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– We wanna welcome everybody to a time of curriculum update. We have our friends from Lifeway Christian Resources on, and today we’re going to look specifically at the three adult curriculum lines that are available for you. And we hope this will educate you, not only on the curriculum lines themselves, but what’s new and available for you as you make your curriculum choices heading into this August when we all will be trying our best to relaunch Sunday school and build it back for God’s glory. And so we’re delighted to have… I know these guys and they are friends of mine, and I’m just gonna start by introducing you to Ken Braddy. And Ken, I’m gonna let you take it from there and begin the introductions and help us understand what we need to about Lifeway adult curriculum.
– Absolutely, Daniel, thank you for having us and it’s good to be with Alabama Baptists. Thank you for letting us partner with you and your churches in the area of adult curriculum. I happen to lead the team at Lifeway that does the hard work of putting together the curriculum that your church has used. The fellows that are with me today are the true heroes in our curriculum development and production. These are the guys that are really in the weeds and lead the teams that do the actual physical work of creating and editing the products that you use. We’re very proud that God has allowed Lifeway to have an influence in our Southern Baptist Convention and around 3 million people a weekend between all three curriculum lines and a few others use our materials, and so we’re thankful for the partnership. You don’t have to do that but we’re thankful that you do and that you trust us, and we always want to produce things that are trustworthy right in line with our Baptist faith and message. And we’re thrilled that you will get a deeper look at the curriculum options that you’ve got. So, with me today are Lynn Pryor, Dwayne McCrary and Aaron Armstrong. Lynn Pryor is going to go first here in just a moment. Lynn leads the teams that create Bible Studies for Life for adults. Aaron Armstrong creates and leads the team that creates The Gospel Project for adults, and Dwayne McCrary leads the teams that create Explore the Bible. And so these are the folks, these are the heroes that are behind your curriculum that you’ll be using, maybe even this coming weekend. I’ve said it like this, and allow me to give you this quick illustration and then we’ll turn it over to Lynn Prior, when I used to take my mother out to eat steak, she loved going to steak restaurants, she had a particular way she wanted her steak done and she always wanted it well done. I mean, she could not stand the sight of blood on the plate and would send things back if it was even just a little pink in the middle. It was almost like eating a . That’s how she liked her steak. My son, who is living with us and wrapping up college, was on the opposite end of the spectrum. And he liked his extremely rare to where was a pool of blood on a plate, that was not my favorite way to eat a steak. I was in the middle. I was more of the medium guy. And I realized, and sitting there one night at a steak restaurant and out in Abilene, Texas that we’re all sitting there enjoying steak but we like it prepared just a little differently. And I thought my way was the right way, my mother thought hers was and my son thought his was the right way to eat steak. And I say all that to say when you purchase the curriculum from Lifeway, you’re really eating a piece of steak. You’re eating, your Bible curriculum, it’s just how do you want your steak, how do you want that curriculum prepared? And every one of these Bible studies is slightly different, it’s prepared in a slightly different way that we serve it up but it all leads to great Bible study in your groups. And so these guys are going to help us understand more about the characteristics of each of their lines of curriculum, maybe even some things you weren’t aware of. And then we hope that’ll make you aware and maybe help you make decisions about curriculum. So with no further ado, Dr. Lynn Pryor. Lynn, if you would lead us and help us understand more about Bible Studies for Life.
– Thanks, Ken, I appreciate that very much. I kind of want to start, as we talk about Bible Studies for Life a little bit about the why behind it. In other words, what do we study and why do we do it? And so to do that, I want to take us into some research that Lifeway research did a few years ago into the areas of discipleship. Looking at churches, pastors, church leaders, of all kinds: how do you disciple your folks? What do you do in your own life that helps you grow as a Christian? And just what are some of those flags that you can tell: “Yes, God is working in that person’s life “and they are maturing as a Christian.” So let me just share my screen real quick and let me show you what this research showed us. As they talked to these thousands of people and they began to look at the things that were happening in churches that were helping them to grow, where they could see growth in the life of the adults in their church, we took that information and then began to call it down, and in the process they came up with what I’m going to call for the moment eight markers. And the eight markers were, here on the screen: Engage with scripture, seek God. People were building relationships. As you can see, they identified in some shape, form or capacity, people in your churches were showing growth, maturity in these eight areas. And now they may not be on the same level, they may be more tuned or engaging with scripture than they are with sharing Christ at that moment but they realized these people were growing in these areas. So all this discipleship research, they boil it down to eight buckets, as you see here. So, as Bible Studies for Life, as we began to just look at this research we realized there is a great plan for discipleship, that if we would help people in their Sunday school classes and their groups engage with all these eight areas, we’re going to help them have a well balanced approach to discipleship. So what we did, we then took those same eight areas and we began to look at them as markers on the pathway of discipleship. You know, as we think about growing in Christ that we talk about our walk with Christ. And so, the idea of our walk with Christ, we’re on this lifelong journey with him, these are the eight signposts along the way that as, just as hit one of these signposts, we realized, “Okay, we’re going in the right direction. “We are moving forward.” So we have started building our Bible studies around these eight areas. Now let me just clarify one thing about these eight. They are not in any particular order. It’s not that you have to engage with scripture first and then you can seek God. It’s not a stair-step process. Again, it’s just this recognition that these eight are evidence so we want, every year as we go through Bible studies, we want to hit each one of these. So what we do, as you know with ongoing curriculum, when there’s 52 Sundays every year, we tackle each one of these in a six-week Bible study. There is eight markers, there’s six weeks each. So that carries us for 48 weeks out of the year. Now those other four, every quarter, there is, what we call a special focus session. Might be Christmas, it’s going to be Easter, perhaps Thanksgiving, sanctity of human life. So there’s just a standalone, but the big part of what we do each quarter is going to be tied around… One study is going to be, let’s say, engage with scripture, one is going to be Share Christ. And so we walk through this. Let me just give you an example because the question comes: what happens, okay, we’ve hit all eight of these this year, what are we going to do next year? Well, we go right back through these again. Because, once again, spiritual growth is never complete. And we’re going to talk about engaging with scripture from one angle but that doesn’t mean we’ve done everything we can that’s going to help us be a mature disciple in that area. So we walk through these again in a different approach from different scripture. For instance, let’s just talk about engage with scripture. Our current curriculum year, in winter, we had a study on spiritual disciplines. Those disciplines that really do help us mature in our faith. We’ve talked about engaging with scripture, meditating, memorizing, different aspects of those spiritual disciplines. In the coming curriculum year, we have a study coming up on Christ’s Return: Living with the End in Mind. This is a study we’re getting really into Matthew 24 and 25 and we’re going to engage with scripture on that. And then the next year after that, we’re going to be in a study six weeks on How to Study the Bible. Now, there’s a little bit of overlap that you could see, like Christ’s Return. Well, that also to me, talks about living on a shame or talks about seeking God. And that’s true but we’re really trying to give it a strong emphasis as we study Christ’s Return and how it helps us do go deeper in engaging with scripture. Here’s another example of the marker, the signpost of Obey God and Deny Self. We just wrapped up in this past year a study called When Emotions Rise. Not that there’s anything wrong with our emotions, but we want to bring our emotions under the Lordship of Christ. And so this is a strong emphasis on obedience. How to Avoid Life’s Pitfalls, which is coming up. Study out a life of Joseph in the old Testament. And we’re going to see one way to avoid those pitfalls is to learn how to obey God, even as Joseph did. And then Dealing with