Discussion-based Lessons

Discussion-based Lessons

Discussion-based lessons have groups talking and changing. We are changed more by what we say than what we hear. "Instead SPEAKING the truth (not just hearing the truth) we will grow." Ephesians 4.15 https://www.youtube.com/embed/lduldVUA8-4

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The Dechurched are not atheists

The Dechurched are not atheists

When social scientists think about religion, they typically categorize religiosity in three ways: behavior, belief, and belonging. Behavior is measured through things like church attendance or amount of offering donated to a religious organization. Belief is assessed...

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I’m Wondering… What if every group used Meetup?

I’m Wondering… What if every group used Meetup?

Here is what I know… The gospel nearly always spreads on the rails of relationships. If you want to check this, just ask. Next time you are in a group, ask for a show of hands. “How many of you came to faith in Christ primarily through the influence of friend or...

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I am wondering if this would help to reverse the decline

I am wondering if this would help to reverse the decline

Membership down by 20% Worship attendance down by 39% Group attendance down by 45% Baptism down by 58% Wow. Let those number sink in. I got to thinking, “What happened in the decade surrounding 2005? There could be a number of answers to this question and Southern...

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When Your Way Isn’t Working

When Your Way Isn’t Working

Are you feeling stuck in a cycle of ineffective patterns and searching for a way to break free? Look no further! Dive into the profound insights of Kyle Idleman's transformative book, "When Your Way Isn't Working," in our engaging and enlightening Bible study series....

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The practice of godliness

The practice of godliness

IF I HAD to choose one word to summarize all the marks of a mature Christian, it would be the word godly. There is no higher compliment that can be paid to a Christian than to call him a godly person. He might be a conscientious parent, a zealous church worker, a...

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Shadow Christians are valued by God.

Shadow Christians are valued by God.

Some ideas explode in our minds and shape our behavior for a lifetime. It happened to me in a seminary classroom almost forty years ago. The professor said three words, “Theology informs practice.” That simple sentence summarized the most consequential lesson from my...

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The Great Dechurching & reasons for hope

The Great Dechurching & reasons for hope

As our data poured in on the Great Dechurching, one truth became increasingly clear: what looks like defeat to many could really be the beginning of something special. Tens of millions of people may be leaving the church, and more than eighty-six churches may be...

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Reversing the Downward Trend

Reversing the Downward Trend

I don’t keep up with denominational trends much. About once a decade I pull my head out of my own work and take a look at the bigger picture. I was shocked at what I recently discovered. Have you seen this? (All data from...

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Jesus wants to know you intimately

Jesus wants to know you intimately

Shadow Christians are Christians, meaning they have become followers of Jesus Christ and adopted his identity as their own. His name means more than our names and much more than nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, or any cultural affinity. Believers aren’t hyphenated...

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Shadow Christans

Shadow Christans

My study of characters in the biblical shadows, unnamed but incredibly significant, led me to two important conclusions: God chooses and uses shadow Christians. He relates to them intimately and tenderly, places high value on their anonymous contributions, and uses...

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Train yourself to be godly

Train yourself to be godly

In 1 Timothy 4:7, Paul exhorted Timothy to “train yourself to be godly.” The word train Paul used is a word from the athletic arena, a word used to describe the training activity of young men as they prepared themselves to compete in the athletic games of that day....

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Let everything you say be good and helpful

Let everything you say be good and helpful

How you treat others is a function of how you feel about yourself. Hurt people hurt people by projecting their pain. They criticize in others what they don’t like about themselves. There is a third dimension to the Great Commandment that is overlooked and...

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The Pursuit of Holiness

The Pursuit of Holiness

One of the first identifying marks of a growing Christian is the pursuit of holiness. God has called every Christian to a holy life. There are no exceptions to this call. It is not a call only to pastors, missionaries, and a few dedicated Sunday school teachers. Every...

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Confessions of a people pleaser

Confessions of a people pleaser

“Pilate was merciful,” said C. S. Lewis, “till it became risky.” He knew Jesus was innocent, but Pilate was a people pleaser! “Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them.” As a recovering people pleaser, can I share a few lessons learned? An insult...

