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LifeWay looks to streamline curriculum

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–From newborns to senior adults, the challenge of discipleship is evident at churches each week.

To better address the decades of people’s life experiences, LifeWay Christian Resources is introducing LifeSpan, a new strategy to streamline curriculum throughout all the age groups so that the full scope of Scripture is communicated.

LifeSpan can help churches address spiritual needs “from birth to heaven,” said Bret Robbe, LifeWay’s director of leadership and adult publishing.

Describing traditional discipleship in many churches as a “potpourri approach,” Robbe said Sunday School classes often bounce from one curriculum to another or from one hot topic to the next without considering how those topics connect or whether students are receiving a complete biblical education.

“If you’re doing a potpourri approach to Bible study, you cannot promise people they’re going to get even the basic Bible stories,” Robbe said. “Most churches don’t have a strategy when it comes to Sunday School curriculum and they cannot guarantee their people are getting the biblical foundations they need.”

Robbe explained that LifeSpan is not a new curriculum, but is an initiative around which all LifeWay curriculums are based. Preschool and children’s curriculums are built upon LifeWay’s Levels of Biblical Learning with a theme of “Hear, Know, Do”; student curriculums are built upon the “Known” strategy that leads students to deepen their faith through the “Know, Own, Known” theme; and adult curriculums focus on creating mature Christians using the theme “Connect, Grow, Serve, Go.”

Tom Crocker, a veteran church consultant who works primarily with churches, large and small, seeks to “come alongside churches and support them in their ministry … and be an advocate for their ministry needs back to LifeWay.”

“LifeSpan is a tool to help churches understand the big picture,” Crocker said. “It will really help make sense out of where they’re trying to go and give them a framework for different age groups to have conversations.”

Veteran pastor B.J. Bennett at First Baptist Church in Ridgeland, Miss., with about 200 people in worship each week, said he can see the potential benefits of the LifeSpan strategy.

“My concern has always been what are children going to look like by the time the get through sixth grade,” Bennett said. “How will they study their Bible? What will their understanding be?

“And after that, where will they be spiritually after high school or after college? If parents come to the church and ask, ‘What will our child be learning?’ I want to have something to show them.”

LifeWay plans to begin a pilot implementation of the LifeSpan strategy in about 12 churches this fall, and Robbe has begun to hear church leaders voicing excitement about the initiative.

“Churches want to know for sure, ‘Is the Bible being taught?'” Robbe said. “Pastors have an obligation to teach the Bible not just from the pulpit, but in classrooms as well.

“This is a planned strategy of spiritual development from birth to heaven.”
For more information about adult curriculum and a short audio Webcourse about LifeSpan, visit LifeWay.com/adultstrategy. For more information about the other age-level curriculums, visit LifeWay.com/kidspromise and LifeWay.com/studentstrategy.

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  • Brooklyn Noel Lowery