Temptation. Let me just give you real quick one other example that you can see seeking God. One way we’re going to mature in that is through a study on commitment. Matt Carter wrote this study called “All In: A Life of Commitment.” We’ve got a study coming up on the holy spirit and the way how we seek God and getting to know him and letting him work through our life. Third year, then we have a study called How to Know Intimacy with God. So anyway, that’s just a real quick look at the study plan. I wanted you to see the why behind each of the studies because these are not just random topics, there really is a strategic plan to help our leaders, our Sunday school class members to be discipled and be discipled in a very balanced way. So let me just encourage you to go to biblestudiesforlife.com, go to our website. This is under the Adults tab. When you get to the Adults tab, you’ll see right down the middle of the page, there’s a Study Plan. You can grab a PDF right there. And the study plan that I just very quickly have looked at, it’s there in more details. We have three years laid out. When you can not just see, well, this is the general topic, here is the life marker, it’s seeking God, it’s living on a shame. But you’ll even see the scripture breakdown of how we are getting into the study and how that’s going to help us in our discipleship process. So, anyway, that’s a little bit of a why behind what we do that drives it. Let me kind of change gears for a minute. And I want to talk about some of the benefits, some of the unique things that Bible Studies for Life for adults offers. First thing I want to mention is just we do have age group options. As you see on the screen there we have Adult, Young Adult, which is considered about 20 to age 35. The Senior Adult resources… Actually for senior adults it’s 75 and up. The reality is that those of us who are baby boomers and are technically senior adults now, we are kicking and screaming going into senior adulthood. And so we tend to gravitate toward the Adult resource. Then there’s the Daily Discipleship Guide, which is a little different format, how it’s laid out. It’s more of a… You all will hear Dwayne and Aaron talk about their Daily Discipleship Guides as well I’m sure, but it’s the idea that we start in the group and it’s during the week we unpack what we studied in the group through five daily readings, five daily devotions. Now let me be clear. What you’re seeing here, these four age groups, they’re all studying the exact same study. Exact right now, we’re gonna study on sharing Christ. They’re all looking at the same passages, they’re even reading this same text but what’s different is the graphics, the questions, the application ideas, everything has been uniquely geared for a particular age group to hit them where they live. So that’s one of the key benefits, is we do offer some age group options. But with these, I want you to be aware we also have King James options. In the Adult, Senior Adult and the Daily Discipleship Guide, the exact same studies but the CSB translation has out from the King James. So, what that means, and this will not apply to Adult. I’ll explain that in a moment. But Senior Adults and Daily Discipleship Guide, you can have a class that are using the senior adult material, some of the people can be used in the CSB, some could be using the KJV, and they’re going to just be able to work and play well together. The leader says, “Hey, I want you to look at page 34 on that question.” They all go to page 34, it looks the exact same for them. The Adult is a little different because we’ve created the KJV adult. It’s also in a large print, it’s got a little bit different format to it, so even though they’re in the exact same study, the same group plan, page numbers are a little skewed on that but they still can pretty much do the same study. So, there’s some King James options, we do have other options as far as with eBooks, with Ministry Grid, those resources. Some of these also have an NIV option as well. Let me talk about the process of how the group goes, and that is in our Personal Study Guides, we’ve crafted five questions and only five questions to get the group talking. We don’t want this simply be a lecture and the teacher through more like knowledge based questions but it’s questions to get them talking about what they’ve studied and how it connects to how they live in their life. Now I’ve put an example of the very first question. Every session starts with an icebreaker. And you can see how deeply spiritual that question is. What’s a product you’re unwilling to compromise on? I mean, there is, there’s nothing spiritual about that. But it actually gets the group talking. Just in general, it’s a question anybody can answer about products they trust that they’re not going to compromise on that. But then they turn the page and the leader will walk them through this from segueing from: let’s just talk about things we don’t want to compromise on in life general, let’s talk about scripture and uncompromising with the truth of God’s word. So the teacher will provide that segue for the move from this question into the Bible study. In the Bible study itself again, there’s only five questions and as they unpack the study, they will hit on these questions. And it’s not just, “Okay, someone gives me the answer.” It’s the idea, “Let’s discuss your answer. “Let’s talk about it.” For instance, question four there: What is some ways our church is like the church at Ephesus? You realize there is no right or wrong answer to that question because each one of us, because we’re in different churches, we’re going to answer that differently. And so it gets the group members talking about the truth they see in Revelation, in this case verse seven. Now how do we get to connect that to our church right here where we live? What do you think God might be saying to us? So the questions are designed to get them talking around the study but talking to each other. And then we offer the Live It Out section, which has just three simple ideas for them to carry. What are you going to do with the study during the week? So we offer them some application on how they can carry that out. Now, let me remind you again, these questions in the Live It Out is unique to Young Adults, it’s going to be unique to the Senior Adults and different ages groups, how they carry that out. So, with that, let me take you to the Leader Guide and just show you one of the spreads of the teaching plan that the leader would use. We have designed this to make it as easy to to use as possible. For instance, if you look on the left side of this spread, Revelation 2: 4-6, you can just skim through and see the headings for those titles. Read, discuss, recap, guide, even just the leader pack there’s just almost a little soundbite “This is what you do next.” We try to design it in a way that it’s easy for them to walk through the plan to, okay, this is the next step I need to go through. We’ve even put a picture of the pack item, used the pack item as a supplement. If they want to know what that item is and how to use it, again, it’s all right there on the page. But I want you to notice the right side of this spread, which is the commentary. For the teacher to have the commentary to unpack this resource, and you’ll notice that both pages have to do strictly with Revelation 2: 4-6. We’ve designed this in a way so that the leader’s not having to flip back and forth in their book as they’re talking about this passage. So as they’re in their discussion and a group member may ask a question about a certain passage, the leader right there, they’ve got their plan, they don’t have to flip the page, their commentary is right there for them to refer to. So we’ve just tried to make it easy for them to use in that sense. I will tell you there is some additional commentary that’s available; the Advanced Bible Study and the Herschel Hobbs Commentary. This is just pure, straight commentary of the same passages they’re looking at. And the only difference in these really is the Advanced, the writer that is it builds it off of the Christian Standard Bible, Herschel Hobbs is built off the King James Bible. And we felt a lot of, not just leaders like to use this, we’ve had a lot of group members like this additional commentary just for their own edification, their own growth to use these. Another benefit I would mention is, of course with all our curriculums as Aaron and Dwayne will point out, there is a kid version, there’s a kid aspect, there is a student part of the curriculum. And with Bible Studies for Life in the kids section we offer something called Family Connection. It’s just a free resource there but it helps the adults in their class, the parents, grandparents, “Hey, this is what was going on with your preschoolers. “This is what was going on with the kids “and even your students.” And the idea is that they take this page home and is something that can have a single, one-conversation Bible study. Maybe they’re at the drive-through of McDonald’s and mom can just turn around and just throw this question because they know what their child talked about in their Bible study group. So, we just offer this. It’s available online. The kids have it in their resources as one of the benefits. So that is kind of really quick, a nutshell approach and look at Bible Studies for Life. You may have some questions on it. Again, we’ll share some information I’m sure at the end later, but I just want you, very quickly to see there’s my email. Get some questions about that. And you could also just go to BibleStudiesforlife.com and see that. So, Ken, I’m going to turn it back over to you.
