I had the chance this weekend to work my way through a very good DVD-driven study from Margaret Feinberg. New from Zondervan, Pursuing God’s Love is a six session study that takes a look at several of the major themes of Genesis.
Feinberg, named one of the “Thirty Emerging Voices” of Christian leaders under age 40 by Charisma magazine, is also the author of The Organic God and Scouting the Divine. In the manner we’re all growing accustomed to, Feinberg’s Pursuing God’s Love provides a fresh take on six of the most familiar biblical stories. The accounts of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Esau and Joseph all provide an ancient backdrop for some very familiar, and very modern-day challenges.
In addition to the DVD, there is a robust Participant Guide. At just over 140 pages, the guide provides both a comprehensive weekly group discussion guide and daily personal studies.
The weekly group discussion guide is designed to offer way more than a set of questions. Each session begins with an experiential activity (as an alternative to the now-expected icebreaker question). For example, session one (centered on the story of Adam and Eve) starts by assembling and serving a Garden of Eden style salad bar, complete with a selection of fruits and vegetables.
Along with a note-taking section for use while watching the DVD, there is a thought-provoking set of discussion questions that skillfully mix exercises, notable observations and conversation.
The Personal Studies section provides five daily assignments for each of the six sessions. Although this part of the study could be optional, its inclusion makes Pursuing God’s Love ideal for groups that are looking for a more challenging study. A 15 to 30 minute personal study makes this a study that will appeal to groups accustomed to homework as preparation or response.
If there is any issue with this study it is the lack of a leader’s guide or leader’s notes section. Still, the nature of the questions and combination of experiential and discussion make it reasonable to see this study being used widely by a wide variety of groups and studies.
That said, Pursuing God’s Love is a very good study. If you have groups or studies that are looking for depth, for challenge, and for fresh new insights into some of the oldest and best-known stories…this is one you need to add to your list of recommended curriculum. I highly recommend it!