Wednesday, April 15, 2015

FREE Demo of in Austin/San Antonio and Houston on April 30 and May 12

You're serious about discipleship. That makes two of us.

But here’s the problem: In the busy day-to-day of church life, the time you need to yourself to work on Bible studies is often stretched thin by other ministry needs. That’s why I would love to introduce you to, a convenient web tool that lets you quickly create and customize Bible studies. 

I'll be at First Baptist Church of Round Rock at Noon on Thursday, April 30th and First Baptist Church of The Woodlands at Noon on Tuesday, May 12th giving a free demonstration of this new, powerful way to provide unique group content. I will provide you lunch and hopefully help you free up some time for other areas of ministry. 

If you are interested in attending the demo in Round Rock, please sign-up using this link:

If you are interested in attending the demo in The Woodlands, please sign-up using this link:

By the way, if you want to come a little earlier you can sit in on the preview of the new The Gospel Project Chronological bible study resources for all ages launching this fall from LifeWay. That preview will be in the same location from 10:00-11:45 AM. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

10 Reasons Everybody at Church Should Wear a Nametag

By Chuck Lawless

At many conferences and meetings I attend, I am expected to wear a nametag. The business world thinks about nametags, but the church world gives them too little thought. Here are ten reasons EVERYONE in church ought to wear a nametag.
  1. Few people know everybody in the church. Even in the smallest churches, it’s sometimes difficult to remember everybody’s name. If/as the church grows, that task becomes even more difficult. Nametags allow us to admit that struggle while providing a way to overcome it.
  2. Leaders need help with names. I want to know everybody’s name in my church, but I’m not gifted with that kind of memory. I admit I need help if I want to be the best church leader I can be. I would much prefer calling people by name as I minister to them – and nametags allow me to do so.
  3. Nametags invite conversation. Knowing another person’s name breaks down one barrier to conversations that church folks ought to feel comfortable having. It’s simply easier to talk with others when you are on a first-name basis.
  4. Knowing names makes fellowship more personal. While calling each other “brother” or “sister” sounds good (and is theologically on target), that nomenclature is often a cover up for “I’m sorry I don’t know your name, and I’m embarrassed to ask.” As long as conversations remain at the anonymous “brother” and “sister” level, fellowship will remain surface level.
  5. Nametags save embarrassment. We’ve probably all called someone by the wrong name, only to realize it later (or perhaps even within the same conversation). If “brother” or “sister” is a gentle way of saying, “I don’t know your name,” using the wrong name is an undeniable way of doing so. That’s embarrassing for both parties.
  6. Nametags are an inexpensive way to promote outward focus. The church that says, “We don’t need nametags since we already know everyone anyway” is probably saying more than they care to admit. My guess is they see few guests at their church, and they probably aren’t expecting any. On the other hand, using nametags is one way to say, “We expect God to send us guests, and we want to be ready for them.”
  7. Guests feel less conspicuous. I understand why we might give guests a nametag, but doing so for them alone actually makes them even more noticeable – and puts them at a disadvantage in conversations. I know their name, but they don’t know mine if I’m not also wearing a nametag. Guests should never be the ones who must do the asking.
  8. Saying to someone, “Please let us know your name” also says, “We want to know you.” Much has been written about guests’ desire for anonymity in churches, but I take a different slant on that issue. People who come to a church are looking for something. They often welcome care and concern. What they don’t want is to be smothered and made uncomfortable. That’s a different issue, though, than simply wanting to know them by name.
  9. A “nametag” ministry provides opportunities for service. Somebody must purchase the nametags. Somebody must distribute them. Greeters must remind folks to get their nametags. And, likely, somebody must clean up the “peel and press” nametags that wind up on the floor after the service. The opportunities for members to get involved in a simple but significant ministry are numerous.
  10. Leaders risk little by trying this approach. We’re not omitting a ministry from the budget, re-writing the church constitution, or killing a sacred cow with this approach. We’re simply asking people to wear a nametag to promote fellowship and welcome guests. If this ministry fails – and I don’t think it will if leaders promote it properly and patiently wait for it to enter the DNA of a congregation – the church has lost little.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Groups Matter Conference at Ridgecrest NC - August 27-29, 2015