– Very good, Lynn, thank you for the overview. That absolutely helps a lot in understanding one of our big three lions of curriculum. Now, Lynn, there was one thing that you didn’t mention. I would love for you to go back and talk about one of my favorite parts of Bible Studies for Life. You mentioned that this is built on the eight attributes of discipleship. You mentioned that the Bible studies themselves are in six week blocks. Talk about the free videos that your team is producing to help churches move people out of the worship centers and into the Sunday school groups, small groups with those free videos. That’s very unique to Bible Studies for Life.
– Okay, hey, thanks, Ken for that reminder. Yes, we do provide… Now this is for the big six week studies. There is a promo promotional video. It’s not a talking head, it’s 60 seconds. We get these right down to 60 seconds but it’s kind of raising what’s going on in our life, maybe some questions we have, and it’s a teaser to say, “We’re going to chase this issue,” like when emotions rise, we talked about roller coasters and we talk about how we have these highs and lows in our life, but how does the Bible help us deal with our emotions? Well, in Bible Studies for Life we’re going to be doing a study. So it’s truly a teaser for lack of a more spiritual tournaments, it’s commercial. But these are free. You can go to biblestudiesforlife.com and find them there. They’re on our extra site. They’re free to download right there. And when I say they’re free we encourage teachers to grab these, if your class has a Facebook page post it there, send in an email. If the church uses a screen that they show things up during the church service, show it there. We do that in my church. We show these videos every six week just as a teaser to get people coming to the Bible study. But they’re very different, no talking .
– They’re very well done. Like Lynn said, 60 seconds. They are free. It’s almost like you would go to a movie and see a preview of coming attractions. It’s designed to peak interest and to help people onboard into those Bible study groups. And the other thing about those, Lynn, the Lifeway logo is not on those. It looks like the church actually produced the video. We’ve taken our name off and they are free to use. So it really does make the church and the staff, the pastors, it makes the whole leadership team look great as they encourage people to jump in and engage in Bible study. Well, before I move on to our second line of curriculum, as you’re in a season right now of restarting groups, let me mention a website that I strongly encourage you to go to. So get prepared, get a pen and be ready to jot this website down. It’s lifeway.com/churchon. C-H-U-R-C-H-O-N, church on and you will find a number of free assets there. We have put a countdown calendar. You may pick a date or a month where you’re going to actually restart your Sunday school. We’ve given you a countdown calendar, important things to do in those 90 days that lead up to it. There’s some commissioning service ideas, order of services, hymns, a sermon topic. If you want to start the new Sunday school year by calling attention to your group leaders there are many other free assets that will help you and your church get back to Sunday school and back to church being on. So lifeway.com/churchon is a place you may want to go. I’m going to introduce Aaron Armstrong now as the team leader for Gospel Project adults. And Aaron is the newest member of our team but has been around Gospel Project for a number of years. He is hip-deep in The Gospel Project. Excellent thinker, great leader. And Aaron, would you help us to understand this second major line of curriculum, The Gospel Project and what makes it unique?
– Well, Ken, it would be my pleasure. And first, let me say, hey, there, Alabama Baptist. I’m super glad to be speaking with you today. And before we even get into The Gospel Project, what I really want to say is just the Bible is so amazing, isn’t it? I mean from the first time I started reading it as a brand new Christian, this was back in the far off days of the early mid 2000s. 2005, I believe it was. I have been blown away by every word I read in it. But I also remember being really, really confused by a lot of what I read. And much of the time that confusion that I experienced came from what I was being taught about how to read the Bible itself. So, that basically came down to going to the text, either playing a game of Bible roulette, and so just basically opening blind and figuring out and seeing what I was going to read that day by where it landed on the page and pointing a finger. That usually doesn’t go well, by the way, or more frequently being taught basically to see the Bible as essentially a collection of principles and examples for moral living. So, looking at it strictly from the perspective of: what am I supposed to do out of reading this text? And while certainly the Bible does have clear instructions, it does have examples, it does have all of these things and we never want to minimize those things in our lives whatsoever, we can’t be a fully mature disciple without obeying God’s word. This need to do always left feeling like something was missing. Like I wasn’t reading the Bible right. And then I read a verse that just completely rocked my new believer world, and it still does to this day. And that verse is this, which is John 5:39. “You pore over the scriptures “because you think you have eternal life in them, “and yet they testify about me.” And so, why was this verse such a game changer for me? Well, I mean, it comes from John 5:39 and in that passage, as many watching will know and certainly all of us on this call know, Jesus is the one who said this. And he is addressing a group of religious believers from his days called the Pharisees. And so these were a group of Jews who had devoted their whole life to studying the Bible and trying to follow their interpretation of its commands as closely and as strictly as possible. They saw the Bible effectively as an instruction manual with strict obedience to those commands as the secret to eternal life. And then Jesus began his ministry. And when he did he was proclaiming that the kingdom of heaven was near, and he was eating and drinking with sinners and tax collectors, the outcasts of society. And he was performing miracles. He was healing the sick and he was doing the worst thing of all, he was doing good works on the Sabbath, the day of rest. And even worse than that, if there could be something worse than that in their minds, he was effectively declaring the teachings of the Pharisees wrong more often than not. And so Jesus infuriated the Pharisees. But no matter how hard they tried to get people to see that Jesus was wrong they kept failing. Jesus consistently put them to shame in every encounter. And in John 5, where this occurs, after the Pharisees had challenged Jesus for healing a blind man on the Sabbath and they called him a blasphemer and were riling up to stone him to death, he offered this as one of his most blistering condemnations of them, and he did it challenging their view of the Bible itself. Again, that is: “You pore over the scriptures “because you think you have eternal life in them, “and yet they testify about me.” Jesus words were and are earth shattering, not just because of the strength of his condemnation toward the Pharisees but because of what these words reveal. They are the key to the puzzle that the Bible was for me as a new believer and certainly seems to still be for many of us. When we see the Bible as primarily being filled with commands and examples to follow, we may actually study it diligently and we may pour over every page searching for the secret of life, but we may actually miss the one who is the way, the truth and the life. So, we need to look at scripture the way that Jesus did, as testifying about him. And when we do that it changes how we understand the Bible and how we live in light of it. We recognize the Old Testament as the foundation and foreshadowing of what happens in the new, the first part of one big story told from Genesis to Revelation. We see the New Testament as good news of great joy for all people because Jesus came to fulfill the law, to rescue us through his death and resurrection and restore the relationship with our creator that sin ruined. And we can live faithfully in the world right now as good news people in a bad news world. People who know how the story God is telling ends, a story that says that all the bad acts we experience right now in this world will come to an end in the world that’s to come when Jesus returns to make all things new. And so, this is the understanding that we need to fully make sense of the Bible in the way that Jesus describes both in this verse and in Luke 24: 27, in the famous road to Emmaus encounter, the way that that puts Jesus at the center of the scriptures. And that’s what we offer in The Gospel Project. Ultimately, we’re here for the gospel and we follow a proven plan to nurture disciples of all ages with Christ-centered Bible study resources that help everyone see the gospel story unfold from Genesis to Revelation. So, a natural question of course is: what does that have to do with adult ministries? What does that look like in adult ministries? And so, whether we’re talking about