Breathing Life Into Sunday School contains 12 essential actions that churches must take if they want Sunday School to be vibrant, relevant, and meaningful for group members and guests. Too many Sunday Schools and other Bible teaching ministries lack the power, draw, and enthusiasm they once had. In this practical book, I share a dozen ways that churches can revitalize their most important Bible teaching ministry.
- Feed it Financially
- Train the Leaders
- Clarify the Win
- Embrace a Philosophy
- Start New Groups
- Know Key Metrics
And six other chapters designed to be implemented easily and quickly by church leaders. Available on lifeway.com and Amazon.com. Retail $12.95. Paperback
Saddle Up! Leading with Purpose, Posture, and Preparedness
This book releases in January 2019 and was co-authored by Michael Kelley (Director of Groups Ministry at LifeWay) and Dr. Dwayne McCrary. We begin with the idea of saddling up, and take that from Proverbs 21:31 which says, “A horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.” This important Proverb reminds us that there is a divine and human component to our efforts…we must be prepared and ready for battle (we have things to do on our end) but victory belongs to the Lord, not us, ultimately.
In the three chapters that make up this book, we help group leaders think about the purpose behind what they do as group leaders/teachers/shepherds, which is to make disciples (chapter 1). We then move on to the topic of posture, and how a group leader must be in a posture of humility, servanthood, and that of a life-long learner. We end the book (chapter 3) with a call to be better prepared as a group leader “for the day of battle.”
Each of the co-authors leads a Bible study group or groups, and has many years of experience in group life. The book can be found at lifeway.com, and there are free conference/training plans for teachers of all age groups.
Shepherd: Creating Caring Community
This is the last book in the “3 Roles” series of books co-authored with David Francis, LifeWay’s Director of Sunday School for over a decade. In this final book, we delve into the topic of shepherd-teachers and how they can use their influence to create a caring environment in their Bible study groups.
I had the privilege of speaking into the entire book, but wrote chapter 2 specifically. In it, I help group leaders think through ways they can create a caring community before, during, and after their group’s Bible study.
Dr. Ken Coley from Southeastern Seminary was our co-author, and he wrote chapter 3. In that final chapter, he uses his expertise as a seminary professor to help group leaders understand the science of teaching and how through their preparation and in-class delivery, they can care for the needs of the men and women in their Bible studies.
Leader: Creating Commissioned Community
What would God have us do to become a commissioned community? Everyone in your Bible study group needs to be talking about this important question. The purpose of this book is to provide a framework for conversations about outreach and evangelism through Sunday School and small groups. You will find ways to talk about how to keep your group outwardly focused, what principles reinforce what your group does, and why you need to be worried about it in the first place.
Written for everyone involved in a Bible study group, Leader is the third of four books in the “3 Roles” series. These books encourage groups and group leaders to create conversational communities (Teacher), create caring communities (Shepherd), and create commissioned communities (Leader).
Teaching is one of the three roles for which every Bible study leader is responsible, but that doesn’t mean the teacher simply has to stand and deliver a lecture . The book identifies elements of teaching that create a community built upon conversation around the biblical text and active learning approaches.
The book explores the four “voices” of conversational community: Bible, Holy Spirit, Learners, and Teacher. It also guides the teacher on what to Say, Ask, and Do.
This book, co-authored with LifeWay’s Director of Sunday school, David Francis, is a four-session resource helping those who lead Bible study better understand and share what it means to be the teacher who “stands before,” the shepherd who “sits among,” and the leader who is responsible for carrying out the goals and purposes of the group. This resource will ultimately help that person grow in all three roles.
- Three chapters – one on each role
- A group plan at the end of each chapter helps the pastor, minister of education, Sunday School director, or other leader use this booklet to train the Bible study “guides” in the church
- Conference plans (45 min.) are included at the end of the Introduction and each chapter
My friend and groups ministry trainer Wayne Poling compiled this book that contains short, to-the-point chapters written by education ministry practitioners and other experts. Together with dozens of other contributors, Wayne offers practical tips for organizing and leading your Sunday School ministry. I contributed a couple of chapters to Wayne’s book, and I believe you’ll find it helpful and practical.