Groups Matter Conference

August 27-29, 2015 (Thursday - Saturday)
LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center
The Groups Matter Conference is like no other groups event. For the first time, some of the most relevant influencers in the Sunday School and Small Group movements will be together to teach and challenge. Those in attendance will wrestle with the difficult issues of group life. A few of those issues include:
  • Are Groups Really Making Disciples?
  • How Big a Group is Too Big a Group?
  • Sermon-Based Bible Studies—Are They More About Assimilation or Transformation?
  • Must All Groups Be Church Connected? 
  • and many more
A welcome-and-worship on Thursday night will help you settle into your surroundings. But get a seat early on Friday and hold on tight. The morning will be a rapid-fire flurry of information—9 speakers on 9 topics in 135 minutes.  Catch your breath over lunch and spend the afternoon digging deeper into the topics you care about most. Friday evening is free time to connect with old and new friends. Saturday is reserved for more worship and time for you to join other leaders of similarly sized churches. Share ideas. Inspire and be inspired. And head back home with fresh perspective and new ideas for your groups.
Learn more, check out the speakers, and register here...

Monday, March 30, 2015

Americans see value in church attendance

By Lisa Green

The overwhelming majority of Americans say they find value in attending church, a new LifeWay Research study shows.
Two-thirds of Americans think attendance is admirable; only 11 percent consider church useless.
Even among nonreligious people, 80 percent believe church attendance is acceptable, and 43 percent label it admirable. Just 29 percent call it useless.
But despite their professed fondness for church, Americans are more likely to believe attendance is declining (55 percent) or the church is dying (42 percent) than growing (36 percent) or thriving (38 percent), according to the LifeWay survey of 1,000 Americans from Sept. 19-28 of last year.
"Americans have a much more optimistic view of the people and practice of attending church than they do of the health of the church," said Scott McConnell vice president of the Nashville-based LifeWay Research. "Church attendance is much like regular exercise and driving the speed limit. People do not live out everything they admire."

Friday, March 27, 2015

3 Steps to Growing Your Groups This Easter

By Mark Howell

I’ve been thinking about the rhythms of connecting people and wanted to share an idea that you might want to consider. With Easter 2015 just about as early as it can possibly be (April 5th), there is still plenty of spring left before summer and it makes a lot of sense to launch another wave of small groups.
There are three steps to the idea.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Gospel. Life. Ministry. Online Event Coming May 11th!

The Gospel Project Chronological

Featuring David Platt, Derwin Gray, Ed Stetzer, John Piper, Louie Giglio, Matt Chandler, Paul Tripp, Tony Evans, and more!

On May 11, more than a dozen leading pastors, theologians, and thinkers are collaborating for a one-of-a-kind gospel-centered event. And YOU are formally invited!

Gospel. Life. Ministry. is a free online event that will challenge and encourage pastors, church staff, group leaders, and Christians of all life stages to consider how the gospel permeates and transforms every aspect of our lives. This is the perfect opportunity to gather your team or small group and be refreshed together.

Register today to win!
Five lucky registrants will win a set of Christ-Centered Exposition commentaries. One registrant will win up $250 in The Gospel Project studies for his or her church.

Tell your friends!
Odds are you know at least one person who will love this event, so forward them this email and make sure he or she doesn't miss it. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

War Room Screenings Coming in April and May

War Room
Provident Films and AFFIRM Films invite you to a special screening of WAR ROOM, the upcoming new movie from the Kendrick Brothers—the creators of Courageous,Fireproof, and Facing the Giants.
Coming to theaters August 28, WAR ROOM is a compelling story about the power that prayer can have on marriages, parenting, careers, friendships, and every other area of our lives. The cast features director Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, T.C. Stallings, Beth Moore, Michael Jr., and Karen Abercrombie as the unforgettable Miss Clara. WAR ROOM … Prayer is a Powerful Weapon.

Find a screening near you and RSVP today!

