Looking for curriculum for small groups? Here are three suggestions

If you are starting a new season of small group meetings and are looking for a possible curriculum to use, here are three that you can consider.

1. Worldview Rethink with By This Name

DESCRIPTION: What is the main message of the Bible? Who is Jesus? What are the cross and the tomb all about? How is the Old Testament relevant to our understanding of the New Testament? This study takes you on a journey from creation to the cross to explain the core message of the Bible.

AUDIENCE: For people who want a solid biblical foundation, including those who want to learn or be refreshed in the message of the gospel.

TIME NEEDED: 16 hours (e.g., 8 sessions of 2 hours each)

RESOURCES: Leader’s guide, coursebook, workbook, DVD or online videos, visual aids

FORMAT OF STUDY: Dynamic reading. Leaders read the course book narrative. Group reads the Scripture verses. Reading is interspersed with video clips and visual aids. The group also uses the workbook together. Learn more about Dynamic Reading-Leading-Modelling.

REVIEW: “This book and the DVD series and workbook that accompany it are by far the best, most clearly stated overview of the Bible I’ve seen. It is an excellent foundational base that can be used with new Christians, mature Christians, and non-Christians. I used it to start a neighbourhood ladies’ Bible study with ladies from several different faiths. It was so well-received that once we finished it, we were then able to start studying one of the books of the Bible (Mark). I highly recommend this for use by an individual, small group, or large group, or anyone seeking to understand the Bible as a whole.” – Melissa

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Free Bible Study: The Hebrew Tabernacle—A Model of Messiah

Detailed view of the Ark of the covenantJust as Jesus used parables to illustrate and bring to life his teachings, so God frequently used visual aids in the Old Testament to better illuminate our understanding of many spiritual truths.

That is certainly true of the Hebrew Tabernacle—an amazing picture of God’s plan of redemption for mankind.

We have two visual aid resources and a set of free lessons that help explain the purpose and meaning of the Tabernacle.

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TERM Seminar: I realized how much the world really has changed

TERM Seminar in Coeur d'Alene, ID

I realized how much the world really has changed… we really can’t just assume people are biblically literate—even those who attend our church every week. I’m going to talk to church leadership about how we can use these tools for outreach… and also with everyone who is already in our church.” – Fletcher, 2015 TERM participant

Fletcher was enthusiastic as he shared with us his evangelism plans. Having finished the one-day TERM Seminar in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, he had caught the vision of how it was possible for an ordinary believer like himself to reach the people in his community with the gospel. He had come to see that in today’s world, believers needed to rethink how to share the unchanging gospel in a way that makes sense to people with little or no knowledge about the Bible.

Fletcher was among 100 attendees who were at the first of our seven seminars being held across the USA this fall. Some of the participants lived right in town. Others came from as far away as Libby, Montana and Seattle, Washington. But the ones who travelled the farthest were those of a church group from British Columbia, Canada!

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Introducing the new “By This Name” Interactive Edition and Leader’s Guide

By This Name leader's guide and interactive edition

By This Name is our premier evangelism and discipleship resource. We are pleased to announce the launch of two new books in this family: By This Name Interactive Edition and By This Name Leader’s Guide.

In today’s world, many adopt their own brand of spirituality to make God out to be anything they want. A growing majority consider God to be an impersonal force. As believers, we often wonder how to respond to these worldviews.

By This Name utilizes a seldom-used but solidly biblical method to set apart the God of the Bible from other forms of spirituality, all the while answering two questions: “Who is Jesus?” and “What are the cross and tomb all about?” It establishes the authority of Scripture and gently compares the biblical worldview with other worldviews in an objective, non-arm-twisting way.

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Counselling with “By This Name”

Worldview Rethink Visual Aids organizedAs a church counsellor, Stephen* encounters Christians in all manner of difficulties—couples facing marital problems, people who are suffering depression, others with addictions of all kinds, even a few who are suicidal. While the challenges that his clients face come from many diverse sources, one common theme he’s discovered is a lack of understanding of who God is. Stephen is discovering that more and more, people today—even Christians—do not know much about God. Their knowledge of God’s character—his sovereignty, holiness, power, love—is very limited, or worse, incorrect. As a consequence, their lives are filled with little hope. They have a low view of God.

Additionally, many clients believe that they can make themselves right before God. They strive to act right, speak right and live right. They fail to understand the power of sin in their lives and how, on their own, they cannot lead lives acceptable to God. They have an unbiblical view of their human nature.

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How do I share the gospel with a young lady who has difficulty reading?