Sunday school classes or seminars, small groups, whatever language people want to use, our aim is to make disciple-making disciples. So, no matter our background, no matter our familiarity or comfort with the Bible, no matter our format of ministry, that’s what we’re all really meant to do and meant to be. And for more than a year, The Gospel Project team has actually been hard at work re-imagining this resource to help further that end as groups engage with the story of scripture and the essential truths of the Christian faith in a more profound way. And that starts actually with our study plan because this fall, we are kicking off a brand new three-year study of the big story of scripture, and that starts this September. And this study plan takes groups through a chronological journey through the story of scripture and explores the essential truths of the Christian faith in every session. But this exploration goes further than in times past this exploration of the essential truths of the faith. In that, each unit actually concludes with a deeper dive into one of these essential doctrines that’s weaved throughout the entire unit. So, for example, here’s a quick look at one of the units from fall, which this is unit two actually. So, we begin with our exploration of the fall itself. So, how sin entered the world, in session one, and we see how it spreads through the family of Adam and Eve in session two. We see how the world has become so plagued by sin that every thought and every intention of humanity is only evil continually in session three leading to the world being purged with the exception of Noah and his family, who found grace through God’s kindness and mercy. And we see how, despite this purging and cleansing of the world, that it didn’t end the sin problem and that sin ultimately at its heart is an act of rebellion as we explore the events at The Tower of Babel or Tower of Babylon before beginning to dive deep into this study of the foundations of the nation of Israel and the promises to Abraham in the unit that follows. So, that is a quick look at what I’m talking about there. But it’s not just our study plan that’s been updated, all of our resources have been fully and thoroughly redesigned and re-imagined in order to provide the best discipleship experience possible for your groups. And that begins with the Daily Discipleship Guide. So, when you see the new Daily Discipleship Guide, there’s a couple of things that I want you to notice. And one of those key things is that we have increased its content in two very, very important ways. First, is that we have added a new reflective introduction to each unit that both encourages the reader and serves to explore how the unit works together to reveal that key essential doctrine that I mentioned. And so these are written by pastors, authors, ministry leaders from all around the country in various contexts, all with this same heart to help believers see Christ in all of scripture. The second and most important element of this actually has to do with the daily devotions that are a part of the Daily Discipleship Guide. And so these comprise the majority of the content for each session and are actually intended to be the group members first experience with the study each week. So, when you open up a Daily Discipleship Guide, after the unit introduction you’re going to get to the session introduction and then you get to see the daily devotions. These can be done at any time in the week, if that’s entirely up to the group. But this is where we have intentionally placed them to treat the group time more as an overflow of personal time in the word. Growth in the faith, growth in Christ happens through both study in community and also study personally, and so we need both of those things together. So, those are not in conflict here. And so each day there’s a short reflection on passages that connect directly to each week’s focal passage and draw from the larger body of scripture to address themes within the session itself. They also include call-outs such as the definition of the essential doctrine for the session, as you can see right here as well as other key things like quotes from believers in times past and present. The point here is that these are intended to provide your groups with more purposeful and more content to help them gain a greater understanding and love for God and the gospel. And so, that leads into the group discussion time, which concludes each session in the structure of the guide. Again, this can be used at any time. It can lead it or it can follow. But this discussion guide includes all the key points from the session, it includes interactive questions like you can see here on the left, and these are all designed to address the needs of a variety of different learning styles. And it also includes session application questions, which you can see on the right as well that follow the Head, Heart and Hands model that runs through The Gospel Project across all ages. Helping your groups consider how they’ll think, feel and live differently in light of what they’ve learned in scripture. These application questions are also ideal, not only for high-level discussion within the group time but for deeper exploration within a smaller group such as a D-Group format. So those are things that you can do there as well. But there’s still one more important change that I want to share and that really comes to this emphasis on studying the Bible. We are absolutely committed to the fact that reading and studying the Bible is absolutely life-changing but it’s also increasingly clear that fewer Christians than ever know how to do so effectively. And we want to do our part to help change that, to equip Christians to be more effective students of the Bible. And so that’s why we’re incorporating a very simple tool called the seven arrows into the Daily Discipleship Guide. This is actually a tool that you’ll see in… If you’ve used it… The Gospel Project students’ material uses this as well, and we’re incorporating into adults. And this is a tool that helps group members learn the basic mechanics of Bible study by asking just a few basic questions of any passage. But that’s not the only way that we’re working to address people’s struggles with reading and studying the Bible nor even honestly the most important way. The most important way that we’re doing this is by choosing to not print Bible texts in the Daily Discipleship Guide itself. Yes, you did hear that correctly. We want you to study the Bible with your own Bible. It may seem counterintuitive, and even in comparison to Lifeway’s other Bible studies, like Explore the Bible and Bible Studies for life. But our team’s conviction is that one of the best ways to help people read and study the Bible is to encourage them to do it in the one that they own, the Bible and Bible translation they chose for themselves. So, whether a person reads from the CSB, which for the record is our preferred choice, the ESV, the NIV, King James or any other translation, what this does is it helps them read those focal passages in context and to see their place in the larger story, to learn the landscape of their Bibles as they study the Bible, to, instead of reading a passage from our book to read it from the book. So, a new structure, more and more purposeful content and a greater emphasis on personal study, that is the new Daily Discipleship Guide. But that’s not all because we have a new Leader Guide as well. And the new Leader Guide, this is where your group leaders are going to find everything they need to effectively teach and lead each session. The Leader Guide is available in two translations. So this actually does have printed Bible texts in it, which is very helpful for a group leader as they are seeking to guide that discussion and keep everyone on track. And so it provides teaching outlines, biblical commentary and optional illustrations all in one convenient package. And like the Daily Discipleship Guide, one of our core focuses has been on providing more purposeful content for your leaders. I’m saying purposeful a lot, you’ll notice because we’re not adding content just for the sake of adding content. If we’re going to add content to it, and this has been a constant wrestle for us in our team, is how much content is enough. And really the answer is the amount of content that helps you effectively lead that session and study that session, that’s how much is enough. And so, we think that we’ve hit a good sweet spot with this new iteration of The Gospel Project. But anyway, so we’ve included the same reflective unit introductions in the Leader Guide that appeared in the Daily Discipleship Guide, of course, and this is a way to feed and nurture the leader as he or she prepares for each session. In each session overview, the leader will find an outline of the big ideas of the entire session, helping them to see what their groups are going to learn, how they’ll see Christ and how they’ll respond. And so you can see that on the bottom left of the screen there. As we get into the actual group time, which is the core component of Leader Guide itself leaders will find an all new layout for the discussion. Each of the main points are divided into two sections. So we have a teaching outline and a biblical commentary. And I’ll show you those in just a second. And so, in these