Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Using a Base (Core) Bible Study Curriculum: The Benefits

Imagine for a moment, a church where people are walking through the corridors, talking about a passage out of Hebrews they have recently studied during Bible study group time. Their conversations center around what they have discovered and how the passage has challenged their lives. Or, imagine a couple of Bible study group leaders running into each other during the week. Their conversation includes discussing how they are going to teach the next passages in Hebrews. In that brief conversation, they are able to provide ideas to one another that will help them teach their groups. These are just a few ways using a base (core) Bible study curriculum can help raise the bar of effectiveness for your open, ongoing, Bible study groups. 

Here are some other advantages:

  • Using a base curriculum provides a common language across the groups and church. Besides giving people the opportunity to have discussions about what they have studied, and teachers the chance to discuss the study among themselves, using a base curriculum also provides you with the opportunity to more effectively lead your teachers. You can provide teaching helps, additional resources, and ideas. You can provide guidance in how to teach. You can speak into the theological challenges of a passage. I actually use a blog approach to help my teachers. Feel free to check it out: www.nbcconnect.blogspot.com
  • Using base curriculum provides unity and direction. When everyone is wrestling with teaching/studying the same truths and moving in the same direction, unity is created and elevated. On the other hand, allowing groups to choose their own individual curriculum makes it more challenging to develop a common, unified direction for your Bible study group ministry.
  • Using a base curriculum provides accountability. Ultimately it is the pastor who is accountable for what is taught in each class. Since he is accountable, it is vital that teachers willingly submit themselves to the accountability of the church. You can confidently state to the church and guests that you know what is being taught. If teachers "do only what is right in their own eyes," it can lead to the absence of truth in some classes, especially as your groups multiply. While allowing one teacher to teach what they choose might not do any harm, allowing multiple groups to do so can and most likely will open the door to a lack of unity, accountability, direction, and biblical soundness.
  • A base curriculum provides a guide but doesn't dictate the approach to teaching. I always tell teachers that the curriculum is only a guide. Their job is to teach the Bible. They don't have to use the learner guides or the teaching helps. I just ask that they agree to teach the biblical text for that week and focus on the teaching goal for that week along with every other group. They can even pull in additional resources, if appropriate.
In my post last week, Bible Study Curriculum: Map Out a Direction, I provided a chart of curriculum providers. Many of those companies provide a good selction of curriculum that could be used as a base curriculum. Check out the chart to see if any of these providers might work for you.

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