Pressure Points Session 1: Intro Options for Women’s Groups

To complement your discussion of the introductory question, ask women to imagine they are the character in the following clip. In the movie Morning Glory, Rachel McAdams portrays a woman who has taken over the role of executive producer for a struggling morning talk show. This clip shows her at her first meeting on her first day in the new job.  Play the clip up to the point at which she says, “I’m sorry, I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

Pause the video, and ask, “As a mom, wife, and/or professional, can you relate to days like this? How do you handle it?” Allow for discussion, then play the rest of the clip. Continue with the lesson by directing group members to the point of the lesson on page 10 of the Personal Study Guide.

We want to hear from you! How are you introducing the topic of dealing with trials with the women in your class or small group?


  1. Mary Jane Gulley says:

    I am MOST disappointed in the new Adult bible studies.
    There Is NO real help, nor challenge in student or teacher material… and a lot of us are going to miss having so much at our fingertips, as was in the previous Bible Studies for Life … “Life Values” version materials… WE LOVED IT! AND couldn’t wait to see where you would lead us next, and how, and what you would challenge us to live it out in various parts of the studies.
    I feel as tho you are dumbing down the material…
    I feel as tho you assume that everyone is up to snuff on all the newfangled stuff … computers, DVD’s etc… and have nothing to do but HUNT for things during the day.
    Lots of people WORK outside the home… OR are just willing vessels that need much help to deliver a lesson & challenge to the people…
    My women were in awe every week by the Life Values material of Old and would even be excited to share with me something they gleened in their lesson…. were not actually in that age group but loved the material and God’s word applies to all no matter age.
    OH Well … ya just can’t build a better mousetrap or why try to fix something that wasn’t broke??? Is what I am wondering.. WHY such SIMPLE stuff?
    JUST one opinion of one senior with bad eyes trying to serve the Lord and his gals….. But I wanted you to know… tho not everyone will be out front with you… I surely will…. Sorry… IF I hurt your feelings Lifeway, OR offended ya… but get down in the ditches with the lowly, not well educated, volunteers of the huge So. Baptist convention… ask US ….
    One Size Does Not fit All….. If we don’t get them Reaching For the Lord and Reaching for the Stars they will never get off the ground. Well this fine, fine print is getting to me, and I’ve probably said more than I should have already…. And guess I will just have to live with the stuff and have NO idea what to do with it… or where to go…. OH LORD!
    (You must already be a year ahead right? LOL)

    • James Jackson says:

      Hello Mary Jane!
      Thanks so much for your feedback. We truly appreciate hearing from you, and I really hear you as someone who is trying her best to serve the women she leads. I passed on your comments to Karen Dockrey. Karen was the editor of the Life Values material, and she appreciated the affirmation of the work she did with that resource. But Karen is also the content editor of the Bible Studies for Life Adult resource. This means that Karen takes the sessions that have been written by leaders such as Robert Jeffress and other communicators, and works to adapt them for small group and class settings. So have faith that the same person that worked so hard to make Life Values the resource that it was is also working to make Bible Studies For Life: Adults a simple, relevant, thought provoking Bible Study resource.

      We know that not everyone has the time or the resources to make the most of the supplemental online resources. That is why we work to make sure you have everything you need in the printed teaching plan to succeed as a small group leader or class teacher. The extras we provide online are just that– extras. They may give a little icing on the cake, but we believe a group leader can lead an excellent session even if she never uses the extra material.

      You ask, “Why such simple stuff?” Great question. Our first goal with Bible Studies for Life is to “connect the unconnected.” We want to help people who are not connected to church at all; or people who come to worship but are not involved in a class or small group, to make those connections. For that reason, we seek to introduce every session with “simple” non-threatening questions, in order for everyone in the group to have a common ground starting point. From that point, we hope that every person in the group can unpack what the Bible has to say about the session topic together.

      You mention that you are a senior. Are you aware that there is a Senior Adult version of the material? If you like, I would be happy to send you some copies of that one. You may find it meets the needs of your group even better.

      We know that one size doesn’t fit all, and that no curriculum will ever be able to lead itself. It needs a teacher who, led by the Holy Spirit and aware of the needs of her own class or group, will use it to help her draw out the truths of God’s Word and lead her group to discover them for themselves. It sounds like you are committed to doing that for your ladies, and we are so grateful for that. You surely have not offended us or hurt our feelings! Please don’t hesitate to email or post back with questions, comments, or concerns. God bless, and thank you again.