sections though, your leaders are going to find everything they need to effectively prepare and lead a meaningful discussion. And throughout the teaching outline, including in the group time that you can see here, leaders will find discussion questions, interactive moments, some thumbnails of the leader pack and they’ll also be encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to engage with freely accessible videos that are on gospelproject.com that serve as essential doctrine explainers. And so these are 90-second to two-minute videos. They are talking head full disclosure but they’re short, sweet and hopefully interesting. But those give a little bit more depth and detail into the essential doctrines than what we typically even provide in the material itself. So, in this, you do find everything that you need here. You’ll notice the biblical commentary on the right hand page here. This feature’s deep but accessible explorations of the focal passages, revealing the meaning and overall place in the storyline of scripture. And that desire for accessibility is something that’s really, really important for us to note because that’s not limited to the style in which we’ve written our biblical commentary. It also affects some of the choices that we’ve made because there are some key theological terms that we cannot not use in our material. We would be doing Christians a disservice, and in fact, we’d be doing unbelievers, who are exploring our groups and exploring the Christian faith in that context a disservice if we didn’t use them. Thinking about a term like the sovereignty of God. We hear that a lot. Many of us can explain what that means, which really is just that God is the rightful king and ruler of the universe. So we want to include a simple definition of that within the material because we don’t want to assume what a leader does or does not know. And so no matter your familiarity or your background, the big idea here is just that you can use The Gospel Project for adults to effectively disciple your groups. You’ll notice here I’ve also got highlighted one of our discussion questions. This is another example of how we are working to make sure that there are lots of different kinds of discussion points within the material. Moving on to the next section here. Every session concludes with an application portion called my response. And so this focuses on how knowing God leads to changed affections or emotions. And that itself leads to changed lives. In other words, that clear Christ-centered Bible study will shape the head, heart and hands of a Christian. Each question in the response component is intended to focus on one of those three aspects along with a short explanation of the implications of the study in each of these areas. So, you can see that over there as well. But one of the final section that we’ve included in the Leader Guide for each session is an Extras component. And so this includes additional commentary for those who want to dig even deeper on a key point as well as optional interactive activities or illustrations. Any people who are watching, who are familiar with The Gospel Project and have used it in times past may be aware of the interactive teaching tips that are available on gospelproject.com in the additional resources. What we’re effectively doing is we’re bringing those into your Leader Guide to make it just a little bit easier for you as you prepare to teach and lead. Now, finally, I mentioned the pack a moment ago and I’m bringing up one of the visuals here. The leader pack. Like I had said, there are these thumbnails that show what they are and where they’re intended to be used. and with these, we’ve made some changes to our leader pack and the contents within. And certainly that includes creating new kinds of handouts and posters, digital materials to share with your group, including actually a phone screensaver even or a phone back wallpaper, and new memorization tools to help your group members learn an effective way of memorizing the Bible. But the biggest change to this has actually to do with practical functionality. So, we know that group members are meeting in different kinds of contexts, both online and in-person, and leaders in churches are using different kinds of tools as well. So, some are using just straight up print material and they’re putting a poster on a wall, some are using PowerPoint presentation, some are using all of the above. Some are running their groups via presentation on Zoom or another tool like that. And so that’s why what we have done is with all of our posters, we have designed them all horizontally to allow for easy translation into a presentation slide. And that’s actually something that we’ve even created for your groups as a downloadable resource with every leader pack. So it’s part of that package. So because the goal of these resources isn’t simply to have a beautiful visual for the group to look at, although, even looking at this, I think we can all agree this is a pretty beautiful visual. The goal here for these leader pack items is to provide leaders with purposeful tools that will engage and encourage the group in their growth in Christ. And that truly is the main reason that we’ve done everything that we do with The Gospel Project for adults and The Gospel Project across the board, it’s to help our group see how the Bible, how the scriptures testify about Jesus, to have their understanding of the Bible deepen and change and to see them live in light of the gospel, the good news that we’re all here for. Now, a couple of practical notes for you as well. First, we’ve gone through a lot of material here really quickly. I would love for you to have a look at the first unit of The Gospel Project for adults, fall 2021 in depth. And you can do that really easily by going to gospelproject.com/preview. All you need to do is drop in an email. We’ll do our best. We will not send you too many emails, I don’t think. But you’ll an email from me after you sign up and you can send me any questions that you want. In terms of other practical considerations, we have a number of easy-to-order resources that are available through lifeway.com including a Group Box that includes 10 Daily Discipleship Guides, a Leader Guide and the leader pack, all the materials I just talked about in other words for about 70 bucks. This is a great and affordable way to start up a group of your own. Leader Guides, Daily Discipleship Guides and packs are all available separately as well. And if you’re not sure what your group needs you can always build an order using our ordering assistant, which you can find at gospelproject.com/assistant. And we also have digital subscription options administered through Ministry Grid and digital resources available for individuals through lifeway.com. Finally, we’re here for the gospel but we’re also here for you. So, if you have questions or need support along the way, here are a couple of ways that we can help. First, for questions around ordering and accounts, basically anything to do with actually getting your material or involving money, which I hate talking about, email firstname.lastname@example.org. As much as I’d like to help I can’t help you with that but our team is very knowledgeable, helpful and they’re ready to serve you in any way that they can. Second, for questions around the curriculum and support related specifically to the curriculum, you can reach me via email at email@example.com. I can’t help you with that first part but I can definitely help you with this. So, thank you all for watching today. And now I’ll hand it back over to Ken Braddy before we start our next portion of this discussion.
– Aaron, thank you very much. That’s a lot of information really quickly about The Gospel Project. Aaron, the thing that I was most amazed at when I began teaching this to a group several years ago when it first came out were the number of adults in my group that would get up almost every Sunday after a Bible study and say, “I never understood “how that passage connected to Jesus “or to the New Testament “or to the bigger story of scripture.” It happened almost every Sunday. And so I have seen it myself. You know how this does help people really get that big meta-narrative of scripture. Before we hear from our last team leader, let me remind you that there is another website you may want to go to in this season of restarting groups and it’s lifeway.com/restartgroups. Just like it sounds, restart groups. And there you will find a series of free webinars. They’re one hour each. They are designed to help the church restart Sunday school. So, lots of different topics. Around 10 to 11 or so different webinars will be posted there, two every month. All the way through September. It’s free and we encourage you to come and use those to help your church prepare for the restarting of our Sunday school. So, lifeway.com/restartgroups. I think you’ll find a lot of help there. Now last but not least, Dr. Dwayne McCrary. Dwayne leads the team that creates Explore the Bible. And we think that it may be the one that your state uses more than others. But Dwayne is not only the team leader, Dwayne is also a teacher in his church. He uses Explore the Bible every week to lead his Bible study group for adults. So, Dwayne, help us understand about our third and final of these big three curriculum lines.