Password For Access: prayer
Click Here For Screening List & RSVP
War Room
In Theaters March 20, 2015
© 2015 Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
© 2015 Faithstep Films, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Should Your Group Leaders Plan Their Own Bible Studies? (and demo)

By Michael Kelly

The vast majority of churches, at different points this week, will not only gather in a large setting but in a smaller one. These smaller meetings have different names: Sunday School, small group, community group, missional community—the list could go on and on. Though the names might vary, one question must be answered by each and everyone of them. 


Live Demonstration

You can see in action and ask questions about the site every Thursday at 10am CT. Our very own Dr. Rob will walk through the tool and help you quickly get comfortable creating custom Bible study. Click here to register for the next online demo. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Gospel Project Chronological For All Ages Coming Fall 2015

We are excited about the new Gospel Project studies launching in the Fall of 2015. We realize that many of your are already exploring your options for Fall and wanted to give you a heads up as to what is coming with The Gospel Project. 

The Gospel Project is beginning a new, chronological study plan for Kids, Students, and Adults. You can download an overview of the 3 year study plan, and a full months worth of sessions for all ages here:

What would happen if your church made a commitment to move through the Bible in 3 years with every age group? 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Christian media's reach surveyed by LifeWay Research

By Bob Smietana
Christian broadcasters have a devoted following, with about two-thirds of weekly churchgoers and evangelicals saying they tune in to Christian radio and television on a regular basis.

Christian books have a reach among churchgoers and evangelicals, and Christian movies remain popular, with about four in 10 Americans having seen one in the last year.
But many Americans never connect to Christian media.
Those are among the findings of a new study on the use of Christian media from Nashville-based LifeWay Research. The study, sponsored by the National Religious Broadcasters, included an online survey of 2,252 Americans and a phone survey of 1,009 Americans.
"Christian media delivers teaching, music and entertainment to a predominantly Christian constituency," Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, noted. "Not surprisingly, those who embrace Christian teaching will value and consume these the most." Stetzer released the study's findings Feb. 25 during the NRB national convention in Nashville.
Researchers found demographic splits between those who frequently or sometimes listen to or watch Christian broadcasts and those who rarely or never tune in.


Friday, February 20, 2015

New Kendrick Brothers Film Focuses On Prayer

Kendrick Brothers Productions, the makers of the successful movies "Courageous" and "Fireproof," have announced the Aug. 28 release of their latest film "War Room," which will illustrate the power of prayer.
The film is brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick's first production independent of Sherwood Pictures, the filmmaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga. The PG-rated, family friendly film will feature best-selling author and Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer in a leading role, and promises a cameo appearance from best-selling author and Bible teacher Beth Moore.
"This film is about the power of prayer, the necessity of prayer in our lives," movie director and co-writer Alex Kendrick said in a promotional video posted at the movie's website, "If we return to prayer, passionately actively seeking the Lord, and we're right with Him and right with each other, God can do amazing things in our lives."

Read more about War Room...

Be watching for church campaign and bible study resources related to War Room coming from LifeWay Christian Resources.

Monday, February 16, 2015

TGP for Kids and Easter: 2015 Schedule

By Brian Dembowczyk

When people share why they love The Gospel Project® for Kids, the two reasons we hear the most are the gospel-centered content and the chronological scope and sequence. These two elements go hand-in-hand most of the time and only cause minor adjustments around Christmas and Easter. During those seasons, our strategy is to step out of the chronology and to offer two or three Christmas or Easter sessions and then step back into the chronology as seamlessly as possible. Most of the time this works well; however, Unit 32 presented a bit of a challenge for us because we were already in the middle of the last week of Christ’s ministry.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"The Beginning" Bulk Discounts Extended thru Easter

"The Beginning" from The Disciples' Path Series
The Beginning introduces the basic practices and elements of the faith, including the centrality of Christ, the crucial practice of prayer and Scripture reading, community, and what it means to be on mission for God. Exercises put weekly topics into practice, and meeting times work as well in one-on-one discipleship relationships as they do with typical small groups. 5 sessions.

