Spent some time with a new study from LifeWay today. Based on her 2011 book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, The 7 Experiment by Jen Hatmaker is a 9 session DVD-driven study that posits a counter-cultural message: It’s not about what you own…it’s about what owns you.
Wrestling with a challenging set of topics, this is a study that will be right up the alley of groups that need to be called to a new level of activism. Not in any way an intellectual project, The 7 Experiment is all about introspection and thoughtful self-awareness with a major twist of application.
Along with an introduction and a wrap-up session, the 7 topics are:
Hatmaker, along with her husband Brandon, is a co-founder of Austin New Church and a popular speaker and author. The DVD sessions feature Jen Hatmaker along with personal stories from many of the non-profit partners of Austin New Church. At 11 t0 16 minutes the DVD segments are pitched just right. Short enough to grab and hold your attention; Long enough to flesh out the concept.
At 189 pages the workbook is content rich. Designed with a Threads feel, the reading commitment will challenge group members that are looking for a show-up unprepared Bible study. Instead, each session in the The 7 Experiment includes 15 to 20 pages of reading with the discussion questions interspersed throughout. Can a member participate without reading the section? Yes, but many of the questions are built on an understanding of the session content.
The upside of The 7 Experiment is that it is one of a very small number of studies that even begin to help groups wrestle with this set of topics. The downside? I think if there is a downside it is that there is a lot of reading. The content is very, very good. It flows well. It has a very personal feel. It guides into a much needed discussion. There’s just a lot to read.
This is a study that will absolutely grab the imagination of certain groups. For others, it will be a challenge for a variety of reasons. Still, if you’re looking for a study that will help your members grapple with the stranglehold of excess, you need to take a look at The 7 Experiment. The payoff is more than worth the investment.