Woman reading bookQuestion: I gave a friend one of your books but I’ve since found out that she is dyslexic. Can you suggest how I can share the gospel with her?

Answer: An audiobook would be good for your friend and, depending upon her background, we have several that might work for her. We currently have these (with more being developed):

In addition, here are some additional suggestions.

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Five ways to engage teenagers with Worldview Rethink

Reading notesWe joined our church this past summer and, after a few months, were asked to teach the youth Sunday school class. We were excited to get involved but a little nervous, since we didn’t know the students very well. Because we were already familiar with the Worldview Rethink curriculum, we decided it would be a good starting point. Now, we are about halfway through. Over the weeks, we’ve learned a few things that have helped us engage our youth with the Bible.

1. Include them in the process (visual aids)

We hosted a “Tabernacle Party” at our house one Sunday evening. The youth that came helped us assemble the tabernacle model. Besides this, we’ve also had the youth help locate materials and be responsible for our “How do I teach death using a branch” that illustrates our life apart from the source of life.

2. Help every participant be comfortable

Because the curriculum is set up to include everyone, the expectations are easy and clear. Any time there is a scripture reference that is italicized, the students read aloud. We have the youth decide who goes first and in which order they’ll take turns. Sometimes it’s clockwise and, at other times, it’s counterclockwise. Sometimes it’s random. It didn’t take long for them to be comfortable with participating. It may not seem like much, but we want to include them in every way possible!

3. Make sure no one gets left behind by doing a review each week

One of the challenges we’ve faced is not having the same group each week. We don’t want anyone to be confused if we make reference to a previous lesson. So each week, we take the first ten to fifteen minutes to carefully review what we’ve covered so far. In particular, we look at how each person or generation has attempted to bridge the chasm, caused by sin, to reach God. We’ve been impressed with the comprehension of the students, even those who have missed a session. (For those who want to catch up at home, they can watch the Learn about the Bible online course.)

4. Allowing plenty of time for questions

We’ve been intrigued by the questions that have come up as we’ve gone through this course. You can gauge what is being understood, and what previous biblical knowledge they may have (or may not have!), by the kinds of questions that are being asked. For example, we hear questions such as, “So the Israelites actually packed up everything in the Tabernacle and carried it around in the wilderness? How heavy was it? How far did they have to go? How many people did it take to carry everything?” When questions come up that will be covered later, the curriculum has a built-in way of not getting too sidetracked—the clothes basket visual aid has been invaluable, really!

5. Be available outside of class to build trust and answer questions

Sometimes we just can’t cover everything or answer questions as in depth as we might like. We made sure all the kids knew how to contact us if they thought of other questions or wanted more information. Being available to them has built trust and opened the door for all kinds of conversations that we may not have had without the Worldview Rethink class as a starting point.

Working with youth has unique challenges. But, each week we are impressed with the fact that each student, whether a new believer, a student seeking answers about the Bible, or one who has been raised in church, are all learning. These materials have been the perfect beginning point for us, as we navigate our new role as leaders and get to know the youth. Since the teaching is foundational and structured, it makes the time run smoothly.

As we continue through the course, we continue to pray for each one. It’s our prayer that each one might come to have the kind of clear and powerful understanding that will enable God to use them to share his message with others.

Additional thoughts

When you are going through a Worldview Rethink study in a Sunday school setting, there are three key factors to bear in mind. First is regular attendance. For Sunday school, the students tend to drop in and out of class. Each week, you might be faced with a slightly different group and so reviewing the gospel story covered so far is very important. As a teacher, you need to encourage regular attendance and devise a plan to allow students who have missed sessions to catch up. To help students who miss certain sessions stay on track, you can inform them of the pages that was covered. This way, students can read up on what they had missed and when they join the next class, they will not be behind the other students.

Second is the amount of teaching time you have for each lesson. Sunday school sessions are often short. Before a teacher can really get going, time runs out! If you can create a solid block of teaching time each week (an hour or more), it will help the story progress faster and in a more coherent manner.

The third factor is grasping the overall picture. Often in a Sunday school setting, the teaching becomes disjointed or fractured because of sporadic attention spans and short sessions. Because Worldview Rethink explains the gospel message as a chronological historical narrative, stretching the story over too many weeks may mean that the students do not get the full picture. It’s like watching ten minutes of a movie each week for ten weeks (and missing some segments). The story gets muddled because students are missing pieces of it.

So while the opportunity to teach Worldview Rethink in Sunday school is an exciting prospect, please bear these challenges in mind. If you have questions, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or write to us at hello[at]goodseed.com.