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Fellowship and spiritual growth

Fellowship and spiritual growth

ONE DAY I received an urgent phone call from a Christian friend asking if we could have lunch together that day. We met together periodically over lunch or breakfast to share what God was doing in our lives, to encourage and counsel one another, and to share prayer...

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Cheap Grace

Cheap Grace

CHEAP GRACE IS THE mortal enemy of our church. Our struggle today is for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace as bargain-basement goods, cut-rate forgiveness, cut-rate comfort, cut-rate sacrament; grace as the church’s inexhaustible pantry, from which it is doled out...

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Growing faith isn’t all easy

Growing faith isn’t all easy

AS WE SEEK to apply the Scriptures to our daily lives, we soon learn it isn’t all that easy. Sure, we can train ourselves to give thanks for the socks we are putting on and the food we are about to eat, but what about doing it from the heart? What about patience with...

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Dechurching: what a difference 50 years makes

Dechurching: what a difference 50 years makes

It’s hard to fully grasp just how much different American’s behavior is around church attendance today versus fifty years ago. The General Social Survey (GSS) is the gold standard for measuring religious changes in the United States. It has been asking the same...

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How to get for what you ask

How to get for what you ask

Asking is an art form, isn’t it? When done right, it involves thoughtful consideration. My advice? Pray it before you say it. The right word at the wrong time won’t work. Timing is critical, and so is tone. When I record audiobooks, I try to smile. In one sense, that...

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THE KEY TO TRANSFORMATION

THE KEY TO TRANSFORMATION

IF WE ARE going to grow into Christlikeness through exposure to God’s Word, one of the things we must do is to develop Bible-based convictions. A conviction is a determinative belief: something you believe so strongly that it affects the way you live. Someone has...

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How Do You Know If You’re Really Changing? 

How Do You Know If You’re Really Changing? 

Jenn didn’t have much trouble making friends. She did, however, have trouble keeping them. She noticed a pattern of making acquaintances, getting closer to people by hanging out, then realizing that her new friends eventually started making excuses, having other...

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Spiritual Winter

Spiritual Winter

Regardless of what you may feel about the meteorological season, I want us to think about a kind of winter of the soul. Spiritual winter. You may be able to relocate to some part of the world where you can avoid cold weather, but there is no place you can move to...

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Transformed by doing ministry

Transformed by doing ministry

Ministries Are Developed to Help Believers Live Every Day in Every Way Just as Jesus Would If He Were Living in Their Body The ultimate goal of equipping the saints for ministry is not just so the saints can do ministry. That’s part of it, and every believer is...

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Confessions of a control freak

Confessions of a control freak

An old saying reminds us, A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. Our attempts to change people’s opinions are usually met with resistance. It’s like the old Aesop fable where the sun and the wind argued over who was stronger. The issue was...

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Mental health and the dechurched

Mental health and the dechurched

In phase 3 of our study, we looked at the mental health of dechurched evangelicals, and it became clear that anxiety, depression, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts were major factors in their lives. When asked to rate themselves on a scale of 0–100 in these areas,...

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The primary means of spiritual growth

The primary means of spiritual growth

THE PRIMARY MEANS of growth God has given us is His Word. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:2 that “like newborn babies, [we should] crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” Although Peter does not explicitly use a word for Scripture,...

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Every Member Is a Minister 

Every Member Is a Minister 

If God has given the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, then it stands to reason that the saints are called to minister. Learning God’s Word isn’t just for the experts. All members are meant...

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Shadow Christians

Shadow Christians

In a far more significant way, some names are recorded in the Bible. Those names are printed on vastly more important paper. Their stories chronicle the contributions specific individuals made to the progress of God’s kingdom. Their names are associated with...

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Spiritual growth: monergistic or synergistic?

Spiritual growth: monergistic or synergistic?

ARE YOU READY for a couple of big words? They are monergistic and synergistic. You are probably familiar with synergistic. It describes the action of two agents working together to produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual effects. How...

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REDEFINING LOSTNESS

REDEFINING LOSTNESS

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in.” Anger and Superiority Jesus often speaks of sin and salvation under the metaphors of being “lost” and “found.” Chapter 15 of Luke’s gospel contains three parables that Jesus tells to the religious leaders. The...

