Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Free Training For Bible Study Curriculum Leaders

In order to help churches effectively train their leaders Ministry Grid has teamed up with LifeWay's three curriculum lines to offer free online video training. Leaders can watch a brief video tied to each lesson and hear from those who helped create the lessons. We offer this lesson-by-lesson-training for all age levels. It will clarify the main points, good questions, and any challenging subjects. 
As each line releases new curriculum we will continue to offer this video training so that group leaders have all the resources they need to lead others well in the study of God's word. 
You can find the training easily right here:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Transformational Groups and 3 Ways to Make the Most of Sermons and Small Groups

By Thom S. Rainer

A common mistake many churches make in their disciple-making work is to view the sermon and the small group experience as separate, stand-alone components. In reality, we should view the sermon and a church’s Bible study groups as complementary, enhancing the effectiveness of each other, and develop a solid strategy to make the most of both. To do so, you can:


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Recap of The Main Event

By Phillip Nation
On August 1 & 2, LifeWay put on The Main Event Men’s Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Our featured speaker was President George W. Bush. During the conference, we were led in worship by Michael W. Smith; who was amazing. It was a beautiful sight and sound to witness 8,600 men singing the praises of the Lord in Bridgestone Arena.
On Friday night, after the president spoke, Jeff Strueckerdelivered a powerful call to the gospel. Jeff is now a pastor in Columbus, Georgia but is better known for his role in the “Black Hawk Down” battle in Mogadishu. On Saturday, we heard from Robert Lewis of Fellowship Bible Church, the winningest football coach in NCAA history Bobby Bowden, three-time NASCAR cup champion Darrell Waltrip, Matt Carter of Austin Stone Church, and Derwin Gray of Transformation Church. All of these men delivered strong messages about the role of men in world and in the home. I’m still meditating on Derwin’s powerful call for men to understand that Christianity is not about achieving but it is all about receiving. Great stuff.
My friends Jason Ellerbrook and Bruce Raley led the planning for the conference and emceed it as well. I was honored to be asked to pray during the conference from the platform. It was humbling and exhilarating to lead that many thousands of men to pray about beginning a Bible study with a few friends who need to be strengthened in their faith.
Conferences are often an opportunity to see what is possible. We hear from preachers and teachers and personalities that stretch our thinking and our faith. My prayer is that the men who attended have returned to their normal lives this week with the intention of following God in a great adventure of faith.
Next year, LifeWay is holding The Main Event in three cities: Nashville, Kansas City, and Portland. I hope you and a group of friends can join us at one of them. Click here for the details.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Warnings for church leaders who use social media

By Thom Rainer

Those of you who read my blog or listen to my podcasts know I am a strong proponent of social media. I have seen many good things take place on the various platforms available. I have seen the Gospel clearly shared and embraced on social media.

But this social media is a two-edged sword. It can be used for good or great harm. And it can harm the ministries of those in Christian leadership. So, whether your platform is a blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google Plus, or many others, please note these seven warnings. 


Friday, August 8, 2014

Sunday's Top Priority

By Diana Davis

What is your priority as you arrive at church on Sunday? Is it to assure your child has two matching shoes? To lead a great small group class? Greet guests? Enjoy Christian friends? 

Oh, those are all quite important, but our TOP priority must be to truly worship God. How can we do that? Try these six simple tips: 


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Groups and Groups Studies Matter

By Eric Geiger

In my most recent book Transformational Groups, which I co-wrote with Ed Stetzer, we share that research strongly indicates the people in your church who are in a group are more likely to serve more sacrificially, share the gospel more frequently, give more generously, and repent more regularly than those not in a group. For this reason, we say boldly that “your groups matter.” They matter a lot to the spiritual health of your church.

We shouldn’t just settle for groups. We should long for groups that are built on a solid foundation. A group is only as solid as the foundation that the group is built upon, and too many groups are built on a weak foundation. So we also say thatwhat your groups study is absolutely critical to the health of those groups. Jesus prayed to the Father for His disciples, “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17), thus a group should help people encounter and dwell in the Word. The Word of God gives your groups the solid foundation it needs.
We have found that groups approach their Bible study time through three different “starting points” or “approaches.”


Monday, August 4, 2014

Explore the Bible Apps and Extra!

Book-by-book studies for groups of all ages.

