Looking for a study that will appeal to your friends and neighbors? As you know, it takes a special topic to spark an interest in unchurched friends and neighbors. Not just any topic will do. See also, Your Topic Determines Two Huge Outcomes and Does Your Topic Connect with Your True Customer?.
While certainly not an exhaustive list, I’ve put together a short list of what I think are some of the best outreach oriented studies. And by outreach, I don’t mean purely evangelistic. In some cases the real potential of these studies is simply to start a conversation.
Here are 6 studies that will make invitation easy and the conversation lively:
Freeway: A Not So Perfect Guide to Freedom is a powerful seven session study by Mike Foster and Garry Poole. Built on God’s amazing grace, honest conversations with friends, and finding freedom from deepest pain and struggles, Freeway is way more than a study. It’s an experience in the very best sense of the word.
I love this study. If you’re looking for a study that will take people on a journey, a grace-filled journey, toward the life God dreams for them, you’ll love this study too. Freeway is the kind of study that will cause you to see every other study in a new light. Great stuff. I loved it and I think you will too.
You can read my full review right here.
Finding Your Way Back to God: Five Awakenings to Your New Life has the most powerful outreach potential I’ve come across in a long time. If you’ve not had a chance to spend some time with the book yet, you need to make time! This book is a game-changer!
I love the potential of this study. Whether you do the study with a couple friends or use it in your small group, there is real potential for many, many people to find their way back to God. I highly recommend that you take a look at Finding Your Way Back to God.
As the subtitle indicates, there are five awakenings “that almost always occur in a person’s journey back to God.” I like the way the authors describe the awakenings: “Where people start and what motivates them to begin this journey are often different, but the stages they go through are remarkably similar.” The book explores five different “God, if you are real” prayers that are intended to arouse the five awakenings.
You can read my full review of the book right here.
Craig Groeschel’s WEIRD: Because Normal Isn’t Working is based on the central idea that the “broad road leads to destruction” (normal) and the “narrow road” leads to life (weird). Inspired by Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:13-14, the study takes a look at a set of topics that will make sense to Christians and non-Christians alike.
The DVD sessions are a combination of key portions of Groeschel’s LifeChurch.TV weekend message series and special segments that introduce, enhance or summarize the topic. One of the Church’s most dynamic and creative communicators, Craig Groeschel’s practice of looking right at the camera while preaching (making it easy for participants in one of 15 campuses and a growing number of LifeChurch.TV Network churches around the world who use the teaching video). The DVD is very compelling. You can read my full review right here.
Based on a 2013 message series by Andy Stanley, Follow is an 8 session DVD-driven study that will take your group “on a journey through the Gospels, tracing Jesus’ teaching on what it means to follow.” I found it particularly intriguing that Stanley pointed out numerous times that Jesus’ first followers were not yet believers.
Back when this series was being given at North Point, I downloaded these messages and listened to them multiple times. Andy Stanley’s way of explaining what it means to follow Jesus is very easily understood and I shared it with many of my friends. It might be my favorite Andy Stanley message series.
DVD-driven, each of the sessions is a 17 to 22 minute clip from an Andy Stanley message. One of the most compelling communicators in America, this is must see TV. Never flashy or fancy, Stanley is known for his ability to draw out life-changing truth and deliver it in a way that is both inspiring and very memorable. Follow is an excellent example of his pattern of taking difficult or challenging ideas and presenting them in a way that leads to application.
You can read my full review right here.
What On Earth Am I Here For?, the 2013 revision of 40 Days of Purpose, definitely remains on my list. Everyone wonders if there is a reason or a purpose to life; if there’s more to it than we make of it. This study addresses questions that everyone has. An easy invite for neighbors and friends, this is a truly cross-cultural topic. In addition, Rick Warren and The Purpose Driven Life are both very familiar to many unchurched people.
I should note that this is a completely updated study. Every component, even the Purpose Driven Life itself, has been completely retooled and updated to respond to today’s challenges. For example, The Purpose Driven Life now includes video introductions and an online audio lesson at the end of each chapter as well as two new bonus chapters on the most common barriers to living the purpose driven life and access to an online community for feedback and support.
Need more information? You can find out more in my full review.
I have to say Life As We Know It is easily one of the most intriguing new small group experiencesI’ve seen in several years. The powerful idea that makes this study so interesting is that everybody has a story. Further, “sharing stories is foundational to community and the meaningful relationships we all long for.”
Because Life As We Know It is not a Bible study, it is well-suited for use with neighbors, friends and co-workers as well as small groups and ministry teams. In my mind, the fact that it is designed to “facilitate gatherings where the art of storytelling is practiced and deeper relationships are forged” is one of the genius elements of the experience. You can read my full review right here.