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The Need of the Hour

The Need of the Hour

How can we accomplish the job God Gave us—taking the Gospel to an enslaved world? — DAWSON TROTMAN More than twenty-five years ago, in one of his last messages to staff members and trainees before his death, Navigator’s founder Dawson Trotman (1906-1956) drove home...

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Are educated or uneducated dechurching?

Are educated or uneducated dechurching?

In every tradition, the more education people have, the more likely they are to stay in church. This offers a surprising challenge to the common belief that higher education is facilitating departures from the church. Many Christian colleges were founded based on the...

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Disciplined by Grace

Disciplined by Grace

THE TITLE OF this chapter may seem like an oxymoron. Discipline may suggest restraint and legalism, rules and regulations, and a God who frowns on anyone who has fun. Grace, on the other hand, seems to mean freedom from any rules, spontaneous and unstructured living,...

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What is a just war?

What is a just war?

The just war theory is an attempt to distill moral principles into guidelines relevant to warfare. The goal of the just war theory is to identify when it is morally acceptable to support a particular conflict. From a Christian standpoint, this means applying biblical...

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Reaching the Reachable

Reaching the Reachable

Imagine your church were to send out two mission teams—one to the Philippines and one to Japan. In this hypothetical scenario, the team from the Philippines came back and reported 100 people had come to faith in Christ, while the team from Japan reported only 3...

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The Real Purpose of Leadership 

The Real Purpose of Leadership 

Leadership in the church has little to do with prestige or position. The specific purpose of these leadership gifts is to equip the saints (Eph. 4:12)—i.e., all believers. Most people who have been brought up in the church assume that the pastor’s job is to do...

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What is Hamas?

What is Hamas?

Hamas is a Palestinian nationalist group that seeks to eliminate the nation of Israel, replacing it with an Islamic state. Hamas is an acronym for Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-Islāmiyyah, which in English translates to “Islamic Resistance Movement.” Hamas is a militant...

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Why there has to be a hell

Why there has to be a hell

Now let’s tackle that difficult issue of hell. People often ask, “What kind of a loving God would send people into a fiery hell?” That question is usually followed by, “If that’s how God is, I don’t want to know Him.” Let me give you a word picture that may help you...

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Dechurching: who is leaving?

Dechurching: who is leaving?

No group of people is immune from the Great Dechurching. The dechurched are almost evenly split between men and women (52 percent and 48 percent respectively). According to our study, Roman Catholics, Protestants, and those who identify as “other Christian” have all...

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How to listen well

How to listen well

Are you living at a conversational pace? And when you have a conversation, do you do more talking or listening? I’ve had people fly across the country to spend an hour with me, and I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Trust me—I love hearing people’s stories. But I was...

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The death of denominations in America

The death of denominations in America

One of the primary lenses through which demographers can track religious decline is through denominational records. Almost every large religious tradition has been tracking their total membership for decades as a means of understanding where churches are growing and...

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Leaders Are Gifted to Equip God’s People for Service 

Leaders Are Gifted to Equip God’s People for Service 

This passage begins with a statement that “Christ himself gave.” Transformation begins and ends with grace. God provides significant leaders in different places to help mature His body, but the focus is never supposed to be on the leaders. It’s always on the One who...

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Evangelism in the Workplace

Evangelism in the Workplace

The workplace has changed. These days, people try to get to work as early as possible to beat traffic. They skip coffee breaks. They eat lunch at their desk. They rush out at the end of the day to beat rush hour traffic and then pick up their children. How does...

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Sunday School University

For nearly thirty years, Dr. Bill Tolar and Dr. Brian Harbour have helped thousands of Sunday School teachers prepare their lessons by means of video.  Each week, they  provide an insightful walk through this week's scriptures and provide concrete Bible-to-life application points for you to make with your class this Sunday.  Their video lesson previews are available for both the Life and Explore Series materials. We have arranged a special one-month free trial of their videos for anyone who mentions joshhunt.com.  Click here for more information or to get your free trial.

Josh Hunt believes in the power of the small group ministry in your church. And, his belief is contagious. In his new book, Make Your Group Grow, Josh presents sound application to easy to understand research that will benefit every size and style of church. Your groups and leadership will benefit from this book.

Ed Stetzer,
President of
LifeWay Research, www.edstetzer.com

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