Most of our plates are full these days and pastors are no exception. We want to help pastors get a quick handle on all things Explore the Bible. This weekly blog is a start, but let’s highlight three other support tools that can help the busy pastor.
Printed Study Plans. The first item on this list is found in the adult resources. When most of us first pick up a book or magazine, we may thumb through the item but eventually we land on the Table of Contents. The Table of Contents page helps us see the direction of the book or the theme of that issue of a journal or magazine. In the first few pages of the Explore the Bible resources you will find the Table of Contents with the titles and the passages on which we will focus on during each lesson. A busy pastor can quickly see the overall direction for that quarter and identify the specific passages to be studied.
One thing to know is that we do not need to wait for the current resources to arrive to see what will be studied. On the last page of the adult resources in Explore the Bible, the titles and passages for the next quarter of study are printed (the same information one will find in the Table of Contents for the next quarter). This puts the information in the pastor’s hands at least three months prior to the first suggested use date a study will be used by a Bible study group.
Sermon Ideas. Related to the detailed study plan are the sermon ideas. Every quarter, pastors are enlisted to write sermons that support the Explore the Bible lessons for students and adults. These sermons are then reviewed and posted four months prior to the first suggested use date. The sermons are not a retelling of the lesson but rather support the lesson for a given Sunday. The writers may focus on one verse or section of verses within the core passages, focus on a verse in the context section, look at a related passage, examine a passage that quotes the section being studied, or focus on a critical doctrine from within the core passage. These sermons are provided free and can be accessed at goexplorethebible.com/sermons (open in new tab).
Weekly Training Podcast. Each age-group team produces a weekly training podcast that supports the Explore the Bible lessons. Not only can these help teachers and leaders but can also help pastors anticipate some of the questions their Bible study leaders may encounter and get a general direction of the focus of each lesson. These podcasts can be listened to using an Internet browser by clicking on the Training tab in goexporethebible.com/blog or through your favorite podcast host including iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. A person can listen while exercising, driving to a meeting, or over lunch.