This fall, LifeWay will launch Bible Studies for Life, an ongoing curriculum series for all ages. Bible Studies for Life General Editor Ronnie Floyd spoke with Facts and Trends about how the new curriculum will help the local church meet the spiritual needs of its members and engage unreached people in its community with the gospel.
Facts and Trends: What are the benefits of the Bible Studies for Life curriculum for a local church?
Ronnie Floyd: The number-one benefit of this curriculum series is it will be an experience “where the Bible meets your life.” Weekly, we will communicate the power of Christ as people engage both their spiritual community and this Christ-less culture. Without any doubt at all, this is “from the church to the church” as spiritual leaders from all walks of life have poured their intellect, heart, and passion into this curriculum.
F&T: How did you choose the topics that will be the focus of each unit?
Floyd: As general editor my vision, along with the LifeWay team’s vision, was to enlist a diverse, gifted, and responsible advisory council of leaders from all segments of the local church to help us design a curriculum series that addresses the challenges of daily life. As we mined their gifts and desires, this group of pastors, small group leaders, theologians, scholars, and teachers worked with us to determine the scope and sequence for the next three years of the Bible Studies for Life curriculum series. Our commitment is to ensure the promise “where the Bible meets your life.”
F&T: What are the distinctions of Bible Studies for Life?
Floyd: We have created at least three distinctions in this series.
First, we created several series to help our churches offer relevant subjects that will provide what we are calling “ramps” to help them engage unreached and unchurched people effectively. We want to see the small-group ministries of churches, however and whenever they meet, return to a commitment to evangelize unreached and unchurched people through the ministry of their groups.
Second, we are creating an option for the same subject matter to be addressed over a six-week period from the pulpit and in the small group ministry a couple of times a year. Resources will be provided to assist pastors in this process. Such church-wide experiences can have a huge payoff for our churches spiritually and directionally, resulting in biblical unity.
Third, we want to teach people the Word of God from the Word of God. Therefore, while addressing the needs we face in life, we will do so through various books of the Bible and always with a commitment to explain how the text speaks to real life. For example, Chip Henderson, pastor of the fast-growing Pinelake Church in Brandon, Mississippi, is writing the first six-week series to the church straight from the book of James. This series will address the subject of pressure. People will learn the Word of God and see how it addresses the pressures we face throughout life. Once again, we believe the Bible will meet your life.
F&T: Bible Studies for Life is meant to help strengthen families. How so?
Floyd: Our desire is for families to experience, as much as possible, the same subject or principle each week. When they go home, we want families to have spiritual and biblical subjects to talk about together. In addition, there will be support materials to help parents reinforce what their children have learned in their Bible study group, share what they learned in their group, and connect the two together. We want to help parents in their role as the primary disciple makers of their children.
F&T: How can Bible Studies for Life help churches connect with those unconnected from church?
Floyd: As I mentioned earlier, this is one of the distinctions of this curriculum series. As we create these ramps for connecting with the unreached and unchurched by addressing relevant subjects the Bible speaks to, we will also be able to engage new people into groups. Some of these may take place on your church campus, while others may occur in a coffee shop, a home, or a conference room. We also believe these relevant subjects will help many people who may already attend our worship services connect with an existing or new group.
F&T: What are some of the new elements in the curriculum for kids and teens?
Floyd: The series will have two six-week units each quarter, plus an extra lesson. These sessions will conceptually align with the adult and student lessons – and align completely during the two campaign units each year. Additionally, there are many exciting new elements being designed for kids and their leaders. These experiences will be enhanced with videos that will challenge kids to learn and apply the truths of the Bible. Leader packs – with all new teaching pictures – are being improved so those who teach kids will have a joyful experience.
F&T: How is the curriculum organized? Can it be used in different environments (i.e. small groups/Sunday school)?
Floyd: Bible Studies for Life will offer what we call narrowly graded and broadly graded options. We’ve developed materials specifically for babies, for senior adults, and every group in between. Regarding environments, we are designing the materials to be used in on-campus weekend groups and off-campus weekday groups. This is especially true for the adult materials. The six-week units will be available individually as short-term studies, as well as in the 13-session ongoing editions.
F&T: What resources are available to Bible Studies for Life leaders?
Floyd: We think leaders will love the improved leader guides and leader packs. In addition, there will be robust helps available online for leaders of kids, students, and adults. Adult and student leaders will also have rich additional commentaries available if they want to dive deeper into the background text for each session. Biblical Illustrator, the popular and colorful supplemental publication, will continue to provide articles in support of Bible Studies for Life, as well as LifeWay’s other ongoing adult curriculum lines.
F&T: What will individuals take away from this new curriculum line?
Floyd: We pray they will experience life change as they interact with the biblical material in their groups each week. We are optimistic that as Christ followers are discipled through the teaching of God’s Word by a caring shepherd, serving the Lord through His church will be highlighted and engagement of the culture will occur without compromise. The Christian life is experienced in three spheres: Christ, community, and culture. Bible Studies for Life will help churches equip their people to experience the abundant life Jesus offers in all three spheres.