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LifeMatters editor connects via blog

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–When Chad Jordan became editor of LifeMatters, a Sunday School curriculum published by LifeWay Christian Resources, he wanted to develop a more intimate connection with the Sunday School teachers who use the materials.

Taking advantage of online resources, Jordan launched a LifeMatters-related blog called Insights for Leaders.

“The purpose of the blog is to have real conversations with the curriculum’s end users — the teachers,” Jordan said. “My posts aren’t earth-shattering. They are based on the lesson in the study materials for that week. I’m not re-teaching the lesson, but sharing personal stories of what God has been teaching me that relates to that week’s lesson.”

Since he worked for a smaller company before coming to LifeWay, Jordan remembers how easy it was to feel disconnected from the authors of Sunday School material.

Coming from outside LifeWay, “I know what it is like to have no personal connection with LifeWay,” Jordan said. “On the blog, I hope I come across as being authentic while building credibility by putting myself out there.”

Jordan’s efforts have paid off since the blog’s launch last year.

Young adult teacher Jennifer Brackin from Big Sandy Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Ala., stumbled upon the Insights for Leaders blog when perusing ThreadsMedia.com, the young adults site for LifeWay resources.

“We used a few short-term Bible studies first [from Threads] then migrated to LifeMatters,” Brackin said. “I visit the Threads website often, just for information and articles about teaching young adults, and I just accidentally found this particular blog. Now that I’ve found it, I rely on it each week.”

Brackin has found personal encouragement from Jordan’s blog posts but appreciates most the additional support she receives from the blog for her Sunday School lessons.

“It makes me feel better to have another piece of material to pull from, another example or illustration to talk about,” Brackin said. “Sometimes I read the whole blog word for word to the class. Other times I just paraphrase or work it into my normal teaching.”

Brackin serves in a smaller church with a few college-aged adults, single working adults and young married couples. She and her husband became leaders of the young adult ministry last fall, teaching the Sunday School class and staying connected with class members throughout the week.

“I e-mail my class about twice a week with tidbits of information about the lesson or just life, and I frequently use the blog material or parts of it in my e-mail,” she said. “I like that it’s real-life stuff that these young people can relate to — even me at 40-something years old.”

Young adult leader Larry Simpson also serves in a smaller Baptist church in Louisville, Ky. He has used the LifeMatters material while teaching at Poplar Level Baptist Church.

“The LifeMatters material has been a blessing to us,” Simpson said. “This is the third quarter we are using the material, and our study sessions have become ripe with meaningful discussions and connecting God’s Word to our young adults’ everyday lives.”

Simpson also pulls supplemental material for his lessons from the Insights for Leaders blog.

“I check it out weekly to see what insights have been added regarding that week’s Bible study,” he said. “It gives some unique insight as I prepare for each week’s Bible study. The comments oftentimes clarify what it is God really wants us to get out of the material for that week.”

Simpson also appreciates “the interaction between other users of LifeMatters and the editor who posts on the blog,” he said of Jordan’s online initiative. “It is great to see how God is working with people involved in the study, and how that interacts with the people who designed and wrote the material.”
Jenny Rice is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources. For more information about LifeMatters and other Threads studies, or to read the Insights for Leaders blog, visit ThreadsMedia.com.

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  • Jenny Rice