Sunday School Material

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Zenas, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. Zenas

    Zenas
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    I would like to know where to get good Sunday School material. I have used Lifeway for many years and it is just OK. On a grading scale I would give it a "C". Surely there is something better out there.
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    What kind of group literature are you looking for? By that I mean, what kinds of studies, what kinds of emphasis, what kinds of media to accompany it?

    These are really important questions. I can throw out a ton of different groups curriculum right now, but most of it might not apply. Just let us know so we can narrow it for you.
     
  3. SBCJen

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    I'm not crazy about Lifeway either... for any of the age groups really. We're small and only have one adult class so everyone is just lumped in there together. We just switched this past quarter from the Explore the Bible to the Life Lessons? - I think that's the one. So, I don't know if they like that one any better or not. There are a couple of older folks who would probably have a cow though if we tried to switch to something "non Lifeway" though, ya know.
     
  4. drfuss

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    I think that as big as the SBC is, Lifeway should provide more variation in the adult lessons. For instance, the same subjects and teaching materials are provided for the 60-80 years old classes as for the 20-40 years old classes. This is particularly awkward when the material addresses building marriages and family life issues. It is difficult to change the material intended for young marrieds and make it interesting for 60-80 years olds.

    A better approach would be to take one quarter a year and provide building marriage and family life material for the 20-50 years olds and provide a different subject (Psalms, etc) for the 50-80 years olds.
     
  5. jaigner

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    LifeWay, from my experience, is superficial and borders on moralistic. Your best bet is to do away with quarterlies and such and have someone qualified who can study the text and reliable commentaries to teach.
     
  6. Amy.G

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    Lifeway materials = :sleep:


    The best classes I've been in we chose a book from the bible and went through it verse by verse.
     
  7. sag38

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    Any teacher worth his or her salt does not rely totally on Lifeway material or any others for that matter. How deep the class wants to go should not be dependent on the literature.
     
  8. Zenas

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    We're not accustomed to media that accompanies the written material but the occasional DVD would be nice. My class consists of the over 40 but not ready for the nursing home crowd, most of whom have been in Sunday School all their lives. They are mature Christians who know the Bible well but would like to know it better. Maybe that's kind of vague but I'm not really an expert on what is out there. I just know the Lifeway material we are using is pretty dull and it enlightens no one.
     
  9. Speedpass

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    I just don't want my teacher quoting either a quarterly or teacher's guide word-for-word verbatim. :sleep::tear::BangHead:
     
  10. Zenas

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    That's not exactly right. As I write this, I am looking at a Lifeway quarterly entitled "LIFE VENTURES for Retired Adults." It's not particularly enlightening but they have it.
     
  11. Zenas

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    I agree but unless you toss it out, the class members expect the lesson to resemble the topic in their quarterly. I spend a lot of time in commentaries during preparation, as well as seeking out historical trivia to keep them interested. But it would be nice to have something that has it all in one place so I wouldn't have to work so hard.
     
  12. Luke2427

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    I can see what you are saying but I think it would be better to not worry so much about subjects relevant to certain genre's and instead just teach the Bible. There is certainly nothing wrong with occasional emphasis (marriage, stewardship, etc...) but the general SS program ought to be about teaching the whole counsel of God. Something verse by verse would be best.
     
  13. Luke2427

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    I agree. Many SS material companies seem to be like the public education system. As people get dumber they dumb down the learning material. That's the worst way to respond to poor education problems. It compounds the problems.

    We need some DEEP studies in Scripture for Sunday school.
     
  14. drfuss

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    Never heard of it. I will check that out with our Education Minister this Sunday.

    Thanks
     
  15. Hardsheller

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    Now this is Biblical !!!
     
  16. preachinjesus

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    In one of my roles I work with groups at the church where I get to serve. We are an SBC affiliated church that doesn't use Lifeway stuff as standard.

    For what its worth Lifeway does offer some different, age graded stuff for adults. While I can't think of any of it off the top of my head, this is always one of the first things the region rep mentions when he calls.

    Some of the studies (I just went to their website) are Lifework, Explore the Bible, and Masterwork. Within each of these are age appropriate resources. For instance in Lifework you have these divisions:
    LifeMatters for Young Adults
    Life Truths for Parents
    Life Values for Boomers and Empty Nesters
    Life Ventures for Retired Adults
    Life Lessons/Life Words (KJV) for All Adults

    Also if you're work with young adults, Threads Media is a subsidiary of Lifeway and has some okay stuff. The new leadership at Lifeway has done some really good stuff in terms of realigning and moving the curriculum pieces.

    Not too sympathetic for their actual products, but there are adult graded materials.
     