Friday, February 6, 2015

LifeWay Outlines Vision for Future

By Carol Pipes

LifeWay Christian Resources President and CEO Thom S. Rainer outlined for LifeWay’s trustees a vision for the entity’s future that includes an organizational restructuring, leadership changes, and a probable relocation.
“In 2015 we are moving forward in one of the most strategic times of change LifeWay has ever known,” Rainer told trustees during Feb. 2-3 meetings in Nashville.
During his report, Rainer announced the combining of two divisions—Church Resources and B&H Publishing—into LifeWay Resources Division led by current vice president Eric Geiger.
He explained that LifeWay historically has had three distinct market channels—wholesale (B&H Publishing), direct-to-church (Church Resources) and retail (LifeWay Stores).
“In today’s marketplace, those channels are blurred,” Rainer said. “Combining the two publishing channels allows LifeWay to have a stronger presence in the Christian publishing market.”
While LifeWay will continue to use the B&H imprint for its trade books, Rainer said it no longer made sense to have two publishers.
“The fusion of these two divisions will give us an incredible opportunity to lead with LifeWay,” Rainer said. “We believe this will make us a stronger entity and more appealing to prospective authors. We’ll have one LifeWay, and we’ll lead with LifeWay resources in our stores.”

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Finding the Right Bible Study for Young Adults

Choosing the right Bible study can sometimes be overwhelming as different groups have different approaches to studying Scripture. That’s why we offer three distinct Bible study approaches to get groups started. Our ongoing Bible study options are not only cost-effective, but they help groups stay on track throughout the year.

Check out these options and more...

Monday, February 2, 2015

WAR ROOM - New Kendrick Brothers Movie Releases August 28th!

Tony and Elizabeth Jordan seemingly have it all—great jobs, a beautiful daughter, their dream home. But appearances can be deceiving. In reality, their marriage has become a war zone and their daughter is collateral damage. But with the help of Miss Clara, an older, wiser woman, Elizabeth discovers she can start fighting for her family instead of against them. With her newly energized faith, Elizabeth’s real enemy doesn’t have a prayer.

Coming to theaters this fall, WAR ROOM is the long-awaited new movie from the Kendrick Brothers—the creators of Courageous, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants. The cast features director Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, T.C. Stallings, Beth Moore, and Michael Jr., along with Karen Abercrombie as the unforgettable Miss Clara. WAR ROOM will inspire moviegoers to start fighting their own battles the right way—through prayer.

“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6

WAR ROOM: Prayer Is A Powerful Weapon … in theaters Fall 2015.

Learn more and spread the word ...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New Training Pathways from Ministry Grid

New training pathways from Ministry Grid provide prescriptive training for those serving in different areas of ministry. Each area of ministry will have three different levels: Foundational, Advanced, and Expert so volunteers and staff can be trained appropriately. We have launched 4 pathways to begin with and more will be launched in coming weeks and months. Our aim is to make it easy for ministry leaders to train their people effectively without needing to build their own program (unless they want to!).
Learn more...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 Coming Soon!

Provide your church with daily devotional content you can trust-straight to their phones!

Coming Soon!

Stay in the know at

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Vacation Bible School 2015 - Journey Off the Map

VBS 2015 - Journey Off The Map

Take the journey! 

LifeWay's VBS will take your kids to uncharted territory where they will begin to understand that obedience to God can lead them beyond the expected. So, toss the map, stick close to your guide, and prepare to listen for God’s direction in this journey that is unknown to us, but known by Him.

VBS Motto:  This is the way. Walk in it.

VBS Scripture: Isaiah 30:21
And whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.” (HCSB)

Learn all things VBS from LifeWay HERE.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Looking for short-term group studies for your 2015 ministry?

Looking for short-term group studies for your 2015 ministry?

LifeWay provides Bible studies for churches and individuals in all of life's stages. Whether you're shopping for Sunday School, a small group, or for personal growth, and whether your preference is to study by topic or verse-by-verse, you will find a variety of new and popular resources to help you grow spiritually and meet life's many challenges.