The Explore the Bible iOS apps became available in the Apple store on Friday August 1; Android by September 1. (The separate free ETB Kids app has already been available since June and will continue as a separate app.)

Download the app for free and then in-app purchase the Personal Study Guide for the age group of your choice: adults, young adults, or students. Commentary and Students Leader Guide are also available. Users may sample prior to purchase.

Adults, Young Adults, Students Personal Study Guide: $1.99
Students Leader Guide: $4.99
Commentary: $5.99
Kids games and activities are free with the separate ETB Kids app.

Explore the Bible Extra! relaunches August 15, 2014 at the ETB blog and on

Learn more about all the Explore the Bible resources for all ages HERE.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Discovering Southern Baptists through an array of resources

Southern Baptists seem to show up everywhere when people are searching for answers amid times of upheaval and emptiness.

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers clad in yellow shirts and hats are quickly amid the debris and anguish from hurricanes on the East Coast, flooding in middle America or wildfires in the West. Southern Baptist missionaries carry the Gospel to both remote and urban areas in the Far East, the Mideast, Eastern Europe and Africa and Latin America. Southern Baptist church members volunteer at pregnancy crisis centers and food pantries across the United States.

But who are these people?

An array of print and online resources available through the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee demonstrate Southern Baptists' heart and numerous ways of sharing new birth in Christ in their communities and states, across the nation and throughout the world. 

Two brochures Meet Southern Baptists and A Closer Look that provide basic information about Southern Baptists are available as free downloads as well as full-color print pieces that can be ordered at a very minimal cost-recovery price here. In addition to PDF formats, the brochures also can be read online here and here.

Many Southern Baptist churches and other congregations interested in cooperating with the SBC request these resources, said Roger S. Oldham, the Executive Committee's vice president for convention communications and relations.

"I have been in numerous meetings where pastors and members of various groups have been complimentary of the brochures and have asked how to order the brochures," Oldham said. 

Some churches place the brochures alongside other materials where visitors can easily pick them up. "We are aware of a number of churches that routinely order the brochure for use in their new member training classes," Oldham also noted.

Learn more...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Groups Matter! Join the Movement!

Groups are absolutely essential to the health and mission of a church. That’s why churches all over the world are pledging to make their groups matter by launching new Bible study groups and classes.


So what are you waiting for? Start making groups matter today!

Learn more, download resources to help launch new groups, and pledge to start new groups in your church HERE.

Watch panel discussion on The Importance of Groups in the Local Church HERE.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Seven Characteristics of Highly Evangelistic Christians

By  Thom S. Rainer

It is inevitable that, when we do research on evangelistic churches, we learn about one or more members in the church who, to use the book title by Charles H. Spurgeon, embody the traits of “The Soul Winner.” Oftentimes one of those members is the pastor. But we have also seen many laypersons who are themselves soul winners. In our interviews with these people, or with those who tell us about the soul winners, we began to discern some clear patterns. We called those patterns “the seven characteristics of highly evangelistic Christians.”

Monday, July 21, 2014

Two Wise Approaches for Group Content

I recently shared that group leaders want direction for their groups. They realize that a wise discipleship plan would be helpful for developing the people in their groups over time. Sadly, many church leaders fail to offer one. So let me offer two wise approaches to your group/ministry content: a discipleship plan or aligned content. Throughout my ministry in local churches, I have practiced both of these approaches at different times, in light of the context, and as the Lord led. I believe in both of them because I see wisdom and intentionality in both practices.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Church revitalizers struggle to balance optimism, pessimism

By Jeff Brumley
LifeWay President and CEO Thom Rainer has declared himself an “obnoxious optimist” about the state of American churches despite years of declines and closures in a post-Christian, post-church culture.
thom rainer130Thom RainerIn a column Rainer said he’s hearing, mostly anecdotally, about a growing commitment among Millennials and Boomers to revive struggling congregations.
The resulting revitalizations are occurring either through internal changes, church relocations, new leadership or merging with other congregations, he wrote.
“While I am encouraged to see the continued interest in church planting, I am also heartened to learn of an apparent upsurge in interest—even passion for—revitalizing churches.”
Other Baptists who work with struggling congregations aren’t willing to go that far, saying most congregations in decline either are unaware of their predicaments or unwilling to take the drastic actions needed to reverse course.
Some say a touch of pessimism may be in order.