LifeWay is re-launching its most popular line of ongoing Bible study curriculum for use in churches beginning this Fall. My friend David Francis, Director of Sunday School at LifeWay, is serving as managing editor of the project. He answered a few questions about the new Bible Studies for Life.
Bob Mayfield: If we were on an elevator, and you had only a minute or two to tell me the most important things I needed to know about the new Bible Studies for Life, what would they be?
David Francis: That sounds like something you’d ask, Bob! I would tell you about the three promises we are making to churches about Bible Studies for Life. It will help churches connect the unconnected, strengthen families, and disciple people with wisdom. Each of those promises has scriptural inspiration. Connect the unconnected is inspired by the story of the woman at the well in John 4. We want groups to have spiritual conversations that lead to personal spiritual transformation. Deuteronomy 6:4 guides us in the promise to strengthen families. 1 Corinthians 3:10 challenges us to disciple people with wisdom. The passage that undergirds it all is John 10:10. And our Twitter handle says it most succinctly: @BibleMeetsLife. I think it’s time for to get off the elevator!
BM: OK! Let’s pretend I am a pastor and you are sitting in my office. I am a little skeptical. Can Bible Studies for Life really help us connect the unconnected?
DF: Not by itself! But it can sure help. The studies are compelling. They deal with real life issues. To help you communicate this, we are providing free promotional videos for each six-session unit of study. You can show it in the worship service and
make an appeal for people not connected to a group to get involved when the new study starts.
BM: Why six sessions?
DF: My friend Mark Howell, our small groups consultant for the series, jokes that if you ask an unconnected person to make a 13-week commitment, it sounds like a lifetime commitment! According to small groups pioneer Lyman Coleman, six weeks is perfect. It is short enough to commit to. It is long enough to start feeling connected. Plus, it is enough time to unpack a topic thoroughly and biblically.
BM: Most Sunday School classes meet 13 weeks each quarter. What do they do on the extra week?
DF: That’s up to them! Some may want to have fellowship and food. Others may want to plan a mission project to apply what they’ve learned. Most will want to do Bible study, so we will provide a special-focus session in every unit. In the Fall, it will be a lesson on Thanksgiving.
DF: I wrote a blog post about that recently outlining 7 ways. Here’s the link: http://blog.lifeway.com/biblestudiesforlife/7-ways-bible-studies-for-life-helps-strengthen-families
BM: Do you have any other agenda for Bible Studies for Life?
DF: You know me too well, Bob! Of course I do! My prayer is that it will become the catalyst that helps churches start thousands of new groups. Like maybe a thousand thousand! Bible Studies for Life will have lots of material that will satisfy the most veteran teacher. We will still offer the commentaries like Herschell Hobbs and Advanced Bible Study. But at the same time, it is so easy to use, a rookie leader can use it successfully to lead a satisfying, conversational, transformational group experience. The DVD-ROM in the leader packs will include a short video to help adult teachers and group leaders prepare—featuring the writer of the material. In fact, all some groups will need are the Personal Study Guides—or the iPhone app! The leader guides are intuitive and easy to use. Optional video resources are available for all age groups. I won’t be satisfied with the launch if churches don’t seize the opportunity to start lots of new groups.
New: LifeWay is hosting a webcast from 12:00 – 12:30 on May 8 entitled “Why Aren’t More People In Your Small Groups” with @RonnieFloyd @realericgeiger @pwilson and @RonEdmondson. The webcast will focus on connecting unconnected people, strengthening families, and discipling people with wisdom through small groups. View a video about the webcast by Ronnie Floyd here.
Register for this webcast on LifeWay’s site here.
Want to connect with David Francis, National Director of Sunday School at LifeWay? You can follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/1DavidFrancis
Feel free to ask David a question in the comments section below