Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No More Boring Sunday School

If you're in charge of adult education at your church, check out this hot new curriculum from the good people at Faith Alive, the publishing group at CRC HQ. Available just in time for fall programs! Buy it by the truckload!

Full disclosure: we won't make any money if you do. So never mind the truckload. But still, here's an adult ed. curriculum on worship that we think turned out pretty well.

Ron was working on it last December, when we should have been out shopping for Christmas presents for our children (sorry kids! that doggone kingdom work again!). The task was to write an engaging, five-week study guide on worship for regular folks in a regular congregation: individual lessons for five days each week, then a group lesson for the end of the week.

So Ron took all his best, most tried and true worship talks (let's have a show of hands for how many folks reading this blog have heard, for example, Ron talk about the participate-o-meter); he zazzed them up with nifty stories and examples, then condensed them into this attractive little package, complete with Bible study sections, discussion questions, the whole bit. It fits into the Disciples series as part of year 2.

The daily readings walk, step-by-step, through a typical four-fold worship pattern (Gathering, Word, Meal, Sending). Along the way, alternating lessons explore key adjectives that describe faithful, vital worship. These don't function prescriptively ("Listen to the worship wonk who will tell you exactly what to do!"), but descriptively -- they are extended meditations on virtues and values no congregation would wish their worship to do without.

Of course, if you do want a worship wonk to come to your church and tell you what to do, that could be arranged. (Ron has been known to do a bit of itinerant work from time to time).

So if your church needs a Sunday-service makeover (or even if it doesn't), this study guide is a nice way to build grass-roots understanding of worship basics. A little understanding can go a long way toward quelling pointless debates and toward opening a congregation to the Spirit's work in cooking up lively, meaningful worship. (Maybe that accounts for the otherwise perplexing photo of a burner on the cover. But does the Spirit use natural gas? A non-renewable fossil fuel?? Wouldn't the Spirit use wind energy?)

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