Review: Stand Against the Wind (featuring Erwin McManus)

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If you’re trying to develop a range of approved resources for your small group ministry, Stand Against the Wind is a 6 session DVD-driven study that might fill an important niche on your recommended small group curriculum list.

Developed from the same message series that produced one of Erwin McManus’ most engaging books (Stand Against the Wind: Awaken the Hero Within), the central message of this resource is that “the ultimate end of character transformation is larger than just freedom from sin, but freedom to be all that God designed us to be.”  This is an important theme in McManus’ teaching ministry and his passion for it bleeds through in the video.

Much like The Controversial Jesus and Life’s Toughest Questions (previously reviewed from Lifeway’s Platform series), Stand Against the Wind features short teaching segments (12 to 15 minutes approximate) from the Mosaic weekend services.  Because McManus is one of the most animated preachers in America, the format works fairly well and will easily hold the attention of group members.

The member guide (by Jason Jaggard) is well written with a very creative set of warm-up questions, follow-up to the video segments, biblical background, and small group questions.  The biblical references mentioned in the video and study are included, as well, making it easy to use with people who are less familiar with the Bible.  In addition, each of the sessions includes an interesting variety of asides (film and cultural references) that provide additional color.

Two aspects that must be taken into consideration when selecting this curriculum are the lack of a leader guide and the price.  While there are studies that absolutely require a leader guide (in order to be used well by average leaders), Stand Against the Wind isn’t really one of them.  Since the theme and direction of the content (video and study guide) is centered on personal character development, the role of the leader has more to do with facilitation than teaching.  In regards to the the price of the resource, at $24.95 the Leader Kit may seem expensive, but since it comes with a member book (priced at $7.95), it’s actually in line with the industry.

I like this study very much.  If you’re building a well-rounded set of recommended curriculum, I think you’ll see how Stand Against the Wind provides a valuable growth experience for group members.

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