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Don’t Miss This Unique Study: The Power of Your Story

power of your storyI had the opportunity this week to spend some time with a study from Thomas Nelson that I think you might find pretty interesting.  The Power of Your Story is not brand new (it was published in 2012), but is so different and fresh that I think you’ll want to check it out.

Developed by Ben Arment, creator of Story in Chicago and Dream Year (and author of Dream Year), The Power of Your Story is “designed to explore the Christian life through the lens of story.  Each of the seven sessions is oriented around a classic element of screenwriting.  If you enjoy watching movies, you’ll love considering your own life through the same storytelling principles (from the Conversation Guide).”

DVD-driven, The Power of Your Story is a 7 session small group experience.  Every  session features a fascinating conversation between five very interesting people (Ben Arment, Ginny Owens, Chris Seay, Leonard Sweet, and Pete Wilson).  Also included in every session is a vignette featuring an engaging story told by one of the five).  The DVD segments are just the right length (12 to 18 minutes) and will easily hold your members’ attention.

The Conversation Guide includes several elements that will help your members engage in the study.  Along with the DVD segment, every session features a Bible study that will help your members get into the story of David.  Every session also include a well-designed set of group discussion questions, an experiments in story segment, and an exploring the story further section (daily Bible readings and reflection questions).

The Power of Your Story also includes a very comprehensive Leader’s Guide that will help even brand new leaders facilitate an very good group experience.

If you’re looking for a study that will provide a unique experience for groups, take a look at The Power of Your Story.  I’m not sure how I missed it in 2012…but I loved this one and I think you will too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Don’t Miss This Study: Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry

OverwhelmedHad an opportunity this week to preview a new study from Perry Noble.  Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry is a six week, DVD-driven study on a topic that is dead center for many, many people.  Noble, the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church, “a growing, vibrant church with multiple locations all over the state of South Carolina,” is a gifted communicator and teacher, convicted about speaking the truth as plainly as possible.

Overwhelmed is a DVD-driven study, featuring the dynamic teaching of Perry Noble.  At 20 to 23 minutes in length, these sessions will hold everyone’s attention.  Clipped from a weekend message series at NewSpring, there is never a dull moment.  Powerful personal examples and great visuals will captivate your members.

The Bible study book is well designed and includes everything your members need for a powerful experience.  Each of the six sessions includes three components to help every member get the most out of the meeting:

  1. Start includes questions to get the study started and introduce the video
  2. Watch features a video viewing guide to make it easier to to take notes
  3. Respond is a great set of discussion questions that will help your group respond to the Bible and Perry Noble’s teaching.

Also included in every session are three components designed to help your members understand and apply concepts before the next session:

  1. Closer Look is designed to help members assess their personal situation.
  2. Personal Study is designed to help members understand what God has to say to them.
  3. Next Steps is designed to help members apply what they’ve learned.

Overwhelmed is a very good study and it will impact many, many people in almost every group.  Perry Noble is one of the most dynamic communicators in America and his own personal experiences with this topic will grab your members attention from the opening moments.  The application elements that are built in to the Bible study book are really exceptional.  Some very good work has crafted an excellent experience.  I loved Overwhelmed and I think you will too.  I highly recommend this study.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Don’t Miss “Jesus Is”: A New DVD-Driven Study from Judah Smith

jesus isHad an opportunity this week to preview a new study by Judah Smith.  Jesus Is: Find a New Way to Be Human is an 8 session small group study that reveals the character of Jesus in a powerful way.  Judah Smith is the Lead Pastor of The City Church, a multi-site church with thousands in attendance each weekend in the Seattle area.  He’s also a popular speaker at conferences and events in the United States and abroad.

(From the introduction) “Jesus is ______________?  That question was at the heart of a campaign The City Church launched with the goal of getting Seattle to think about Jesus.  Given a chance to fill in the blank on a website, Jesus-Is.org, thousands of answers came in.  “Some were profound.  Some were hilarious.  Some were spiteful.  But all of them said something about the spiritual journeys of the people filling in the blanks.”

Jesus Is “breaks down who Jesus is and explains how understanding Jesus more fully will enrich your life and give new meaning to your existence.”  The session titles are:

  • Scandalous Grace
  • Friend of Sinners
  • With You Always
  • Alive Together
  • Accusers & Advocates
  • Count the Ways
  • With Us and For Us
  • Live Like You’re Righteous

DVD-driven, Jesus Is features a series of simple but profound teachings by Smith.  The videos are short, averaging 5 to 8 minutes in length.

The Participant’s Guide is simple but very effective.  After watching the DVD, every discussion is set up with several scripture passages to be read aloud by the group.  A well crafted set of thought-provoking questions prompt group discussion.  Daily readings accompany each session and consist of a Bible passage, a short devotional thought and a few questions for reflection.  Although there is no leader’s guide, this study is well-designed and easy to use for brand new and experienced group leaders.