Check out these newer Bible studies from LifeWay...

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fifteen Trends for Churches in 2015

Perhaps you are like me and have spent part of the holidays reading various articles and posts on everyone's top things for 2014 or predictions for 2015. I'm always interested in things especially related to church practices and trends. And as I travel and visit with church leaders I am often asked about such from my observations, etc. So, I thought I would re-post here one of the better such articles or posts I have recently read for your benefit as well. 

Enjoy these posts from Thom S. Rainer, CEO at LifeWay and my upline boss. May they help you be encouraged, inspired, and challenged in your ministry work in the coming year.

Fifteen Trends for Churches in 2015, Part 1

Fifteen Trends for Churches in 2015, Part 2

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A New Way to Develop Aligned Group Content:

By Eric Geiger
This week, churches across the world will not only meet together to sing songs of the faith and sit under the preaching of God’s Word; they will also meet in homes and classrooms to study, share, confess, and pray for each other in groups. These groups matter greatly as God uses community to mature His people.
Healthy groups don’t merely meet together; they form community built on the truth of God’s Word. In light of this, I shared some time ago about two wise approaches for group content: (1) a discipleship plan that systematically develops people or (2) aligned content that unites the weekly sermon with the group experience.
Because groups matter so much, we at LifeWay have devoted tremendous energy to helping church leaders feed their people well in either approach
  • Approach One: A discipleship plan—This is an intentional roadmap for how your groups study the Bible, often found in a trustworthy Bible study resource. These are resources like Explore the BibleBible Studies for Life, and The Gospel Project, all intentionally crafted around a wise discipleship plan. (For more information on these, click here.)
  • Approach Two: Aligned content—This is the practice of connecting group Bible studies to the sermon content each week.
Today, I want to focus specifically on this second approach. Aligned content has a special ability to focus the whole church in a single direction. Churches that do this often have highly skilled pastors or staff members writing these studies each week. This is a time-consuming but worthwhile effort for these churches as every group discussion reinforces the vision, values, and mission of the church while taking the sermon to a more personal level.
A few years ago, a team of people here at LifeWay set out to serve these churches through a concierge service called Discipleship in Context. By doing so, local church staff members saved hours in their weekly schedules, hours that are now being utilized to develop and shepherd group leaders. This team continues to create custom Bible studies for churches every week, and while the team does a tremendous job, their bandwidth is limited.
Today, I want to share with you about a new service that bridges the gap, allowing churches that want aligned content to create custom Bible studies each week in a convenient and cost-effective way. is a web-based tool for creating and distributing custom Bible studies in minutes. Our team has built a customizable library of more than 1,500 studies (with up to 50 more added each week) from all 66 books of the Bible and on more than 200 topics. Simply search for your text or topic, choose a study that’s on target, and then quickly customize it as needed for your groups. The result is a custom study, written by a team of seminary-trained Bible study experts, that fits your groups perfectly.
In short, does the heavy lifting so that you can spend more time each week on other areas of ministry that require your attention. It’s easy to use, fast, and very affordable. I believe this will be an invaluable tool for churches that desire aligned content.
I’m very excited to tell you that you can head to right now. The site is currently in an open beta test, and you are invited to try it free for two weeks. This will give you an opportunity to test the site for two weeks and see how can help you deliver custom Bible studies to your groups at a fraction of the time it would ordinarily take you.
Your groups matter, and if you desire to use aligned content, I believe will help you feed your people in a careful and customized way.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Gospel Project Goes Chronological For All Ages In Fall 2015

In Fall 2015, The Gospel Project is beginning a new, chronological study plan for Kids, Students, and Adults.
Over the course of three years, participants will journey from Genesis to Revelation and discover how God's plan of redemption unfolds throughout Scripture and still today, compelling them to join the mission of God.
With The Gospel Project, churches and study groups can consistently experience:
  • Christ-centered Study that helps participants understand how all Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, gives testimony to Jesus Christ.
  • Chronological Study Plan that shows how the Bible is not just a collection of stories, but one unified story-God's story of redemption.
  • Age Alignment for churches that wish to build a shared discipleship plan and equip parents to lead spiritual conversations in the home.
  • Missional Application that examines how the gospel encourages and empowers us to be mission-driven.
  • Essential Doctrines that help participants grasp the theological truths and central themes of the Christian faith.
Learn more HERE and download the New Study Plan and preview a sample lesson for each age.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Explore the Bible Adult Personal Study Guide Enhancements Coming Spring and Summer

Look for these enhancements coming soon...