– And I have on my screen here some photos that you see that’s going to help us think through the start of Explore the Bible. I’m going to give you some tips along the way about how to use the resource that may help you as well. What you see on your screen are three photos that take me back to 1975 or so when Microsoft was just an idea, running the steps of The Philadelphia Museum of Art was just something that was starting to be taking place and a Gremlin was a car. So, at that same time you had folks who were starting to make a cry for these things. They were crying for the opportunity to study the Bible, to let the Bible speak for itself, a desire to go back to the Bible or to be a people of the book. And at that time, there really wasn’t a lot of resources that focus just on Bible study. So, Lifeway introduced in 1978, what was known then as the Bible Book series and they were adult and student, or they were called youth then, resources for folks to use where they looked at every book of the Bible. In 1996, the resources were overhauled and they were renamed to Explore the Bible. And then in 2014, the resources were re-imagined once again, the student resources were rebirth and a kids’ resource was introduced for the very first time. Through it all the focus of this resource has been to help groups systematically touch all the books of the Bible. It’s important that we keep that in mind. That the goal of Explore the Bible is for us to study all of the books of the Bible in a systematic way. We have done that now since 1978 and we’re in our fifth cycle of going through the books of the Bible. The current study plan that the youth or the students and adults are using is on your screen. You’ll notice it’s in three different colors because we’ve been doing and focusing on Bible genres. Every three years we’ve been studying a gospel, a book that deals with history, prophecy and epistle, one of the poetry books. And it’s been organized that way for this particular study plan. You’ll notice that the summer of 21 is marked with the arrow. We’re right now studying Job and Ecclesiastes. Folks are starting to ask: “What’s going to happen after this is done?” Well, I’m glad you asked ’cause we’ve been working on the next plan and we’ve secured input from all kinds of places, even had 350 plus churches give us input on what you see on your screen, and this plan reflects that input. And you’re going to hear more about this plan as we get closer to the fall of 2023. But our promise, like I said, has always been to touch every book of the Bible. And we want to do that in a fair way, fair to each book, but also realistic in the duration. Now I know we could read every verse every week and we could do that but our desire really is to study a passage, develop some Bible study skills and then respond to that passage in an appropriate way. Some want us to do verse by verse or chapter by chapter. I want you to think about that just for a moment. Well, just think about chapter by chapter. If we did a chapter a week, there are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. Well, what that means is that we would be… if we started Genesis and went through Revelation we will be studying that one time through the Bible 22 years and 11 months. And that’s not realistic for most of us. We’ve done a variety of things. We’ve done 11, we’ve done nine and we’ve been eight, and based on all the input that we’ve gotten, the nine-year plan seems to be the thing that’s the most fair to all the Bible books but also that’s most realistic in our duration. So once again you’re going to see another nine-year plan that’ll come up once we finish our current plan. So, where do we start and what are the essentials? Well, from day one, the Personal Study Guide and Leader Guide has been the essential resource. It’s served us well. We’re starting with the group member. It really should be about the group member and not us as the teacher anyway. I’m responsible, as a teacher, for everyone in my group, even the people who rarely, if ever come, and so I have a Personal Study Guide and have a Daily Discipleship Guide. The group I lead now is using a Daily Discipleship Guide and I make sure everybody in my group, even if they never come, receive that resource. That’s so I can fulfill the expectation that the church places on me, that I shepherd everyone in that group. That’s why we start with the group and not with the teacher. That group resource is the most significant piece of Explore the Bible. Now, the Daily Discipleship Guide was introduced in fall of 2017 and it’s an alternative to the Personal Study Guide. I want us to just compare those two so you can see how they’re different and how they’re the same. Let’s start off here with the Personal Study Guide. This is the first two pages of a session. This is actually the session for this fall, we’ll be looking at Philippians. You’ll notice the title of the session. Right underneath the title, you’ll see a summary statement, you’ll see an introduction and a question that gets folks started, kind of sets the tone of what we’re going to be talking about that day, and then you see Understand the Context, which is a summary of where this verse, this passage fits in the context of Philippians. And sometimes it may be where it fits in the context of history. You have that in every session in the Personal Study Guide. Now, in the Daily Discipleship Guide, you have the same things. You have the title, you have the summary statement, you have the introduction, you have that introductory question. Same introduction, same question. And then you see the Understand the Context. It’s the exact same content that you just saw in the Personal Study Guide. We go back to the Personal Study Guide. You’re going to see that we have this paragraph right here that I’ve highlighted a question. Now before I get past that, let me point out that we do have the Bible texts printed in the Personal Study Guide and the Daily Discipleship Guide in Explore the Bible. We do that for a variety of reasons. I know that there is a reason for why The Gospel Project is doing what they’re doing. For us, we do it because we want to have a resource that’s friendly to guests… Nothing more embarrassing than trying to find particularly one of the minor prophets, “Where’s Nahum? “Where’s ,” and someone who’s a new believer or guests may not know where those books are, those Bible books are, so by having this that helps that take place. It keeps everybody on the same page because, like in the group I teach, there could be 20 different translations in that class. And so this keeps us all on the same page. Plus we are Explore the Bible. It just seems strange for us to have a resource with the title, Explore the Bible on the front of it and the Bible text not be included. So, the Bible text is included in Explore the Bible. But I pointed out this content to you where we have this paragraph and this question ’cause I want you to see something here. If you go to the Daily Discipleship Guide, you find the exact same paragraph and the exact same question. It’s organized a little bit different but they’re still there. One thing I want to point out too… By the way this is what it looks like in the Daily Discipleship Guide. You have the Bible text and you have key words and then you have this Explore the Text section. It’s a one page piece of the resource feature and everything you would do in the group time would be on this page. The questions that are included or that you would ask would be on this page as well. Notice we have three questions for this particular session. I will say something about these questions here. They are all designed to be processed questions. So instead of asking, an example, “How many times did Paul use “this phrase in this passage?” we would be thinking more about what’s the importance of him using that phrase and what does that teach us about something that’s connected to that. The arrow here is pointing to a Bible skill. In the Daily Discipleship Guide we have this Bible skill on this page if it was part of what you would do in the group time. If you go to the Personal Study Guide, you find the exact same Bible skill. It’s included in a little bit different way but it’s something for the group to do in preparation for the group time. On that page that we were looking at with the Daily Discipleship Guide, you also see the key doctrine. Every session there’s a key doctrine. Just so you know that key doctrine comes specifically from The Baptist Faith and Message, 2000. So it’s a subtle way for us to teach people what belief. But there you have that key doctrine in the Daily Discipleship Guide, guess what? Same key doctrine in the Personal Study Guide, word for word. Even the final pages. The Apply the Text. It’s called the same thing in both resources. It’s in a little bit different place in the Personal Study Guide than it is in the Daily Discipleship Guide. You have the same summary statements, you have the same questions and you have a space provided in both where you can record prayer requests. I just wanted you to see that to know that these resources are very similar in the content that they have. One thing that is unique by the way to the Daily Discipleship Guide is the Talk it Out feature. The Talk it Out feature’s designed for D-Groups, groups of three to four people that meet weekly and they just hold each other accountable