Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bible Study Curriculum: Map out a Direction

One of my most memorable seminary classes was led by Dr. Daryl Eldridge while he was still a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He challenged us to use Bible study curriculum to map out a direction. This process has become invaluable to me as I seek to facilitate opportunities that move people spiritually from one point to another.

Now, many years later, I am still using the process to help me map curriculum in such a way that it enhances the strategic and transformational direction for my adult Bible study groups.

  1. Determine what your base curriculum will be for the year or for several years. Base your core curriculum choice upon the steps mentioned in the previous blog post, Bible Study Curriculum: Ask Seven Questions. The current curriculum my church is using for their base curriculum is Explore the Bible, produced by LifeWay Christian Resources. I will talk more about the use of a base curriculum in the next blog post.
  2. Review church calendar and strategic planning documents for the year to see how the base curriculum aligns with the direction of the church. Identify times when you might need to veer away from your base curriculum.
  3. Identify optional studies for those special emphases or gaps discovered in your review. If you discover gaps or opportunities where you need to plug in an optional study, begin researching to see what might be appropriate.
While the most obvious place to look for optional studies is your current base curriculum provider web-site, there are other options as well. While not exhaustive, the following chart identifies a listing of providers I go to for my optional studies. There are obviously many more providers than those I am listing. These are groups that I trust based on my theological and educational views. The chart primarily focuses on those available for adult Bible study groups that are ongoing and open groups (anyone can join at anytime no matter their spiritual background).


Provider
Description
Print
Digital/
Downloadable
Provides both core curriculum and special short-term  studies.

Yes
Varies
(4:12 Network Affiliate)
May be used as a core curriculum but might be difficult to sustain long-term at this point. Best used for short term studies. Leader material is delivered online.

Yes
Partial
Provides simple-to-use curricula in  different study lengths. Could be used as a core curriculum or for short term studies.

Yes
Yes
Provides over 3,500 discipleship videos for all ages from a variety of leaders. Great resource for short-term special studies.

No
Yes
Provides custom created curriculum for sermon-based group studies to short term studies. A ministry of LifeWay.

No
Yes
(4:12 Network Affiliate)
Provides a platform for creating blended online curriculum for groups. 

Click to see more.
No
Yes

Mapping out a curriculum strategy might seem laborious, but the opportunities it provides are endless. You will have the peace of mind, knowing that you have a direction that intentionally compliments the strategy of the church, your leaders will not be surprised by "special studies," and their respect for you will grow exponentially because they know you have a plan.

If you have additional resources to recommend be sure to share them with us.

Don't forget, you can always search for Bible study group trainers on the 4:12 Network