Thursday, August 21, 2008

Read and Learn -- Adult Study Groups

The third Thursday of every month will be dedicated to Adult Study Groups. This will be a time to review study group materials, talk about things that work, mention some things that haven't worked, compare resources, etc. If it has to do with Adult Study Groups and Presbyterian Churches -- this is its spot.

Over the last couple of years Quotidian Grace and I have both reviewed Bible in 90 Days as implemented in our respective churches. More recently Teri at Clever Title Goes Here has been leading a B90 group. I have also reviewed a number of small group materials used by groups of which I have been a member. Quotidian Grace has done the same. So in that respect, this is a continuation of the old; but let's see if we can't make this a more valuable resource for all of us involved in one way or another with Adult Ed.

  • Have you used anything lately that you really liked;
  • Have you used anything lately that you really didn't like (be nice, now, remember that Decently and in Order thing);
  • Are you looking for anything in particular (ok, so we are all looking for small group materials that will convert any group of 12 adults into fully committed disciples ready to step out and change the world in 15 weeks or less -- aim a little lower);
  • Has your church created materials you are really proud of and would like to post (consider us free advertising);
  • Now for the best part -- any great ideas or materials for small group leader training (preferably something that causes fabulous volunteers to emerge from the woodwork)?
Post suggestions, comments, and ideas below.

We will be back next month. In the meantime don't forget Book Club begins this month with The Shack.



Sarahlynn said...

For the past few years, our Sunday School class has been slowly working our way through the 20/30 Bible Study for Young Adults. It's been very popular and spurs good discussion, even though we're more of a 30's-40's group than a 20's-30's group.

Our church offers several lecture classes and more intensive Bible study classes; our class sort of fills in a gap. We're more of a discussion-based, experiential group, mostly full of parents of young children.

For this fall, the group has asked me to focus on marriage. I'm still struggling to find a good curriculum for that, sort of a semester-long marriage encounter program, more about sharing experiences of living in Christian marriage than about theories and bible study.

A lot of what I've found out there is more conservative than us. . . . We're a mixed group politically, but none of us is excited by too much Woman, Obey! talk.

Has anyone done a workshop or led a small group discussing marriage and partnerships? What worked?

Sarah said...

My class of adults age 38 to 85 or so loved doing the Natural Church Development book The Three Colors of Ministry, which is on your spiritual gifts. It was the talk of the church last winter. We are not doing the NCD program, but that one book inspired a lot of people. (order through ChurchSmart Resources)

Becky Ardell Downs said...

I don't have anything on marriage. It's one of those things, like parenting, that people around here REALLY don't like admitting they struggle with. Part of the mask of suburbia, I guess. Something that has worked really well in one of our adult classes, though, is the Wired Word, which is a subscription-based current events thing. Every week all the class members are emailed the news article of the week, and on Sundays we discuss the theological and Biblical implications of it. We've had some really good discussions from it.

Sarahlynn said...

I just popped into Cokesbury "on my way" to the grocery store, and picked up Adam Hamilton's Making Love Last a Lifetime: Biblical Perspectives on Love, Marriage, and Sex. If I like the book, I might go back to invest in the whole kit (leader's guide, DVD, etc.). It's published by Abdingdon, and I often like their stuff.

On the other hand, a quick perusal suggests that it starts off with a bit of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus-type stuff, which always turns me off.

Actually, my husband doesn't like sports and I don't like to shop. That sort of gender role assignment always leaves people out and turns some off. Hopefully he works through that part quickly and gets to something meatier.

Stushie said...

I use movie clips from and build a lesson around the lectionary passage. I usually have about 3-4 clips per lesson.

thechurchgeek said...

I just ran across this program a few weeks ago that looks excellent. The book of devotions that is part of it is especially good. I've not implemented in a small group, but it I were to start one I'd probably use it:

Pastor Beth said...

Me, new pastor in church with long-standing women's daytime Bible study group who are starving for something meaningful for older women. No recent attachment to PW, and a few comments putting down Horizons material. HMM...
I had heard of something about womens' wisdom circles, where women share the wisdom of their age with youth who submit questions. any leads out there?