August 16, 2006

The Bible in 90 Days

capYou can read the entire Bible through in 90 days at the pace of 12 pages a day. That simple fact creates the possibility for a discipleship project that any congregation can do that would likely also attract some nonmembers. To my way of thinking, this is one of those generic Christian ideas that Adventists should be “leaders and not followers” in implementing!
Zondervan, the well-known Christian publisher, has recently released a full curriculum kit to support a program of this kind. It is entitled simply The Bible in 90 Days. Zondervan provides a special, inexpensive edition of the New International Version (NIV), which assures that the 12 pages a day are the same for everyone; 14 weekly presentations for midweek meetings on DVD; and other support materials.
A leader’s guide is included for the person coordinating the group sessions, and a participant’s guide for each individual attending. These include discussion questions and an activity diary to keep track of questions, prayer requests, and life applications as they read. All of this sticks to just reading the Bible, and does not introduce any doctrinal elements.
Of course, key Bible truths can be presented during the 14-week series. Many Adventist pastors, elders, and small group leaders will likely not actually project the 20-minute teaching presentations on the DVD, but use it as a sermon or seek to develop their own presentations. It also contains a CD with various kinds of promotional materials to launch your series: posters, bulletin insert, etc.
Your Adventist Book Center or local Christian bookstore can get this for you. Or you can order it directly from Zondervan at or call (800) 727-3480.
Chasing God With Three Flat Tires by The Navigators is a study guide that focuses on faith, including such practical topics as church is boring, no time for prayer and Bible study, lack of “victory” in my spiritual life, and why God is silent. It includes discussion questions for small group sessions and journaling assignments on Scripture between group meetings.
Running Nowhere in Every Direction is a similar study guide for women’s Bible study groups from the same publisher. Practical topics include “My Schedule,” expectations, setting limits, perfection, and happiness. The version of the Bible texts included in all of these study guides from The Navigators is The Message, a popular paraphrase. But the assignments and discussions could be used with any translation.
Small group materials from The Navigators can be ordered online at The items listed here include no overt references to doctrinal differences with Adventist beliefs.

Growing in the Christian Life

A series of 25 sermons on spiritual growth has been tested in a local church and published with full graphics in electronic slide formats (PowerPoint and Scala) on CD-ROM. This product was created by Glenn Holland, a currently practicing pastor in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The topics include spiritual gifts, getting involved in ministry, fasting, stewardship, family life, sacrifice, reverence, Sabbathkeeping, how to deal with hypocrisy and judgmental attitudes, trusting God, and a review of the basics of salvation. Included are sample decision cards of the kind Pastor Holland uses. He says, “although the sermons in this collection are not traditional evangelistic sermons” but focus instead on discipleship, “they are decision-oriented.”
The package includes full sermon manuscripts as well as graphics. Both the manuscripts and slides can be edited and adapted for your use, but if you do not have either PowerPoint or Scala software, you can still run the slides directly from the CD.
A focus on discipleship does help to generate church growth. “In less than three years at the Norfolk Church,” Pastor Holland says, “we have had over 75 new members join by baptism or profession of faith, and the great majority of these decisions came at the end of a sermon on Sabbath morning.”
This resource is available from AdventSource at  or (800) 328-0525.
Monte Sahlin is vice president for creative ministries at the Columbia Union Conference in Columbia, Maryland.