for spiritual growth. What that does is if someone’s using the Daily Discipleship Guide in your group, then what they would be able to do is they would study with their group on Sunday morning, using this one Bible text, their individual study throughout the week would be on this one Bible text and then their D-Group could also be focused on that one Bible passage. So that gives them three touches of that Bible passage but in three different contexts, which gives them strength to them being able to think more fully about the Bible passage. So, let me just give a summary here about how these things compare. They have shared outlines, they have shared content, but there’s a difference in approach here. The Personal Study Guide model is this, that they’ve prepared before the group time. They come, they studied, they studied at their own pace and they’ve prepared for that group time. And then during the group time, you clarify and you share what you’ve examined and studied during that week prior. The Daily Discipleship Guide assumes that no one has studied prior to coming in to that group time and so you’re gathering for the purpose of introducing the Bible passage. Think of it in terms of you’re creating a skeleton and then they’re going to study afterwards in response and put meat on that skeleton. Same content in both but rearranged so there’s very different experiences. Now, if you’re using the Personal Study Guide the leader is going to be needing a Leader Guide to help them. If they’re using a Daily Discipleship Guide everyone would be using the same resource ’cause the Leader Helps are in the back of the Daily Discipleship Guide. So let’s look at those two things; the Leader Guide and the Leader Helps. What you have on your screen here is a Leader Guide. This is the first page and on it it has some things that you as a leader would need to do just to get started. Think of it as a to-do list or pack lists, those types of things. If you turn that page, you’re going to find First Thoughts, you’re going to find Understand the Context and then some Bible commentary. Notice the Key Doctrine, the Bible Skill and the First Thoughts, they all have arrows on them on the screen. It’s the exact same content that you find in a Personal Study Guide. It’s not even different. There’s not even words that are different. One thing I will point out here is the question underneath First Thoughts. You see that parenthetical comment there, where it just says PSG and then a page number, that lets you know as the leader that that question is in the Personal Study Guide. Now that’s important when you come across some other questions that are in the Leader Guide. Let me show you this. Here’s a question right here. This question does not have that parenthetical statement telling you where it is in the Personal Study Guide because it’s not in the Personal Study Guide. This question is designed for you as the teacher to have a Bible study that’s just for you. One of the hard things about being a teacher is you’re not in a Bible study group. So, one of the things we want to do with the Leader Guide is provide a means for you to have personal Bible study for yourself that’s separate from what you’re doing for the group. So that’s why you’ll find some of these questions in the Leader Guide commentary for you as a leader to go a little bit deeper than you’re taking the group. You can also use these questions as extra questions you may want to use during the group time. At the end of each session in the Leader Guide you’re going to find these three pages. The first two look like this or they’re facing each other. So, if you wanted to you could lay it out and you could teach them these two pages. This is the core teaching plan for leading the group time. I’ve got arrows by a couple of places because… You’ll notice that there’s questions that are being asked, there’s prompts for you to say, “Hey, ask this question… “Use this question that’s in a Personal Study Guide.” You know it’s in the Personal Study Guide ’cause it has a parenthesis what page it is on. Both of the things that are highlighted here are things that are in the Personal Study Guide. We do that so that you don’t necessarily have to read the Personal Study Guide to prepare using the Leader Guide. You can, if you want to, but you don’t have to because the teaching plans, the group plans help connect the Personal Study Guide to what you’re doing. One more thing I want to show you that’s unique to the Leader Guide is this Options page. Now, this gives you the opportunity to customize the lesson for your group based on their learning styles and your teaching style, or you may just want to add some variety to the group time. And this gives you some ideas for doing that. One of the ideas that’s always going to be listed on this page is going to be the music idea. And that can be used in the group time but it could also be used if you have a general assembly for all the classes in your department or for all the classes in your church. Here’s a great thing, a great way to facilitate doing that general assembly, that opening assembly time, is by using the music and the suggestion that’s here. Also if you’re the pastor or the music minister and the one who’s responsible for putting together the worship time in your church, this would be something that you may want to look at to see if this is a song that you might be able to incorporate into the worship time. Think of the value, of the congregation singing a hymn that connects to their Sunday school study every week and doing that in worship, and you being able to tell them that’s where you got it from. If you look in the Daily discipleship guide you’ll find Leader Helps in the back. It’s a core group plan. It’s basically the same group plan that you would have found in the Leader Guide but commentary is interspersed throughout the plan. You see that where the arrow is, right here. This commentary is condensed from the Leader Guide commentary giving you just enough as a leader to have a few extra bullets in the pistol when you go into that group time. I’ve got two things highlighted here on this page. Just to let you know, these are the exact same things I had highlighted in the group plans for the Leader Guide. It’s the same content, except it tells you where to find it in the Daily Discipleship Guide, and it’s reframed a little bit, assuming that no one has studied it prior to them coming to the group time. One thing I want to point out here and some people bring this up to me, they say, “Dwayne, right here at the very end “in the Daily Discipleship Guide “you had this After the Session, “which is something that’s not included “in the Leader Guide.” Well, that’s not completely true. It is in the Leader Guide. It’s just on the first page, not on the last page. So it’s right there . It gives you something to do after the group time is over that helps the group either with accountability or helps you as a leader do something to add some strength to what’s happening in the week after the group time. Now, those are the core resources but what about the support resources that are available? There’s three different things I want to point out here. The Leader Pack, the Adult Commentary and Quicksource. First of all, the Leader Pack. It’s been around since Explore the Bible first began. And you’re going to find in the Leader Pack posters that enhance the study, you’re going to find maps, outlines charts and then you’re going to find handouts that can be used to make… Well, they’re actually reproduce what you can make handouts from. And you can use that to add depth and clarity to the group. You’re going to find timelines, charts, articles that give some more information, that you will use in the group time. Now, one of the items you’re going to find in the print Leader Pack is a card. And on that card is a redemption code. That gives the leader access to the items that they find in the print pack in a digital format but it also gives them access to a set of doc files that they can use, they can copy and paste from that doc file, that they can use to create a custom plan, to add their own ideas, to add their own study to it, all those kinds of things, and they can print that and carry that into the group time with them. If you’re using the Daily Discipleship Guide, the Leader Helps in the back of the Daily Discipleship Guide are also included in a doc format. So you could copy and paste from the plans that are in the Leader Guide and from the plans that are in the Daily Discipleship Guide to create a unique plan for your group. The next thing I would mention would be the Adult Commentary. When this resource set was first introduced back in 1978 churches began calling looking for a Bible commentary they could provide to their teachers. Well, the only thing available then was a hardback book or , and that wasn’t going to work. So, in response, the ETB Adult Commentary was introduced. And it gives leaders additional commentary if they desire it. It’s also a resource, it’s written on a more academic level so there is a different feel to it and there’s a lot more words. You can think of it in this terms. In the Personal Study Guide you have about 2,000 words in the commentary, for the adult commentary you have 4,200 words for each session. So, it’s almost twice the amount of Bible commentary available. Now, there are some groups that may want more