Context Passage Identified
Coming Spring 2015
In addition to the core passage being cited at the front of the study,
the context passage will be cited under the Understand the Context
section header. This will help participants to study the text in its context.

Bold Scripture
Coming Summer 2015
In order to emphasize Scripture in contrast to the commentary, not only
will the core passage continue to be located at the front of the study,
but the text will also be in bold font.

Scripture with Verse Divisions
Coming Summer 2015
The Bible text will appear both at the front of each session and under
verse headers in the Explore the Text section. This makes personal study
easier and recognizes the best practice of reading the passage in its
entirety followed by studying it in smaller pieces.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Four Ways To Be On Mission Together

By Rick Howerton

Few things bond a group more than being on mission together. The dreaming of it, the planning of it, the accomplishment of it, and the celebration of it bonds group members like few other experiences. I would suggest that your group do one of the following (even better, dream up ideas of your own) at least three times a year.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Three Signs It’s Time to Multiply Your Group

By Eddie Mosley
You probably know the terms well: start, birth, multiply, split, apprentice, launch, etc. They sound good when you read the principles in a book. But in your living room on Thursday nights or in your classroom on Sunday mornings, they just don’t carry the same weight or feel of success. 
The size of the group is important, not only for management of relationships, but for shepherding them on their spiritual journey. As a Small Group leader you are to shepherd each person in your group, not just lecture at them. Getting through the entire Bible study material becomes less important as discipling people on their spiritual journey becomes the focus. (And you will become burned out as a leader if your group grows too large.)
New groups are vital to the continued growth (church and community impact). So what is the perfect number at which we need to multiply our group? Because we treat all our groups (whether on campus or off campus) as families, it is more a matter of timing than numbers. Timing is something we pray for, review weekly reports for, and instruct leaders on twice a year.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Three Childcare Options for Small Groups

By Rick Howerton
In my nearly 15 years of consulting small group churches, training small group leaders, and taking calls from hundreds of small group pastors, childcare is the number one question asked of me (without a close second).

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Connection Between Neuroscience and Discipleship

By Sam O'Neil
If you’ve been paying attention to news headlines in recent months, you may have noticed that people are becoming awfully interested in their brains. Specifically, there have been a number of recent studies and discoveries claiming to uncover the fascinating interactions between our brains and our behaviors.
For example:
As you can see, “neuroscience” is the key term that describes this newly popular field. Neuroscience is the study of the human nervous system, usually focusing specifically on the brain. At its most basic level, neuroscience is an attempt to go “under the hood” and discover how the wiring of our brains impacts every element of our lives.
That being the case, I was especially intrigued by John Ortberg’s recent article in LeadershipJournal: “Can Neuroscience Help Us Disciple Anyone?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Protestant churches show economic improvement

By Jim Burton

The nation's slow economic recovery from a deep recession is showing up in the offering plates of Protestant churches in the U.S., according to a recent survey by LifeWay Research.
Although 56 percent of churches still report negative impact from the economy, 13 percent report a positive impact -- a jump of 4 percentage points from May 2012. When compared to the previous three years, churches are reporting less negative and more positive economic impact.
"The most recent recession revealed poor habits among Americans in terms of spending and lending," Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research director, said. "Surely churches have had to learn some of these same lessons."
Two-thirds of the churches surveyed report meeting or exceeding their 2014 budget. Nearly half (46 percent) are matching their budget, while 22 percent say receipts exceed their budget. Meanwhile, 29 percent of churches report receipts below budget.
When compared to 2013 giving, 74 percent of Protestant churches report offerings are at or above 2013 while 21 percent say receipts are lower than 2013.