July 19, 2006

The Need for More Adventist Resources

capThere is a real need for more discipleship resources created by Seventh-day Adventist writers and publishers. One of the reasons we list materials from other sources in this feature is that there are not enough new Adventist materials. Another reason is that there are some topics for which excellent, Bible-based materials have been prepared by other Christians—and it would be a waste of resources to duplicate everything. All of the items listed below are from Christian authors and publishers who are not affiliated with the Adventist Church, but they are nonetheless good tools of which we can make excellent use.
I should also tell you about a major project of the North American Division (NAD) to fill the need for more discipleship resources. You cannot get any of these materials yet, because they are being prepared, but keep your eyes open! The Center for Creative Ministry is working under a contract with NAD Church Resources to prepare a curriculum library that will include teaching, handout, and visual materials for at least 150 topics selected with wide input from pastors and departmental leaders. (A total of nearly 300 topics were identified in the early research, and future funding may expand this tool.)
1520 page29The Discipleship Curriculum Resource Project will be published in electronic form, because of its large size and the attempt to make it easier and more cost-effective to use. The materials will be in a form that allows pastors and lay leaders to personalize for their congregation, small group, or local ministry. Included will be sufficient material to teach for 30 minutes up to four hours on a topic. This will involve teaching notes and background material, bibliography for additional information, handouts for participants, discussion questions, group exercises for skill development, and PowerPoint visuals. A wide coalition of Seventh-day Adventists who have been involved in writing and using discipleship materials in their ministry will be among the many writers and researchers. (If you have an interest or materials that you would like to propose for inclusion, contact project director Paul Richardson at the Center for Creative Ministry, Box 23200, Lincoln, Nebraska 68542 or by e-mail at [email protected].)

The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible

I still treasure a Bible I was given as a child that includes the “H.M.S. Richards Helps.” In recent years the publishers of Bibles have made a real industry of many different products with various kinds of specialized helps bound in the back of the Bible or printed in the margins. These often include color-coded systems to make it easy to work through Bible studies on various topics or find topical clusters of texts throughout Scripture.

A Bible is now available that has helps directly related to discipleship. The text is the New Revised Standard Version, and the helps were compiled by four of the most well-known Christian writers on discipleship: Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson, Dallas Willard, and Walter Brueggemann. The purpose of the helps is to help one “to form a Christlike character.”
This is a useful reference for pastors, elders, and others leading in discipleship classes or small groups, or working one-on-one with new believers. It includes discussion questions, learning exercises, illustrations, and relevant background material for most chapters in the Bible, as well as a concise introduction to each book in the Bible, pointing out how it is particularly useful in making disciples.
Many Adventist Book Centers carry this item. It is also available at almost all Christian bookstores and the major secular bookstore chains (including their online divisions).
Monte Sahlin is vice president for Creative Ministries at the Columbia Union Conference in Columbia, Maryland.