Having written, edited, and led teams to produce student ministry curriculum for the last five years, I have found one practice to be more helpful than any other: asking for feedback from students ministry leaders. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the most important thing we do when producing curriculum is to check it for biblical and theological accuracy. But the most helpful? The thing we do that most shapes how leaders use our curriculum, how students experience it, and how it enhances discipleship? That’s definitely sitting down with actual student ministry practitioners and getting their real time feedback.
We recently conducted a series of meetings with student ministry leaders from all over the country to get their feedback on Explore the Bible Students. These meetings will soon result in some exciting new offerings and features in the near future. However, I was also surprised by a common refrain I heard from student ministry leaders, “I didn’t know about that!” In every meeting, there were people who were pleasantly surprised to learn that we already offer resources that met needs they were experiencing in their student ministries. So it became clear that we need to make an extra effort to communicate what we offer and the needs our offerings meet for leaders, students, and families.
Daily Discipleship Guide
The Daily Discipleship Guide meets two essential needs of student discipleship. First, it keeps students engaged during your group Bible study and equips them to continue studying the Bible on their own throughout the week. The Daily Discipleship Guide contains all the discussion questions that are covered in the Leader Guide so that students can follow along. It also highlights culture, theology, context, and history notes to guide students in their study. And finally, the Daily Discipleship Guide contains five days of daily devotions. More than just developing the practice of studying the Bible on their own, these devotions teach students how to get the most out of their study of God’s Word.
This guide gives leaders everything they need to teach Explore the Bible Students. It contains 13 sessions (weekly bible studies) and equips leaders with everything they will need to teach each week. Each session contains two “Explore Options,” These are optional activities or visual illustrations designed to grab your students’ attention and introduce them to each session’s central truth. It also contains discussion questions, leader’s notes to help leaders direct discussion and help students answer questions, and Bible commentary to help answer questions that might arise as you study the text.
We also have a new feature in the Leader Guide called “Be Vulnerable” which is a challenge to you, the leader, to share openly and honestly about your own life and walk with Christ as a means to encourage students to open up and be vulnerable as well. There are also four different types of notes to drive further engagement/discussion: Culture, Theology, Context, and History. And finally, the Leader Guide draws to a close with four “Now What?” questions designed to help you guide students toward ways they can be living out what they’ve studied. There is also a “Leader Challenge” which gives you the passages students will be studying in their daily devotions throughout the week and encourage you to follow up with them.
Animated Video Bundle
The Bible can feel a bit weird to students who are unfamiliar; there is a story about a worldwide flood, a man getting swallowed by a fish, and about resurrection from the dead. While these stories might feel comfortable to us, they probably don’t to a lot of our students. To help the Bible feel less odd and more beautiful and life-giving, we have created Animated videos designed to unpack the books of the Bible we are studying and why they matter to teenagers. These digital videos are available to purchase at lifeway.com or through a Plus subscription on Ministry Grid.
The Leader Pack equips you with multiple resources to enhance your discipleship efforts. There are 10 posters designed to reinforce spiritual truths unpacked throughout the quarters and deepen student’s understanding. There are also 13 sessions of Midweek Bible studies on a complimentary book of the Bible. We also have One Sheets which are a simplified version of the Leader Guide for well prepared leaders to teach from. We also include 13 Sessions of the Family Connection which is a discussion guide for parents and caretakers to work through with their students at home. And finally, we provide quarterly themed PowerPoint templates.
Middle School Options
Is your group mostly younger students? We have a Middle School specific version of the Leader Guide and Daily Discipleship Guide with unique Explore Options and discussion questions aimed at helping younger students engage, discuss, and apply the Bible. This is available on Ministry Grid.
Leader Training Podcast
Want an easy way to guide your leaders in preparing to teach? The Leader Training podcast is available on Ministry Grid, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify. This short podcast gives leaders tips and guidance in answering tough questions that might come up as well as in how to direct discussion in ways that will help your students pursue Jesus.
This should give you an understanding of the robust resources we offer at the Student level. Hopefully you found something on this list you didn’t know about or aren’t utilizing. I pray that these resources equip you and your students to grow in your understanding of God’s Word, your love of our Savior, and your commitment to His kingdom.
Want to get a sample of four lessons sent digitally? (go here)
Want to take a deeper dig into these resources? (preview guide)