  2. Patsy Hardister says:

    My evaluation of all components of materials beginning the Fall 2013 ADULT BIBLE STUDIES

    FOR LIFE is negative . I teach (guide) a group of Senior women who , for the most part, are

    very knowledgeable and responsive to our study time together. The current format and

    content of material in the PERSONAL STUDY GUIDE are elementary , wasteful and extremely

    disappointing to me . I do not intend to share my evaluation with them but to wait for them

    to share with me. As for resources to accompany the lessons, they, too, are beneath what is

    expected and certainly do not measure up for my personal use. There is just too much

    wasted and useless material. I am going to approach the material in such a way as not to

    reveal my feeling to the class and just anticipate their reaction. I am disappointed .

  3. Elaine Lee says:

    The senior adult ladies of my Tuesday afternoon Bible Study group just left my house after using Session 1 of the new Bible Studies for Life curriculum. We decided to start the fall material a week early because we’re going to miss one meeting in September, but didn’t want to miss any of the lessons.

    We are using the Senior Adult Bible Studies for Life. I was really a bit nervous about how I would plan/lead/use the material, but I shouldn’t have worried. My class members didn’t even get their new fall personal study guides until they arrived today, so we pretty much did the lesson together with Me sitting in the middle of the living room with both the Leader guide and the Student guide on my lap so I could lead the class through pages they hadn’t seen before.

    The first question, “What pressures squeeze the joy out of life?” created a discussion all of its own…..and yes…some laughter too. “Forgetful husbands; grandkids; adult children; health issues” , etc., etc..

    James 1:2 will become our memory verse for the 6-week study of Pressure Points.

    I used several YouTube videos about the Boston Marathon bombing and Jane Richard for the Current Events Conection. The videos brought back the recent memory of the event, but also brought to life the real trials the Richard family is facing. The Leader Extra (Pressure Points Session 1: Current Events Connection), was a welcome tool not only to bring on a discussion about the trials the family is facing, but also about the joy little Jane demonstrates as she trusts God to make possible her being able to live an active life with only one leg.

    I like to use PowerPoint presentations when leading Bible Study. I would really like to see some created for use with these lessons….not only would it save me time by not having to create them, but I always am interested in other’s ideas on how to present a topic, an idea, or the lesson itself.

    So, I think my class is off to a good start with the new material. Time will tell. I really appreciate being able to communicate with you and be able to voice any concerns I might have as we go forward.

    God Bless!

    P.S. to Mary Jane: Ask God to help you know “what to do with it and where to go with it”…he wants us to depend on Him for the answers we don’t have ourselves. (I had to ask them that very same thing myself…. Love, Elaine.)

    • James Jackson says:

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Elaine! It sounds like you are going to have a great time with the ladies in your group. We are praying they continue to respond well. As for PowerPoint, that may be something we are able to provide in the future. We always want to do all we can to set you guys up for success as you lead your groups.

  4. sue rinehart says:

    I volunteered to teach starting in September 2013 because the previous lessons were so interesting…if I had known what was coming, I would not have volunteered. Computers and dvds do not work for me and for my class. Hardly anyone has one and no one including me knows much about them. Please “bookmark” what is that? Three sessions are free…after that is there a charge? My husband used to be able to get the extra helps for me occasionally on your web page…now that is not available. Thanks for nothing Lifeway.

    • James Jackson says:

      Hello Sue– Thanks for your comment. I hear your frustration, and I’m sorry you are struggling with the format. However, please know that all of the online resources are extra helps. They can enhance the sessions, but the sessions will stand on their own even if you never get anywhere near a computer. You are correct– we offered three preview sessions so people could sample the material. There is a cost for the leader guides and personal study guides. However, when you add it up, the cost to equip a small group of ten people with two leaders for 13 weeks is around 34 cents per person per session. When you compare that to other curriculum lines, you will find that is significantly lower than almost anything else out there. Finally, there are actually more extra helps with the new format than there were with the previous design. From this blog page, simply click on the “Leader Extras” tab. I hope this helps. God’s blessings on you as you respond to His call to lead a group this year.

  5. shirley lawler says:

    I’m very disappointed in the new material. My class is mature christians(women) 80and up. I really don’t know how I’ m going to handle the material Sunday.

    • James Jackson says:

      Shirley, have you looked at Advanced Bible Commentary? It follows the same Scripture and theme as Bible Studies For Life, but goes deeper into the Scripture. If you want to email me your mailing address ( I’ll be happy to send you a sample to see if this would be a solution for your group. Blessings.

