I’ve probably mentioned this before, but our current church meets at a YMCA gym. The Y is super cool about everything and really likes having us there. We’ve even expanded to 2 Sunday morning services and have frequent partnership classes on Sunday nights after the Y closes.
The one thing that is missing, is Sunday School (ok, that’s not the one thing). Now, like many churches, we have weekly in home small groups instead of Sunday School. These groups are opportunities to press into community, and the goal of the groups is to unpack and apply the sermon from Sunday.
This is all well and good, but I’ve felt something is missing. Maybe it’s the teacher in me, but I think we need some opportunities for Christian education in the local church and Sunday School is a great way to do that.
Rather than go to the Y and teach a class (like I did last year), I’m rolling out some opportunities for learning that will meet at my house on Sunday nights. We’ve actually already been doing this since July with our Old Testament Bible study (which is kind of like a survey class). Now, I’d like to formalize and expand it a bit, so here’s the plan
Each week, from 7:00-8:30, we’ll continue the Old Testament Bible study. We’ll now use a book though, which will give the study a little more structure, but is optional for participation. If you’ve been coming to this, not much will change, except that we’ll start right at 7 and finish before 8:30. We got through Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus, and we’ll finish Numbers Sunday.
Every other week, from 5:00-6:30, I’m offering the opportunity to do a systematic theology read-thru. The idea is to pick the systematic theology of your choice (everything from Grudem’s Bible Doctrines to Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics is acceptable) and then, having done some reading, come and discuss what you’ve read with others twice a month. To get the most of your book purchase and potential reading plan, I’d recommend getting one of the following:
- Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem
- Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction by Michael Bird
- Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief by John Frame
Lighter options that I would recommend are Gerald Bray’s God is Love or Michael Horton’s Pilgrim Theology. Rather than set a specific reading plan, I decided to spend a month on each topic of systematic theology. You would just read as much as you have time for in that section of your chosen book, and then move on to the next topic the next month. Here’s what it would look like:
- January: Doctrine of The Word of God
- February: Doctrine of God
- March: Doctrine of Man
- April: Doctrine of Christ and The Spirit
- May: Doctrine of Salvation
- June: Doctrine of The Church
- July: Doctrine of Last Things
If you’re planning to do this, e-mail me. I’m debating putting together a Facebook group to keep track of the reading, but that just depend on how many people are interested.
On the off weeks, I am thinking two things would be beneficial. The first is to dig into the art of interpreting the Bible in more detail. The Old Testament Bible study is aimed more at grasping the general flow of the Bible’s story. I’d like to complement that with an in-depth examination of some passages as a way of teaching how to interpret Scripture in detail.
The second thing I’d like to do is re-read some Christian fiction classics. Primarily, I’d like to work through Lord of The Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia in a group. I know many people might not have actually read them, and if they have (like me), they could probably stand to enjoy a re-read and literary examination of them in good Christian community. The goal here would be to do a Narnia book a month, then a Space Triology book a month, and then start the Hobbit, before launching into Lord of The Rings (follow the link above for a good box set). If that is something you’d be interested in, let me know, and the first week we’d meet is Feb. 2nd.
It might be nice to put everything into a Facebook group, regardless of which parts you want to take part in. I’m leaning that way, but I’d like to gauge interest first. We’ll kick everything off this coming Sunday with our first systematic read through, and focus on theological foundations. If you’re in, read some in the appropriate section before you show up. If you’re just coming for the Bible study, then we’ll see you Sunday!