FRESNO - The Gospel Project, Southern Baptists' new Bible study material, is the first "ongoing curriculum designed for off-campus small groups," according to a California Southern Baptist Bible study specialist.
Created by LifeWay Christian Resources and introduced Aug. 1, Tom Belew, California Southern Baptist Convention small groups specialist, said of The Gospel Project, "The curriculum, while ongoing, is not dated for a particular day or Sunday and is grouped into 13 sessions with stand-alone Christmas and Easter units available online."
While Sunday school curriculum is typically designed with the church setting in mind, Belew said the "Gospel Project curriculum is designed with in-home in mind and is most reflected in the children and preschool lessons where there are video segments and in-home teaching activities."
The Gospel Project is a Christ-centered curriculum looking at the grand narrative of scripture and how the gospel transforms lives, said Trevin Wax, managing editor of the Project. Introduced in the spring, the curriculum's first material debuts with the fall 2012 line. Thousands of churches participated in a pilot project and downloaded four free lessons of the study.
Each session of The Gospel Project immerses participants - adults, students and children - in the gospel through every story, theological concept and call to missions from Genesis to Revelation.
"At its core, people value the theological depth but also appreciate the fact that we use our confessional statement ('The Baptist Faith and Message') as our standard," according to Ed Stetzer, general editor of The Gospel Project. "They are saying they trust LifeWay and the theological guidelines we use to convey the narrative of the gospel.
"We've also been surprised with how many non-SBC churches have ordered," Stetzer noted.
"The launch of The Gospel Project is just weeks away, and we are so encouraged by the initial response," Wax said. "Thousands of churches from a variety of denominations and affiliations have ordered the curriculum, and it is selling nearly twice what we originally forecast.
"The new small group or Sunday school curriculum provides age-graded options for all ages. The Gospel Project provides an opportunity for the entire family to be studying similar Bible content at the same time, making it possible for families to have conversations around the weekly Bible study.
"It has fully digital options that allow the church to receive resources digitally and makes it easy for a church to personalize and customize each session. This feature allows the church to send class members weekly sessions digitally.
"I'm excited about the new iPad app for adults and the iPhone app for students because there are a lot of great things we can do in an app that we can't do in a printed piece," Wax added. "Both students and teachers will have an enhanced study experience with the app as a supplement to their study. These new resources represent a major step forward for us in how we can serve churches digitally."
He also said a new "curriculum manager" will soon launch, designed for churches that purchase the digital files to keep things organized.
"The Gospel Project is a great choice for churches looking for off-campus options, an opportunity for the family to be in the same content each session, the ability to send resources digitally or looking for a change," Belew noted.
Find out how to preview and order the Gospel Project curriculum.