  6. Judy Nelson says:

    I am very disappointed in the new material, also. I teach a Ladies’ class, ranging in ages from 33-90. They have become avid studiers through the SS materials. They are very upset with the lack of Bible material in the new quarter. They want meat! My leader guide provides commentary–their student guide gives nothing. I desperately want to keep them on the path of putting in the Bible study time each week. I am afraid that three months of this will obliterate those wonderful habits!

  7. Betty Bell says:

    After teaching for 55 years with a wide variety of Broadman Press and Lifeway products, I now feel totally abandoned! For years I have used the learner’s guide, the teacher’s guide, Advanced Bible Study, Hobbs, Biblical Illustrator CD, and the CD in the teaching packet as resources. My class used Life Values and the teacher’s guide had two alternative session suggestions in addition to the commentary (which was NOT a duplicate of the learner’s commentary). I also researched each week the teaching suggestions on the packet CD for Life Truths and Life Ventures. Therefore, in addition to a wealth of Biblical insight materials, I also had access to at least four alternative session guides, each with several insightful questions. The Holy Spirit would always help me to choose the questions from among all of those alternatives that would be most helpful to the members of my group of learners to aid Him in applying the Bible truths to their individual lives.
    Now, Advanced and Hobbs still help me refresh in my mind the truths of the passage, but there are NO meaningful questions other than those in the learner’s guide. The material on the CD in the packet is basically a repeat of what is in the learner’s and teacher’s guides.
    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, provide us with more help, especially more alternative meaningful, insightful questions. You answered Mary Jane’s comments about the new material being too simple by saying it is intentionally so to “connect the unconnected” and that is great as far as it goes, but Paul berated those who should be on the “meat” of the Word but were still on the “milk”. I have ladies who come into my class who are the mothers of children who ride our bus and don’t own a Bible until I give them on. But we also have many who have been Christians for years and need challenges on a much deeper level. Trust the Holy Spirit to guide us as teachers to select material appropriate for those who will be in the discussion BUT GIVE US LOTS (AND LOTS AND LOTS) of alternative questions to use in guiding those discussions.

    • James Jackson says:

      Hello Betty– Thanks for the critique. We value all the comments, even the critical ones. I want you to know that none of the supplemental materials you referenced– Advanced Bible Study, Hobbs, or Biblical Illustrator– have gone away. They are all still here, and hopefully as useful as always.

      In terms of the meaningful questions, I can speak to that somewhat. As the editor of Life Truths, my philosophy had been to fill up the Leader Guide with tons of discussion questions. I thought, “Give the teacher more tools in her toolbox. She will highlight the ones that work for her class, and discard the rest.” However, I actually received a lot of negative feedback with that format, ranging from, “How do you expect me to ask all these questions in 45 minutes (or 30, or sometimes even 20),” to “These are all great questions, and I don’t know which to cut, so I just ask them all, and we never even get to the second point.”

      So our goal for the redesigned Bible Studies for Life was to develop five GREAT questions that would help groups really go deep into the application of the material to their lives. We realize that it cuts down on the margin for error– if a question bombs, what’s your back-up plan? But at the same time, we’ve spent much more time as a team making sure those questions are bomb-proof. Hopefully, you will see result in your small group each week.

      You are exactly right that the material on the CD is a repeat of what is in the Leader Guide. It always has been. If you are someone who likes to have a pdf of the session that you can transfer to your iPad, we provide one. If you would rather be able to edit the session itself, adding questions, modifying activities, increasing the font size, etc., we also provide it in an RTF file so you can modify it in a way that suits you and your teaching style.

      If after all that, you feel that Bible Studies for Life is simply too geared toward life application, and your group needs more meat, then I would invite you to try one of our other curriculum lines– either Explore the Bible or The Gospel Project. You can watch this short video that explains the differences, and if you like, you can email me your mailing address and I can send you some samples of them.

      I hope this helps, Betty. Again, thank you for your comments.

  8. Debbie Perry says:

    I had been using the Life Ventures – for Seniors. Ladies in my group are older – YOUNGEST is in her 80’s. The material was wonderful. The women could relate, now, not so much. Comments have been: why is thing so big? Does it have to be like a book, not a qtrly? I AM USING the Senior Adult versions of this material & I have to agree w/the others – we are disappointed. I have told them we will try it for a qtr – to give it a fair review. If we decide to go to other material, for the 1st time in 30+ years, I feel we might have to look at other materials that are not LifeWay because the LW Ventures was such an excellent fit for these women. Change IS NOT something they do well, I promoted the LW Ventures for a long time b4 they would try it. Once they did, they LOVED it. Now that they have used it for a few qtrs, they are disappointed that the material they enjoyed so much is gone. Senior Adult women need something that makes them feel they have not been shelved, that they can still be valuable. They are wanting a SS lesson that tells them how to live & be useful even though they can’t do all the physical things they once did. I realize these ladies are a small portion of the group you are trying to reach. None of them own computers or have a desire to. They come from a different era. The stories used to open the lesson resonated w/them. These are now missing as well. Maybe next time you want to revamp the material you might try a BROAD spectrum to beta test it 1st. It would be nice if this new material had been an option instead of a replacement.

