By Sam O’Neal
Note: this is the final post in a series on the different features of Bible Studies for Life that make it ideally suited for group learning and transformation. Here are the previous entries:
For decades now, churches have had two primary options for engaging in community-based discipleship: Sunday school and small groups. There are similarities and differences to each approach, and I certainly wouldn’t volunteer to claim that one method is inherently better than the other. Both have worked, and both are working now.
However, the presence and effectiveness of two options for group discipleship has often posed a problem for curriculum publishers: how to produce small-group material that works in a Sunday-school environment, and vice versa. Unfortunately, most publishers have side-stepped the problem by simply creating two separate lines of Bible studies and curriculum options — one for small groups, and another for Sunday school.
This has put pressure on churches and groups, which are then required to sift through multiple curriculum options for each discipleship environment.
Fortunately, Bible Studies for Life can help relieve that pressure.
Ongoing and Short-Term
With Bible Studies for Life, LifeWay has produced a discipleship curriculum that is ideally suited for both small groups and Sunday school. On the one hand, churches have the option of receiving Bible Studies for Life material on a quarterly basis — which means Bible studies are provided each week on a continuing basis. This is a traditional Sundayschool approach — or, what we refer to as “ongoing” material in LifeWay lingo.
It’s also important to point out that the ongoing resources for Bible Studies for Life are specifically crafted for a number of demographics, including: adults, students, kids, and senior adults.
On the other hand, we also break down each quarter of material into individual six-week studies that are ideally suited for small groups — we refer to these as “short term” resources. These studies are archived and remain current. Meaning, any church or group can access each study at any point in the calendar year.
Flexible for All Kinds of Groups
In my early days as a small-group leader, I hated choosing material for my group. Hated it! We had to have a whole group meeting dedicated to discussing (arguing about) which Bible study we would use next. Then I had to go to a bookstore and track down 10 copies of that study. Worst of all, I had to keep nagging my group members for weeks to pay me back for their copy.
That’s why I would have been astounded by the ongoing option for Bible Studies for Life. You mean I get a high-quality Bible study sent to the church each and every quarter? I would have loved that! No more obsessing over which book to study next. No more tracking down multiple copies from different bookstores. It would have been so easy!
All that to say, don’t assume that the “ongoing” option of Bible Studies for Life is for Sunday school, and the “short term” option is strictly for groups. We’ve intentionally set up our resources so they can meet your specific needs as a group leader.
Similarly, Bible Studies for Life also includes a number of Bible translations in order to match your preferences. Truly, the BSFL experience is flexible enough for all kinds of groups — including yours.
Sam O’Neal is Content Editor of adult resources with Bible Studies for Life. He has a passion for seeing discipleship and full-bodied Christian education done right in the local church. The author of several books, including The Field Guide for Small Group Leaders, Sam also serves as the Bible Expert for About.com.