on the sessions, this is a nod to the small group audience that doesn’t always follow the calendar that Sunday School classes do. However, I can also say that I have been part of “traditional” Sunday School class all my life, and nobody hits every date for every session 100% of the time. Sometimes discussion goes longer and you continue a session over two weeks. Sometimes groups do something special on fifth Sundays. Whatever the reasons, I am now part of a class in which the teacher has simply learned to say “We’re on Session 4 on page 56″ instead of “We’re on September 29.” It took a little getting used to, but it’s been a pretty easy adjustment.

      I hope this helps. I know it doesn’t answer every question, and you may still decide Bible Studies For Life isn’t for you or for your class. And that’s ok too. But hopefully you at least have an idea of why we made the changes we did. Thank you again for the comment.

  2. charles jinkerson says:

    It is 9-29-13 and i am looking for session 5 information. all i can find is for session 6. am i looking in the wrong place? thank you.

    • James Jackson says:

      Hi Charles! There’s a few different ways to get to what you are looking for. The easiest is to type “Pressure Points Session 5″ into the search bar. Use the quotes to get better results. Blessings!

  3. Bruce Rector says:

    Hi James,
    I appreciate LifeWay’s desire to “hear us”. Many improvements have come as a result of that over the years. Our class tends to agree with what Blaine was sharing in his comments. We also really miss the focus toward us boomers in the lesson material and illustrations in the student book. I have always been taught that the material you send to us is a commentary suggestion. The Bible is the source of the studies. However, I would appreciate more levels of spiritual resources or options tailored to the boomers for us to build our weekly studies around. Please remember the saying “One Size Doesn’t Fit All”. Again, we really do appreciate what LifeWay provides. I am and will continue to be very loyal to what LifeWay provides as resources.

    • James Jackson says:

      Bruce, thank you for the comments, and for the spirt in which you made them. We are very aware that one size doesn’t fit all. I know this is all “corporate talk,” but there are two aspects of our vision and values that really remind me of this. One is our tagline: “Biblical solutions (not solution) for life. We know that all groups are not the same. If Bible Studies For Life does not meet the needs of your group, then perhaps The Gospel Project or Explore the Bible will. This video does a really effective job of communicating the differences between our main lines of curriculum: http://www.lifeway.com/n/ongoing-bible-study.

      The other part of our vision statement that resonates with me is that “We will serve churches in their mission of making disciples.” When I first heard it, I thought it should have been “serve the Church in it’s mission…” But as it was explained to me, we wanted to always be reminded that every church is different. Thus, the lower case c.

      All that to say, we want to do all we can to help you make disciples. My piece of that puzzle is helping provide the online supplemental resources. You mention additional helps for boomers, and the fact that you are commenting on this particular post tells me you know where they are and how to find them. Can you help me know how they could be even more helpful? If you would prefer to email me directly, feel free to do so at james.jackson@lifeway.com. Blessings, and thanks again.

  4. Jerel Wade says:

    I appreciate Lifeway listening to the people using its curriculum for Sunday School. I was Sunday School director for about 6 years before taking the role as teacher. This is my first experience teaching an adult Sunday school class week to week. I’ve taught children and youth in the past and filled in with adults.

    I think the change to Bible Studies for Life is excellent. There are so many resources available to me that if forces me to take time early in the week to look through everything to get my mind wrapped around what needs to be taught to my class. It forces me to not just teach a lesson (…lean not on my own understanding), but to experience the lesson and simply relay that to the class (Trust in the Lord with all my heart…). My class has expressed their appreciation for the new format and the way it helps apply Biblical truths to their everyday life.

    I teach a class of adults in their late twenties to early forties. They want to know the answers to two basic questions for each lessons, “What does the Bible truly say about the topic,” and “How does that affect my life everyday.” Bible Studies for Life helps me to help them answer those questions.

    I love it! Thanks for all the hard work that has gone into putting this together. I understand it may not be for everyone. But, for me and the class I teach, it is spot on.

    Jerel

    • James Jackson says:

      Thanks, Jerel, for your comments. So glad the resource is meeting the needs of the people in your group!

  5. Dianne Martins says:

    We are doing well with the new Bible Studies for Life material. We are a small class of older ladies (55 – 75 years old) who love the Lord and love Bible study. We share our life concerns, and we have been blessed by the study of the book of James. It was written in the first century, but it is so twenty-first century! The book of James contains at least 6 months worth of Sunday School material. The Bible is always our source of truth, and all lessons revolve around what the Bible in the lesson passage, the Old Testament, the New Testament and especially the teachings of Jesus say about The Point of the lesson.

    The questions and activities are primarily for each member to use in preparation for class time on Sunday morning. They are then addressed in class as needed during our Bible study time. Because there are so many resources and so much material to consider, it is essential that all preparation be undertaken with prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirt in order to meet the needs of our class members where we are right now in our lives.

    Thank you for your commitment, time and effects to “serve churches in their mission of making disciples”.

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