Bible Class – Throwing Away the Template

There is a problem that has been on my mind for a while now. What happens on Sunday is so much different than anything else most Christians have going the rest of the week that I am afraid it often doesn’t actually connect. Also, if we aren’t careful, Sunday can just become one more “to do” in our busy schedules. More on the second one later. Now, addressing the first issue I have decided to throw away the typical Bible class format for a while and try some things that seem to me to be more authentic/real.

Over the last few Sundays we have been trying new things in our 20s & 30s Bible class. The idea has been to throw away everything we have ever come to know Bible class as being and just do what is most meaningful and helpful to real people living real lives. For example, I have come to realize that most people are extremely busy and distracted. The result is a lack of connect with God. So instead of spending 60 minutes talking about how many things they need to do in order to have a less busy, more God-focused life we tried something else. We started with some questions about our lives, our distractions, and our lack of focus on God in our every day lives. We read a couple of verses and I then “gave them permission” to go wherever they like (empty classrooms, outside under a tree, wherever…) that they could spend some time in quiet stillness. Some went outside, some went to other rooms and some went who knows where). When it was all done the consensus was that we needed more time! Here I was afraid the silence might be too awkward for some and yet it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough because it was a need and they could feel that silence was beneficial. I don’t think they would have felt that way had we just talked about our need for stillness. That is just one example. There are many more we could talk about.

Here is my question for you – what would Bible class look like if you threw away your template and asked, “What is the very best use of this time to grow the lives and faith of those in the class?”

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

4 Responses to Bible Class – Throwing Away the Template

  1. Paul Smith says:

    Matt, I would really be interested in hearing about this again from you in a few weeks, to kind of give us a summary of what you have been doing and how it has impacted your class. One complicating problem is that so many people have such a limited understanding of the Bible, and we only have so many chances to really teach the text. I agree the old template may be flawed, but I do believe there must be a time for serious, reflective study of the Scripture.

    Please let us know how your “experiment” if you want to call it that, continues.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Paul…more on the way on this topic this week. I was out this past week with family.

      Hope you don’t mind…I addressed your comment in a follow up post. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  2. Charlie Sohm says:

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) groups. Perhaps your new template could borrow from it.

    • mattdabbs says:

      What BSF does well is making people study in advance before they can participate in class discussion. It is an effort to get people to go deeper in their study. That means you have to have material prepared months in advance and most people who right their own curriculum won’t do that or don’t feel they have the time to do that.

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