  17. preachinjesus

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    This is good stuff. I don't know what your curriculum budget is so this is a shot in the dark...

    You might want to check out:
    Life Bible Study @ http://www.lifebiblestudy.com/
    This is a comprehensive set of studies that can be annual, quarterly, or something else. As a word of warning be careful in telling them about your church. They charge big $$$$ for large churches....but are fair with others. It is a good resource with fresh material for all ages.

    MacArthur Bible Study Guides @ Christianbook.com
    I've used this in collaboration with other studies. They work well, are informative, and allow the leader to get deeper as the group is able.

    Bluefish.tv @ http://www.bluefishtv.com/Store/Browse/Adult_Small_Groups
    This group takes world class teachers, videos them, and provides resources for groups. They have really good stuff that is both topical and biblically based. I haven't been too disappointed with them.

    PurposeDriven Curriculum @ http://www.saddlebackresources.com/en-US/SmallGroups/SmallGroupsHome.htm
    I'm not sure if you guys are into Saddleback stuff, or open to it. (Yes, I like Pastor Rick Warren and no I don't have a picture of him that I bow to everyday) They have good studies that go into healthy depth into the passages. I've used their stuff, its good stuff.

    AMG Publishers @ www.christianbook.com
    They have some really good studies on a number of topics and biblical passages. I like them and just finished using their study on Kings of the Old Testament with a group of guys in a very small group setting.

    That should get you started. There is a huge amount of groups curriculum out there. Usually my approach with our groups is an eight week study out of a book of the Bible, then a 4-6 week video based topical, then a 4-6 topical study using a specific biblical group of passages, and then maybe a character study or something. Just my way of handling it.

    If you're really interested I'd check out video series by: Andy Stanley, Lee Strobel, Bill Hybels, and John Piper as good options too. Love these guys! :thumbsup:
     
  18. Zenas

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    Thank you, Preachin. I did not know about any of these and I will certainly investigate them.
     
  19. MNJacob

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    I co-teach a multicultural, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic Sunday School class. It really is a combination English class and Bible class.

    We go through books of the Bible verse by verse, sometimes word by word.

    We do it by round robin reading one verse at a time. Taking figures of speach from Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic through English, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Lithuanian and Thai.

    We use multiple translations although the readings are usually either from the HCSB or the NIV. Most of the best foreign language parellel Bibles are usually NIV.

    It is a blast. We have a great time. We had a visit from the Lifeway folks and they asked what material we used.

    Just the Book.
     
  20. glfredrick

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    I prefer to write my own materials, and that is what I do, even if I am using a quarterly (some churches just do that). I just take off on the topic for the day and actually do some biblical exposition.

    About LifeWay... I know President Rainer, and a number of his Vice Presidents on a personal level. I've talked to them about the Sunday school quarterlies. I'll share a brief overview of their take on the materials below:

    The LifeWay materials are designed on a certain level that makes a typical Sunday school class "open" so that new people can walk into a class on any given day and not miss out on a "series" of some sort. They are also fairly generic on purpose, as they are not intended to be discipleship materials.

    For the most part, the lessons are discussion starters and the ability of the teacher to draw out the material and make it relevant is the key aspect of teaching that material successfully. Virtually all of the quarterly material has additional teacher aids built in, but many teachers will not, can not, or do not make use of the additional detailed resources to customize the lessons for their class. Rather, they read the text verbatim, then wonder why it is boring and irrelevant.​

    Some questions I might raise about the typical Sunday school class are these:

    What is the purpose FOR Sunday school in your church? Is it because that is what has always been done (it hasn't!)?

    Is it because that is the primary means of discipleship (it isn't!)?

    Is it because the church needs a way to hold half of its people in place for an extra hour (really)?

    Is it to give people something to do?

    Is it an outreach tool, designed to be a "front door" to the church?

    Is it a social hour where some "lesson" has to be at least mentioned to make it look like there is actually a reason for assembling?

    Or, what else?​
    Depending on the reason, the satisfaction level with the materials and with Sunday school in general will be greater or lesser. I have looked at those questions myself (and assisted with several doctoral dissertation projects designed to grow or magnify the SS) and decided that the entire concept needs an overhaul best accomplished by doing away with Sunday school, period.

    My preferred method is community groups that have a wide-range of application, from teaching, discipleship (hands on, not a book study -- when did the Bible ever show reading books as discipleship?), ministry, evangelism, fellowship, prayer, and worship (yes, the purposes for a church). The groups meet in homes in neighborhoods, which are the target area for their work.

    This is not "cell" or "home" church. The church still meets "gathered" on Sunday. This is rather a model found in Acts, where the church gathered for worship, but met in homes day-by-day for community.
     

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