Jesus Is will fill in a blank spot on many recommended lists.  If you’re looking for a study that will help group members gain a deeper understanding of Jesus and His character, you need to take a look at Jesus Is.  I liked it and I think you will too!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

New from North Point: [7] Seven Questions that Rattle in the Minds of Most Men

seven questions 2[7] Seven Questions that Rattle in the Minds of Most Men is a powerful new study based on a 7 week study that has been offered at North Point over the last several years.  Now available from North Point Ministries, this is a resource you need to be aware of.

Developed as a way to help men explore God’s design for manhood, [7] invites men to “live free and lead well.”  Now available as a 7 session, DVD-driven study.  The video sessions are short, just 7 to 8 minutes (perfect for today’s attention span) and feature John Woodall, North Point’s Director of Men’s Groups.

The participant guide is really well thought out as an introductory study for men.  No preparation necessary, the study is easy to use as a first step out of the auditorium.
Although the 7 questions are very basic and you may have read in other books and resources over the years, it is a very provocative set.  They may seem elementary, but there are some powerful discussions wrapped up right here.  What are they?

  1. Where Am I?
  2. What’s My Story?
  3. Who Am I?
  4. Why Am I Here?
  5. Where Am I Going?
  6. What About Women?
  7. Who Can I Trust?

Although [7] is very intuitively designed, a helpful leader resource is available at GroupLeaders.org/7 with both video coaching from John Woodall and an online leader notes.

If you’re looking for an idea that will pull unconnected men into community, I think you’re going to discover that [7] Seven Questions that Rattle in the Minds of Most Men is a great new addition.  I really like this study and I think you will too.

Becoming More: A New Study from Lysa TerKeurst

becoming moreHad an opportunity this week to preview a new study from Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times bestselling author and speaker who helps everyday women live an adventure of faith through following Jesus Christ. As president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa has led thousands to make their walk with God an invigorating journey.

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl is a 6 session study for women that “guides participants on an incredible, tremendously rewarding journey on which they will discover how to:

  • Build personal, two-way conversations with God
  • Study the Bible and experience life-change for themselves
  • Cultivate greater authenticity and depth in their relationships
  • Make disappointments work for them, not against them
  • Find incredible joy as they live out their faith in everyday circumstances

DVD-driven, the study features Lysa TerKeurst’s easy conversational and story-telling style.  Set up with an attention grabbing personal story, a short Bible teaching lays the foundation for the sessions discussion.  With an average length of about 15 minutes, the video teaching is in the range that holds attention very well.

The participant’s guide includes a video viewing guide and a simple set of discussion questions for each session.  Providing a daily experience, the each session also includes a Between Sessions Personal Bible Study.

TerKeurst’s very popular book by the same title makes an excellent companion (and the participant’s guide provides a reading schedule).

Becoming More Than a Bible Study Girl is a straightforward study that will provide a very good next step for women’s small groups or Bible studies.  If you’re looking for a study that will help group members take spiritual next steps beyond business-as-usual, Becoming More is a study you ought to take a look at.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Follow: A New DVD-Driven Study from Andy Stanley

followI’ve been waiting for this one to arrive!  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.”

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.

The DVD also includes a selection of promotional resources (bulletin inserts, postcard templates, poster and powerpoint slide) making Follow a study that could be used effectively as a church-wide campaign.  The only thing missing is a set of transcripts, but the inclusion of complete messages (along with the message clips) would enable a pastor to see and hear how the whole package works.

The participant’s guide includes everything you need to unpack the profound set of ideas that form the basis of this series:

  • A well-designed discussion starter helps the group take a first look at the topic.
  • A video overview and a section for taking notes enables a look ahead at the teaching to come and a place to jot down key ideas.
  • A great set of discussion questions that will help group members dig deep into the content.
  • Mileposts keep your members focused on the central truths.
  • Moving Forward and Changing Your Mind provide direction for next steps.
  • 5 short devotional segments help set up the next session.
  • Every participant guide also includes a very complete leader’s guide (making it possible for groups to rotate facilitators).

When I saw that they’d taken the content and created an 8 week small group curriculum, I was so excited for you!  This is a powerful study.  Your small group members need this content.  I love Follow and I think you will too!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Enlist Your Congregation in the Mission with “Life on Mission”

Life on Mission largeHad an opportunity to preview a new church-wide campaign from Tim Harlow (produced by Lifetogether and published by Pastors.com).  Life on Mission: God’s People Finding God’s Heart for the World is a 6 week campaign that “offers clear Bible teaching designed to empower you to share your faith with people right in your own neighborhood.”

If you’re not familiar with Tim Harlow, he is the senior pastor of Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park, Illinois, one of the fastest growing churches in America for 7 of the last 10 years.  I had the great privilege of serving on Tim’s staff at Parkview and am so excited that his teaching ended up in a campaign we can all take advantage of!

Taking his cue from Acts 1:8, the teaching centers on the powerful realization that although reaching the world is important, the United States is actually the 4th largest mission field opportunity and God has placed us where we are for a reason.  Based on Tim’s new book by the same title, I love the way the teaching zeroes in on reaching our own Jerusalem.

DVD-driven, the sessions average 14 to 18 minutes in length and feature a combination of Harlow’s very engaging style of teaching, compelling stories from church members, and a collection of short vignettes by Mindy Caliguire, Tom Holladay, Gene Appel, Jud Wilhite, Lee Strobel, Cam Huxford, Kyle Idelman, Cal Jernigan and Alan Hirsch.