  9. I have to confess that I have never felt that our average Sunday School lesson was deep enough. Then our material had a fresh make-over, and I thoroughly enjoyed the quarter we spent in the book of James. Those lessons were deep, profound, and a great learning experience. Since then, however, our lessons once again have become shallow, lukewarm, and unchallenging. I teach the oldest women in our church, and they have become far too self-satisfied and they never take much interest and they participate not at all. I, on the other hand, am an enthusiastic student and teacher both, and need more than our average Sunday School lesson provides. I’ve stared at the tip of the iceberg long enough, folks! I want to examine what lies beneath the surface. I need soul-deep, mind-engaging lessons that take a fresh approach to an old subject. My students are all saved; I feel as confident about that as anyone can be. They’ve worshiped and served in church all their lives, and have reached that point in life where they just want to be calm and complacent which is the polar opposite of what we all need. I am disappointed in both the Sunday School lessons and the Discipleship Lessons; they are extremely PRIMARY! Adults need to be treated as adults; we need to be strongly challenged with every lesson both on a deep, personal level, and on a corporate level. I don’t want or need lessons that just skim the surface quickly and move on without even creating a ripple. I want and need lessons that cause a major disturbance on every emotional level!!!! We are at a time in history and in our nation when drastic measures are called for – even in the church. Give us lessons that boldly confront us and challenge us on every level, and that engage our minds thoroughly from beginning to end. I begin my week by reading both the student and teacher’s lessons, but then I take my Bible and my laptop, and I acquire more and better information from online searching than I ever get from the lesson material. Now that we are in Romans, my job is even harder because teaching salvation lessons to a group of senior, saved – but apathetic – women is challenging indeed. I strive hard to give them information that is fresh, engaging, and heart-challenging, too. The one thing that I’ve learned about my class is that while they are truly born again, they are sadly lacking in the area of submission to Biblical principles as the ruling standard for all their personal life choices. They also are extremely prickly about soul-winning issues, and about sharing their own salvation testimonies. They are an enigma wrapped in a mystery, and I need lessons that will rock their world, and get them to think deep and do some honest personal evaluation. If ever there was a time in church history that we need to stop dealing out sweet and gentle lessons that are easy to swallow and forget, it is now!! Give us soul-wrenching, heart-piercing, mind engaging lessons that cling to our minds and hearts long after we have left the classroom.

    • From Karen Dockrey, Content Editor:

      Bettie, We are DELIGHTED that you are and enthusiastic leader who learns along with her group members, and lives what she learns. You are so right that participation is very important to learning. Three elements might help:
      * Add the Hobbs and Advanced Bible commentaries to your study. Hobbs is geared toward the leader and Advanced toward the group member. Many adult classes use Advanced in place of the the regular personal study guide.
      * Use the Live It Outs at the end of every Bible study, prompting your members to choose one and then share the next week how they lived out the challenge they chose. You might even ask them to write their own Live It Out statement in the Notes section of their Personal Study Guide. As they challenge one another, they will grow.
      * Never answer your own question. As a group leader this is challenging! But as we leaders give our group members time to think through a question, they will amaze us with their Bible understanding and insight. I’ve heard to count to 10 while you wait, but I sometimes have to count to 100 to hold myself back from answering. Your group will learn that you truly want their insights and will grow in living for our Savior.

      Again, THANK YOU for investing in Bible study!!

  10. hello…. we are in our second quarter of using bible studies for life material… I have always taught the youth but have moved over to the women’s and really like this material because it makes it very easy to teach but I do have one problem with it… you give many articles and music for each lesson in the two studies but for the special focus studies there has only been one article and no music lined up… I am a mom with two kids where one is in middle school football and the other in high school football and I’m a full time college student so my time to study and prepare for my lessons are very limited so to have to find music that will go along with the special focus lessons takes alot of time and I usually don’t do it but the music for my class really seems to help…could you possibly look into this!

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