Studying the Bible in Small Groups
Author: Karen Soole
Published by: 10Publishing, 2015

'Unleash the Word', by Karen Soole, provides practical help and encouragement on studying the Bible in small groups. The author recommends the 'big questions' model:

  1. The "no-holds barred question": is there anything that particularly strikes you as we read the passage through?
  2. What does it say?
  3. What does it mean?
  4. So what?

Some helpful quotations from the book:

"A small-group leader is not there to lecture group members, but to help them engage with the text." (ch. 1)

"So as we approach the idea of leading a Bible study, we have two main aims in our minds: the first is to get people to really engage with God's Word so that they are rooted in Christ; the second is to make sure the Bible is handled well within a context that handles people well." (ch. 1)

"The aim in a study is for the leader to help everyone move on in their understanding, to spiral deeper into the text, to get closer to the heart of God's Word." (ch. 2)

"Whatever our temperaments we need to keep hold of two principles: we need to first really know and rejoice in God's Word, and second really know and love God's people." (ch. 3)

"Switching from a model of Bible study that asks many questions to one with far fewer is nerve-wracking - it is as though your security blanket has been taken away. It might appear structure-less, but this method has a very clear structure. People are often concerned that with so few questions the group will quickly come to a staggering halt. In my experience this does not happen." (ch. 7)

"Let's not make our studies into sessions that leave everyone burdened by religious rules but instead let us encourage each other to live in relationship with our Lord because of His mercy." (ch. 6)

Available as a printed book and in eBook/Kindle format.  [more...]

Help Your Young People Enjoy Life with the Bible
Author: Adrian Blenkinsop
Published by: Bible Society Australia, 2013

"The Bible According to Gen Z" is a collection of essays from Australia on encouraging Bible engagement among young people. It includes research results and analysis, together with responses from youth leaders and case studies.

Here are some selected quotes:

"The study showed that the best way to encourage young people to read the Bible is to encourage them to participate in a Bible reading group."

"Encouraging the sharing of ideas, opinions and questions around a passage is also vital for young people to dig into Scripture, and have a sense of 'discovery' and shared learning."

"Many young people read very little, especially in the form of books... Bible reading requires a sustained effort of a kind that is 'uncomfortable' for many young people."

"Individualism and post-traditionalism has meant that life is approached in a very flexible manner... Few young people develop strong habitual or structured daily activities, except in relation to the demands of school and work... The mobile phone has encouraged this unstructured approach to life. Hence, few young people develop structured habits of daily Bible reading."

"There's one core issue that sits at the heart of young people not 'getting into' the Bible. It may seem harsh - but it's simply that there is a consistent lack of modelling of Bible engagement from leaders. If the leaders of young people are not engaging with the Bible, the clear message to those they influence is that the Bible is not important."

"When Bible engagement is done in non-interactive, non-creative ways, it often reinforces the lack of importance and relevance of the Bible in the minds of young people."

"Experiencing the Bible as relevant depends on the attitudes one brings to it. If young people read it simply as stories of long ago, it had little relevance. If they read it as God's communication today, they were far more likely to experience it as relevant to life."

"For the young people who do read the Bible, there is often a frustration with the 'non-immediacy' of it (the fast-food approach to the Bible)."

Available as an e-book or printed book.  [more...]

Mapping Bible Engagement Across a Changing Culture
Published by: Barna, 2016

From the Publisher's description:

The Bible in America is a multiyear survey of attitudes toward and perceptions of the Bible, set against the backdrop of a changing cultural landscape. Commissioned by American Bible Society, Barna researchers have conducted more than 14,000 interviews with U.S. teens and adults since 2011 to discover:

  • How do Americans define the Bible?
  • Do they believe it is authoritative for their lives? And in what ways?
  • What is the nation’s current state of biblical literacy?
  • How often do people read, hear and study the Scriptures?
  • What does the data suggest about the future of Bible engagement?
  • How is technology changing the ways people relate to the Bible?
  • Are there significant differences between generations or other demographic groups?

