- Quality teachers/leaders
- Adequate facilities
- Opportunities to develop relationships
- Solid Bible-based curriculum
I have plenty of opportunities to address all those factors to one degree or another. This week, however, I was afforded the opportunity to experience part of the process from a different vantage point. For the past two days I was in Nashville at the corporate office of LifeWay Christian Resources, the primary source of the materials used for Sunday School and discipleship classes by the majority of Southern Baptist churches.
The purpose of the meeting was to hear the results from a recent research study that focused on the usability of the Sunday School learner books — and to brainstorm ways that the learner book could be a more essential element of the Bible study experience.
Having served in similar ministry roles for a number of years, I have spent countless hours explaining to teachers and learners alike that the curriculum is not the end-all-be-all; rather, it is a tool to guide the study of Scripture and to help the learner connect the truths of the Bible to everyday life. During my visit to LifeWay, I was pleased to discover that the writers, editors, and creative team members also share that central belief. Their highest priority is to see their products serve a Kingdom purpose by reaching, teaching, and discipling people in communities and churches like yours and mine. The team at LifeWay is also committed to providing avenues for learners to better prepare individually for the lesson time — and to carry out ideas and actions after the class as well.
My inside look at LifeWay found an organization that very much desires to be fresh, relevant, and in-touch with our ever-changing culture — without compromising the never-changing message of the Gospel.
I walked away from this experience feeling confident that LifeWay is not all about the money. The people in this ministry are about life transformation. Their context may be more of a business model that most churches, but these individuals are utilizing their God-given abilities for the sake of the Kingdom.
The eventual outcome of this two-day brainstorming session is not yet clear. However, I can say without reservation that there are some new things on the horizon to help churches better connect with individuals, to help individuals better connect with God, and to help those who don’t yet know Him to understand why all this work is so important.
It’s not about printed materials; it’s about people. More than that, it’s about Him.