On Tuesday, I participated in the first ever The Gospel Project Twitter Chat. A big THANKS goes to Becky Loyd for organizing/promoting it so that I along with Ed Stetzer, Eric Geiger, Trevin Wax, and Jared Wilson could take part in it. It was a great opportunity for us to interact with those who are using this new curriculum and those curious about it.
During the actual chat, we had a tough time keeping up with everyone’s question due to the sheer volume of tweets. We appreciated the incredible engagement. At one point, #gospelproject was the #3 on the Twitter trend chart for the United States. We appreciated all of the great questions about theology, ministry methods, and what is next for this new Bible study material.
Don’t forget, you can sample a month of the curriculum entirely free by clicking here.
Because of the pace of the Twitter chat, we weren’t able to answer every single question. However, we mined the chat history and selected the most frequently asked questions. Here they are listed below.
Q: When does the Winter 2013 curriculum of The Gospel Project (TGP) release?
Q: Can I use TGP in my small church with 8-15 children on a very small budget, effectively?
Q: Teachers of the student curriculum say that piecing the study together is difficult. How would you respond?
A: Our desire was to deliver a straightforward teaching plan with additional teaching content so that everything a teacher would need was provided in the Leader Guide. For the students, there is an in-class component as well as personal readings that break down the deeper theological concepts into easier and more relatable stories. When they are all used together, they complement each other.
Q: How long does the fall curriculum last from beginning to end?
A: TGP is not dated, so you can launch the study when it’s most convenient for your church. One volume of TGP is designed to take you 13 weeks to complete from beginning to end. We will release four volumes per year, and it will take three years to cover the whole scope and sequence.
Q: Is there a digital leader guide app for the student material?
A: There is not a leader app for students. There are digital files for the leader but no app. This is something we are considering adding.
Q: What’s the difference between the leader and personal study guides?
A: The personal study guides include devotional readings for each week. The leader guide includes expanded lesson content, further commentary and additional resources.
Q: Are you finding people of all ages engaging with the material?
A: Yes. We’ve heard good feedback from preschool teachers to senior adult classes. We’ve been taken aback by the breadth of age groups benefiting from the materials.
A: Yes. The core values are built into every volume and every lesson. One does not have to proceed chronologically. We recommend people jump in any time.
Q: Teachers of the student material say that the design is visually bland. How would you respond?
A: Each of our studies has a unique style and design to it. During the Pilot Project, we asked specifically about the design. The overwhelming feedback was positive regarding the student book.
Q: Are there any plans to make a TGP video curriculum for students?
A: No. Our goal with this study was to see churches learning theology together. Having a video teaching students allows the leaders to simply watch along with the students without personal investment in the study themselves. We believe a prepared teacher can connect with their class better and have more significant group times than if they rely on a video.
Q: The resources are great, but I have to switch between the DVD and the enhanced CD often during lessons. Any suggestions?
A: The resources on the enhanced CD are intended to be printed prior to class or used in a presentation program. We are providing additional resources for presentation software beginning with Volume 3.
Q: Is TGP for any church, denomination or tradition? Or a certain church, denomination or tradition?
A: The statement of faith that provides guidance to our writers is the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. That said, there are a variety of denominations using the curriculum (Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Evangelical Free, Christian church, etc.).
Q: The “Ready Your Heart” devotional is not in the leader guide. Are there plans for this?
A: Not at this time. We fill the Leader Guides with additional teaching content. I suggest every teacher also utilize a personal study guide in order to benefit from the devotionals and to be aware of what their group has in their books.
Q: From a middle school pastor perspective, the high school material is very difficult for middle school-aged students to grasp. How would you respond?
A: I would say that the concepts aren’t too big for middle school students to understand; however, the current teaching plans do not assist the teacher in communicating those concepts as well as they should. I have heard from several middle school pastors that love the study, so I know it is doable. We are in the process of working through what a middle school teaching plan would look like and will be delivering that in the future. In the meantime, I would suggest middle school teachers focus on the main theological statement each lesson is built around and then unpack that statement. If a student walks away knowing the statement and can explain what that statement means, that is a start. As is the case with any study, the teacher has to take the content and fit it into their context.
Q: Are there plans for holiday topics (Christmas, Easter) within the curriculum?
A: For kids, there will be both Christmas and Easter lessons that correspond to the holidays. For adults and students, the Easter lesson corresponds to the holiday, and we are providing a free Christmas lesson online.
Q: Where can I find a more detailed scope and sequence for the full three-year study?
A: We are still working out the passages and outlines for future volumes. The broad vision for the scope and sequence is online, but the specific details are still being hammered out as we move forward.
Q: Where can I find leader tips for the student material?
A: Right now, Trevin does a general video each week explaining the main points for the lesson. You can find that video posted weekly at The Gospel Project blog. We are in the process of figuring out what a student-specific help would look like. Would it be a video, a blog post, etc… Feedback would be welcomed!
Q: Are there any plans to make a video curriculum for adults?
A: Not at this time. The team agreed that we want to raise up teachers and group leaders and move away from a class environment that lends itself to passive spectators. We believe the group discussion is a key element to the curriculum.
Q: Are there any plans for an Android phone app?
A: Possibly in the future. We are experimenting with the app at this time, and we will expand options as we go.
Q: How can I get the adults to see the benefits of using TGP when they say it is too difficult and deep to understand?
A: The material is challenging for many people, and we think this is a good thing. I suggest watching the coaching videos on the Gospel Project blog. It’s important to know what the key truth is for each lesson and to drive that point home, even if you don’t cover all the material.
Q: Where can I find the e-book versions of the material and how much do they cost?
A: You can find all the e-books and prices listed here for all age groups.
Q: Are there plans for a supplemental family home devotion that incorporates all groups?
A: We will soon be launching a family app that will have devotional content for families to do at home. There’s also the family journal pages on the enhanced CD that comes with the leader kit for TGP for Kids. For parents of students, you can find “One Conversation for Parents” here.
Q: Can the curriculum be used as a “primer” for missional groups?
A: Absolutely. Mission is one of the core values of this curriculum and is designed to lead people to engage their community with the gospel.
Q: Is there a plan to develop a book-by-book study (biblical theology) in collaboration with TGP?
A: Not at this time. LifeWay’s book-by-book study is Explore the Bible, used by more than a million people every week.
Q: What is the typical length of one lesson?
A: The kids’ Bible study is designed for 75 minutes, and the additional worship experience is 60 minutes. The adult Bible study can be done in 45 minutes or extended to 75 minutes, depending on the time given to discussion. The student Bible study can be done in 45 minutes depending on the time spent in discussion. I would say an hour is the optimal time.
Q: Would the material be feasible for small groups in a church that has never done small groups?
A: Yes. We have heard of many churches using TGP in a small group context.
Q: Is there any chance we will see a theological lesson on the Holy Spirit in TGP?
A: We have multiple lessons on the Holy Spirit already in the works for TGP.
Q: How can we help those who want more personal application?
A: LifeWay offers another curriculum line that centers on personal application more than theology – Bible Studies for Life. This is a life application-based ongoing study. We are also planning to relaunch BSFL in Fall 2013.
Q: Are there plans for another Tweetchat soon?
A: Not currently, but we will let you know when one is planned!
If you still didn’t get one of your questions answered, you can leave a comment here, ask through Twitter using #gospelproject, or directing your tweet to @gospel_project.