The findings reveal that orienting ourselves toward the Bible is one of the most urgent tasks for today’s Church. The Bible in America offers analysis, insights and encouragement to leaders who want to understand how people engage with the Scriptures today and how to cultivate biblical faith that lasts in an ever-changing world.

Full color report with infographics. 173 pages.
Available as a printed book or an e-book. Price: $40.  [more...]

An interactive workshop for training listening group leaders and promoters
Author: Richard Margetts

The training workshop described in this guide was developed in West Africa and includes input received from around the world. It is for listening group leaders (those who lead/facilitate the groups) and for group promoters (those who visit groups to encourage them and mentor the facilitators).

A listening group is an opportunity for people to get together to listen to a passage from the Bible and talk about it together. In this guide, you’ll find elements which focus on the ‘why’ of listening groups as well as the practical details of ‘how’ to lead a group.

WHY?
Group leaders need to know why they are doing what they are doing. What is the aim of a listening group? What kinds of group can we have? How will we know if a group is working well or not? Why are they gathering together to listen? The aim should be transformational Scripture engagement: that people encounter God’s Word in life-changing ways.

HOW?
The workshop guide includes sections on how to lead the listening time, how to manipulate the audio player and how to ask good discussion questions. It can be taught in an interactive way and participants should have plenty of opportunity during the workshop to practice participating in and leading listening groups.

An ideal time for such a workshop could be when new audio Scriptures in the local language have been recorded for a community and when audio players are available. It would work well at the launch of a listening group programme in a region, after some initial promotion work has been done to get churches involved and committed to running groups.

The guide is downloadable here in both PDF and Word formats and is published under a Creative Commons License, meaning that you can adapt it for use in your context.  [more...]

Monday 12 September - Friday 2 December, 2016
Redcliffe College, Gloucester, UK
Sponsor: SIL and Wycliffe Bible Translators

This practical course offers specialist training in how to make God’s Word available and accessible to people of all nations and languages and to facilitate transformative engagement with Scripture.

Participants will:

  • Explore how language, culture and worldview impact engagement with Scripture.
  • Learn to use practical tools for engaging individuals and communities with Scripture, such as Bible studies and Chronological Bible Storying.
  • Discover how Scripture can be made accessible through audio, visual, digital and print mediums.
  • Develop skills in strategic planning and community engagement.

Scripture Engagement is open to anyone but also forms part of the initial training for those working with SIL International on a Scripture Engagement or Ethno Arts assignment.

More information is available from Redcliffe's website.  [more...]

Redcliffe College, Gloucester, UK

The MA in Contemporary Missiology with Redcliffe College is designed to give a firm understanding of mission approaches and issues.

All students take two compulsory modules which:

  • explore approaches to the concept of missio Dei (God’s mission in the world) and holistic mission, and give a thorough orientation on skills for postgraduate missiological research and study.
  • focus on a number of crucial issues that demand attention as we participate in God’s mission in the contemporary world.

In addition, it is possible to take the Scripture Engagement stream which includes the following two modules:

Scripture Engagement: Approaches and Issues
The Bible is sometimes described as a ‘tool’ of mission. This module will enable you to explore and evaluate a number of approaches for and issues in Scripture Engagement in different cultural contexts, both in the 'West' and in the majority world.

Scripture Engagement: Professional Project
The module will provide you with the opportunity to undertake an approved project of independent study relating to a specific area of Scripture Engagement professional practice.  [more...]

Monday 13 June - Friday 12 August, 2016
Trinity Western University in Langley, near Vancouver
Sponsor: Canada Institute of Linguistics

CanIL offers a Scripture Engagement class June 13-August 12, 2016 and training track for those interested in assisting local communities to engage with the Bible.

Enroll through May 30 at: www.canil.ca/scripture-engagement

Here are some example Scripture-infused commissioning projects from an assignment presented in Chapel: