Small Group Studies for the New Year

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The new year is almost upon us, and whether choosing curriculum for small groups in the new year or fresh studies for personal use, here I want to share some background about 3 studies from Seedbed that could help fulfill all of these purposes.

1) Invitation to the Bible by Brian Russell

InvitationBiblical literacy is often hailed as one of the prime reasons for the moral and spiritual decline of the West. Well, it’s one of those chicken and egg dynamics for sure, but certainly familiarity with God’s redemptive story as told through Scripture is a means of grace by which the Spirit draws us into the redemptive story for ourselves. Jesus made this claim in John 17:17 when he prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” God’s revelation in Scripture is the primary way we are shaped into the image of Christ.

Sometimes it’s difficult to talk about the basics of faith with new believers or to train them in doctrinal matters without the foundational stories and teachings of Scripture. But mature Christians aren’t immune from this either. We often get caught up in the minutia of a parable or theological exposition in one of Paul’s letters, without appropriately placing the text within the grand narrative of Scripture. In this way we don’t see the retrospective quotes and allusions, and often miss the point the text is making. We miss the forest for the trees, so to speak.

Invitation to the Bible study is a perfect remedy for that. In this video and workbook study, Brian Russell—beloved by his students—shines as a gifted teacher as he walks you through the biblical narrative. See for yourself how Brian’s passion for teaching God’s word shines through these dynamic Seven Minute Seminary videos: “Reading the Bible as a Mission Document“, “The Bible as a Mission Document (Pt. 2),” “Reading with a Missional Hermeneutic: Psalm 1,“Reading with a Missional Hermeneutic: Psalm 2.” This is also the perfect study to initiate a community into using our new OneBook Bible study series.

Each week of this 10-week study offers 30 minutes of video followed by group discussion around a prepared set of lessons produced in a 144-page study book. It will be ideal for Bible study sessions requiring approximately 90 minutes of meeting time. Each chapter of Invitation is formatted with several consistent components: daily readings, weekly video, weekly group session outline, and conversation.

2) Encounter the Spirit by Carolyn Moore

EncountertheSpirit Front CVR SMThe third person of the Trinity doesn’t get much attention in some circles. Some treat him as the weird uncle who shows up to family get-togethers—we know he’s there, but really, we’d prefer him to remain quiet and not make things awkward. Especially in mainline communities, you can go through church your entire life without hearing any teaching about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

While it’s certainly true that one of the primary roles of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ (John 16:14), this doesn’t happen by simply ignoring him. A healthy spirituality acknowledges the central role he plays in our lives and welcomes him to this blessed role, both in producing fruit and empowering his church to carry out its mission through spiritual gifts.

In Encounter the Spirit, Carolyn Moore leads us through biblical teaching about the Holy Spirit and uses personal examples of what a life of surrendered to Spirit might look, even when it’s shocking, challenging, or uncomfortable. But the payoff is incredible—an abundant life that is rich with God’s empowering presence. This is the second of a three part series that works to lead us into an encounter with the Father (forthcoming), Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Each week of this seven-week study offers 45 minutes of video followed by group discussion around a prepared set of questions produced in a 170-page guidebook. It will be ideal for Bible study sessions requiring between 90-120 minutes of meeting time.

3) Epic of Eden by Sandra Richter

eden_grandeIt’s true—one of the great chasms between Bible readers and understanding the text is the enormous difference between the world of the Bible and that of our own. Concepts like covenant, redemption, and kingship often fall on deaf ears because we project our own (mis)understandings of these words onto the text. So covenant loses its weight, redemption is reduced to an exchange, and kingship conjures up images of George III.

That’s because before we can surrender ourselves to God’s word, we must first grasp its meaning. This is where a Bible teacher like Sandra Richter comes in. She brings the world of the Old Testament to life in fresh ways by explaining the “cultural barrier,” and then going on to explore the “real time and real space” that illumines Scripture to us.

Beginning with creation, Sandra works her way through the stories, characters, and covenants in the Old Testament and ends by showing how Jesus in the New Testament fulfills the role of king that was promised under the first covenant. All the while, maps, charts, and reflective questions invite the serious reader into grappling with the text and exploring how it might shape us into God’s people for the 21st century. Check out the accessibility and wisdom of Sandra in some of these Seven Minute Seminary episodes.

Each week of this 12-week study offers approximately 30 minutes of video teaching followed by group discussion around a prepared set of questions produced in a 210-page study book. It will be ideal for Bible study sessions requiring approximately 90 minutes of meeting time. Throughout the week, Dr. Richter tasks group members with challenges, readings, and questions for reflection.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Andrew, Are these DVDs available in a format that is compatible with European players (i.e. either Region 0 or Region 2)? I’d love to do each of these courses with with our small groups but only have UK players.

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