The Life on Mission study guide includes a video viewing guide, an engaging set of discussion questions, a section devoted to applying what you’ve learned, and a digging deeper section designed to help those ready to explore the topic further.  Each of the six sessions also includes a short set of daily quiet time experiences.  A good set of leader and group resources are included in the study guide.

The Life on Mission campaign kit also includes a resource disc loaded with downloadable sermons, series artwork, powerpoint slides, and much more.

If you’re looking for a church-wide campaign that will help your whole congregation step into mission, Life on Mission is calling your name.  I found it very compelling and I think you will too!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Don’t Miss This New Study for Women: Hebrews: The Nearness of King Jesus

hebrewsSpent some time with a new study from Lisa Harper this week.  Hebrews: The Nearness of King Jesus is a 7 session study that takes an engaging look at “two contrasting realities: Jesus is supreme, yet Jesus is approachable.”  I reviewed Malachi: A Love that Never Give Up, an earlier study by Harper, about 18 months ago and loved that one.  Hebrews is no different.  I loved it and I bet your members will too.

DVD-driven, each of the video sessions is 30 minutes to 39 minutes long.  Although the video is a little on the long side by ordinary standards, Harper is such a gifted teacher that these sessions fly by.  A great story-teller, you will find yourself captivated (as I did).

Each session in the member book includes a video guide designed to help everyone capture the key ideas in Harper’s teaching as well as a short set of discussion questions.  In addition to these session resources the member book includes a weekly Bible study to be completed independently.  Along with the Bible study, the independent portion also includes a creative exercise of some kind.  For example, week one’s assignment is to rent and watch To Kill a Mockingbird and think about several application questions.  Finally, every session includes a “extra credit questions for Bible nerds.”

Hebrews: The Nearness of King Jesus is a powerful study.  It ought to be on your radar.  If you’re not familiar with Lisa Harper, you will be soon.  This is good stuff.  I think your members will really find themselves captivated and with a new appreciation for the book of Hebrews.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. In addition, LifeWay is a regular sponsor here at MarkHowellLive.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

New from Bill Hybels: Wiser Together Is a Very Good Addition

wiser togetherWorked my way through a new study from Bill Hybels.  Wiser Together: Learning to Live the Right Way “challenges you and your small group to make doing life together a priority, exploring from the book of Proverbs the inseparable connection between experiencing community and growing in wisdom.”

DVD-driven, Wiser Together is a short study, just 5 sessions.  Featuring teaching by Bill Hybels, the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, the sessions are classic examples of his style.  Each segment is a manageable length, the average time is 13 to 18 minutes.

The study guide includes all of the elements needed for a very good time together.  Along with a video viewing guide, each session includes a warm-up question or two designed to get your group engaged and talking.  A good set of discussion questions pulls members into a better understanding of the wisdom of scripture and a deeper study section provides another question or two if you have time to go further.

The study guide also includes a personal journal section designed to provide a daily experience.  Each day offers the opportunity to reflect, respond and record your thoughts as you study the proverbs.  It’s a short assignment, but will definitely help those new to group life to dig in and get the hang of spending time in the Bible.

In addition, the study guide includes a great set of leader and group resources.  Tips for HOSTs, a group agreement, ideas for inviting friends, a group calendar and a group roster.  While there isn’t a leader’s guide, these resources will certainly help less experienced leaders put together a very good experience.

Wiser Together is a very good addition to the recommended list.  I can definitely see this study becoming a “go to” resource for new groups looking for a good starter study.  I can also see it working very well to establish (or re-establish) a healthy group culture.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am also the Small Group Specialist for LifeWay. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Soul Keeping: A Important New Study from John Ortberg

soul keeping dvdHad a chance to preview John Ortberg’s newest DVD-driven study this week.  Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You is based on Ortberg’s book by the same title and is an exploration of the soul from “the perspective of someone who has struggled to understand and care for his own soul.”  A very personal study, Soul Keeping will take your group in a life-changing direction.

DVD-driven, Soul Keeping is a six-session study featuring classic Ortberg teaching on what might be his sweetest sweet spot.  At 22 to 25 minutes long, the video segments are at the upper end of attention span, but honestly, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the story that the time flies right by.

The study guide includes all of the elements you need for an engaging study:

  • An extensive video viewing guide with space to take notes along with the quotes you wish you could write down and the illustrations that make the idea clear.
  • A group discussion guide that opens the door to an engaging conversation about the key ideas of the session.
  • A short individual activity to be completed on your own during the group meeting.
  • A group practice to complete individually during the following week.  The practice is designed to help members to deeply apply what they are learning.
  • A personal study is also included for the following week.  Although it could be completed in one sitting, each personal study is fairly extensive (6 to 10 pages).

If you’re wondering how to help your group members reclaim or restore their sense of soul health, Soul Keeping might be the most important study your group will do this year.  I loved every minute of it and I think your group will too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am also the Small Group Specialist for LifeWay. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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