content than what they find in the Personal Study Guide and the Daily Discipleship Guide. These groups can use the commentary as their Personal Study Guide. Now, like I said, that’s double the words, but for some groups they would prefer that and they use that for their own personal study, read those the lesson prior and then come together as a group and have conversation around those things they discovered. The groups that do that tend to be led by someone using Quicksource to facilitate discussion with the group. And that brings me to Quicksource. Let me just give you a quick walk through Quicksource so you’ll see what’s there. On the first page of each session you’re going to find the Bible text and key words. Those key words function as a quick commentary for that passage. On the next page, page two, you’re going to find an outline of the Bible passage and key points to make. Now that’s on the backside of that first page where you have the Bible text and the key words. What that means is you can then take that page and tear it out and write the notes that you’re going to teach with and just walk into the classroom, carrying just that one page with all your notes and everything on it. On the third page, you find a discussion plan. This has sequenced questions with answer prompts that will help you lead a discussion on this particular Bible passage. Once again, if you’re going to write notes or things like that, reading those questions, write them in the notes section on page two and then you can tear out that page and you’d have the Bible content, the keywords and then the outline in your hand when you . The last thing on the page, page four is an Object Lesson and a Dig Deeper feature which gives you some extra information. I love the Dig Deeper feature myself because it makes me look smarter than I really am and it makes me look like I studied more than I really studied. So it’s a helpful tool for me when leading a group. It answers these three questions and I’ve already kind of gone over those things, which: if I get called at the last minute, what can I turn to? I need extra questions or ideas, or I just do a master-teacher approach. Quicksource is available for those needs. Now, I’ve gone over a lot of things, a lot of stuff, the question I get is: can I order it all together? And the answer is yes. You can get the Adults Group Box, comes with 10 Personal Study Guides, a Leader Guide, a Leader Pack, Quicksource, one copy of it, and then there’s a Quick Start Guide, which is a piece of paper that’s on top of it it’s printed front and back. And it has the four steps that you can take to use all these resources to prepare and get ready for the group time that coming Sunday or whenever that group meets. This would be an excellent tool to put in the hands of a new group that’s fixing to get started. Think about that. You could provide this new teacher who’s about to walk into a classroom for the very first time all of this helps, and it makes them even more confident than they already are. And they’ve got those 10 guides… If we start a new group, 10 guides are probably going to be enough but if you need more than that you can always order more than that and provide the Group Box to the leader and then add the extra Personal Study Guides along with it, and they’re ready to get started with a brand new group. Some other things that I get asked is: what about audio? Well, several years ago, we began providing an audio CD that’s a reading of the comments found in the Personal Study Guide. Beginning in the spring of 2018, those files could then be purchased as an MP3 download so you could listen to them on a smartphone or another mobile device that you had with you. So, that audio is supplemental and just helps you on the go. I know that there also would be some folks who want to know what we have available for groups that are deaf. We had provided a resource specifically for deaf in the past but changing practices and economic realities forced us to reevaluate what we were doing. Several options exist but it depends on the type of group and the education level of the deaf that you are seeking to reach. The first option that we would recommend is the Explore the Bible Daily Discipleship Guide. Now this resource is not written specifically for a deaf group but it is comparable to what we’ve provided in the past. A second option is Explore the Bible Quicksource. The teacher uses this resource to prepare and conduct a group time. If study beyond the group time is expected then you would most likely provide either the Personal Study Guide or the Daily Discipleship Guide to meet that need. There is one more option now that I think about it. You could use smallgroup.com. That’s a library of Bible studies that can be downloaded and then edited for your specific group. You create a study plan. You can do that by selecting topics or passages. If you want to follow the Explore the Bible plan then you could select passages from the books that we’re studying and then you would customize that, edit it for the needs of your group. Now you can look at that at smallgroup.com. And I believe when you do that, when you subscribe, there’s a 30-day trial subscription available as well. What about digital resources? Some folks have already mentioned this, Lynn and Aaron have already mentioned this, but yes, there are digital options. Churches can subscribe to Ministry Grid and you can find out more about that at explorethebible.com/digital. You can also have individuals who may want to purchase an ebook, think Kindle at that point. All of our resources are available in that format as well and you would do that through mylifeway.com. Let me give you those places to go look again. goexplorethebible.com/digital and then this other site, lifeway.com/digitalstudies, this is a new site that we have. If you go to that site, if you want anything digital, it’ll direct you on how to purchase. You start out with church and individual. If you say, “I’m just buying one thing for me,” then it gives you a path to follow, if you’re buying for the church it gives you a path to follow, and it’s a great tool to help you get started on purchasing digital resources. This would be used whether you’re buying Explore the Bible, whether you’re buying Bible Studies for Life or whether you’re buying The Gospel Project. All three of those resource sets are included in this tool lifeway.com/digitalstudies. So, who do you contact with a question or comment? Well, you would contact me firstname.lastname@example.org. You see my email on the screen, you see my phone number. It’s much easier to contact me by email because of us working from anywhere these days. So, just keep that as the number one option. You can also go to goExploreTheBible.com/blog and you can find out more about what we provide for students and kids, you can find about translations, what’s available in CSB, what’s available in King James. What about NIV? What about ESV? You can also find our family connection resources there, our weekly podcasts for leaders and sermon ideas that support the lessons that are available as well. And those are free. Everything I just mentioned there; the family connection, the weekly podcast and the sermon ideas, those are all free resources available. Thank you for your time. Thank you for letting me share about Explore the Bible. Ken, I’m going to turn it back to you.
– Very good, we’re in the home stretch. Daniel, thank you for letting us be with you today and the leaders from your state. I’m going to end where we started, back with the steak illustration. The people in my family that like it well done or rare or I’m the guy in the middle that likes it medium, we’re still eating steak at the end of the day, right? That’s what we’re going to do but it’s just going to be served up to us three different ways when we go to a restaurant. That’s just how our family is. Well, we found Bible study groups are very similar. There are ways that they like their Bible studies served up. Some are going to really resonate with what Lynn talked about, with Bible Studies for Life with those topical six week studies. That’s going to really get to resonate. Others will like their steak, their Bible study served up like Aaron described The Gospel Project does in a three-year chronological sequence. And others may like their Bible study served up in a nine-year format like Dwayne described book-by-book. And so we feel like whatever way a person or a group likes to study the Bible, we’ve got some good solutions. And so Daniel, I hope that we have helped to introduce, clarify or even open the eyes of your state leaders to maybe even some resources in these product families that they were not aware of. Again, thanks for letting us be a part of it and Daniel, over to you.
– All right, well, thank you very much, Ken. I’ll just say to our audience we appreciate your participation and please feel free to use this even in training your leaders or whatever need that you have to meet through this and take advantage of the opportunities you have to go to the websites mentioned or to contact these leaders. Lifeway has been a faithful partner to us in studying God’s word and advancing the kingdom. And so we’re thankful for each of you, again, all our friends, and I’m glad they’ve given their time today to help us better prepare for the future. God bless you all. Take care and thank you for joining us.