Update: Here's a link to my 2022 list.
Looking for a way to connect unconnected people right after Easter 2020? This year Easter was almost as early as it can be and that makes it a great opportunity to connect another wave of people before summer.
The 5 studies I've chosen to highlight were selected on the basis of their topic. Remember, the topic determines who will say yes to leading/hosting and who will say yes to attending. While existing, longer-term groups might want something deeper or meatier, unconnected people are most open to putting a toe-in-the-water when the topic interests them.
We've been using a study/experience from North Point Ministries called Circle Up, a free 4 part video driven experience (available on Anthology, North Point Ministries' online resource).
A curriculum descendant of Community: Starting Well in Your Small Group (North Point's 2013 game-changing group starting study/experience), Circle Up is well-designed and easy to use.
Circle Up is not a Bible study. Instead, it's a relational connection engine. Created to help new groups begin (with or without a prequalified leader), each session is designed from beginning to end to help unconnected people quickly get to know one another and, where needed, figure out who among them would make the best, most qualified leader.
In addition to the get-to-know-each-other ingredients, Circle Up does an excellent job of shaping the concept of authentic community and what makes a satisfying group.
If you're looking for a study that will connect unconnected people after Easter, you probably won't find a better study than Circle Up.
Transformed: How God Changes Us
Transformed: How God Changes Us is a 2013 study from Rick Warren. Anchored in the apostle Paul’s profound truth in Romans 12:2, this study explores what the Bible has to say about seven essential areas of our lives: Spiritual, Physical, Mental, Emotional, Relational, Financial, and Vocational.
If you’re looking for a study that will connect less frequent attenders,Transformed has a number of advantages. Rick Warren’s name is very recognizable and deals with a topic that is fairly cross-cultural (who doesn’t wish they could change something about themselves?).
You can read my full review right here.
New to me, Starting Over is a North Point series from 2016, but the topic is spot on for right now.
Think about it. Who hasn't had the experience of putting something together only to have to take it apart and start over. Career. Marriage. Dreams. And who hasn't asked, "how do we break the cycle of mistakes and failed attempts?"
Available free on Anthology.study (North Point Ministries' online source for small group studies), Starting Over is a classic Andy Stanley 4 session study. You can also watch the video and download the discussion questions at startingoverseries.org (which is very good)!
Get Out Of Your Head
I don't know if you know Jennie Allen, but she knows how to communicate in a way that is captivating and relevant to seasoned insiders and curious investigators at the same time. A very popular speaker and writer who is never hesitant to call out the best God has for everyone.
In Get Out of Your Head, a six-session video-based Bible study, Jennie inspires and equips us to transform our emotions, our outlook, and even our circumstances by taking control of our thoughts. Our enemy is determined to get in our heads to make us feel helpless, overwhelmed, and incapable of making a difference for the kingdom of God. But when we submit our minds to Christ, the promises and goodness of God flood our lives in remarkable ways (from the Amazon blurb).
I don't know about you, but I always find Craig Groeschel's studies helpful (challenging for insiders and engaging for newcomers).
Who hasn't wondered, "Why doesn't God answer my prayers?" Or wished they could see the evidence that prayer changes lives? Or been tired of playing it safe with your faith? Dangerous Prayers is intended to help you unlock your greatest potential and tackle your greatest fears by praying stronger, more passionate prayers that lead you into a deeper faith (adapted from the Amazon blurb).