The Gospel Project Unit One Review

The Gospel Project is a curriculum produced by Lifeway that can be fully integrated from a children’s ministry on up to the adult ministry in the Church. The Gospel Project is edited by Ed Stetzer and Trevin Wax. There is also an advisory council to the curriculum. You may view the members of the council here.

I have implemented the student edition of the Gospel Project for use with our freshman and sophomore student small groups that meet on Wednesday nights. We just completed the first unit, which include three sessions. This unit is written by Jared Wilson.

Below are three encouraging observations and two encouraging critiques on the first unit of the Gospel Projects volume on the God Who Speaks. These thoughts are a collection of what adult leaders, students, and I have observed from the study thus far.

Here are three encouraging observation for Lifeway concerning the Gospel Project:

  1. Multiple Mediums: One can purchase a print copy, digital copy, or download the student app for the iPhone or the adult app for the iPad. All of these mediums are offered at a reasonable price. In addition, the Gospel Project offer a number of secondary tools for leaders and participants to use. These include videos for training, podcasts for continued learning, and conversation sheets for parents to use with their student. Discover these resources at gospelproject.com. Facilitators should prioritize watching Trevin Wax’s training video for each session. Wax anticipates obstacles and objections that facilitators might encounter and provides helpful tips for how to avoid obstacles and respond to objections.
  2. Stellar Scope and Sequence: You may view this three year plan here. The Gospel Project is designed to wed doctrine with biblical theology over the gospel grid of (God-Man-Christ-Response).
  3. Unparalleled Scholarship: In my cursory and inspectional read of the first quarter I found the content to be well communicated and trustworthy. As I have studied the first unit with our adult leaders and students I have been impressed with the gospel-centeredness and well constructed argument for the veracity and authority of scripture. Stetzer and Wax have put together an excellent ensemble of writers and advisors.

Here are two encouraging critiques for Lifeway to consider for the future volumes:

  1. Lacks Relatability with Student Audience: From what I understand of the first volume there is little difference between the adult bible study guide and the student edition leaders guide. I perceive that the questions have been redrafted with students in mind, but otherwise the anecdotes and content are the same. Unfortunately, these are two entirely different audiences and the distinctions need to be recognized. Adult leaders who will be facilitating small group meetings with 7-12th graders, which is the generally accepted student audience, will expect a study guide that will equip them to make the content relatable to this younger audience. We’ve discovered that though the content is exceptional and unparalleled from a biblical/theological standpoint it is not as relatable to younger people. Lifeway has already conveyed to me that the future volumes will take greater consideration of the student audience in mind. I expect that volume two will connect well with the student audience. It is important to understand that I would not take anything away from the biblical/theological content that is present in the curriculum, but would only add more relatable anecdotes and illustrations for students to connect the material to their world.
  2. Structure the Guide with Facilitation in Mind: After having worked through the first unit, I think there are some simple ways that the student edition leaders guide could be adapted for a facilitator’s use. There could be a look ahead section at the end of the lesson that could give students a picture of where the series is going and the three points and corresponding scripture that can be read before the next meeting. There could be a printable worksheet that has the critical points, scripture, or quotes from the study with fill in the blanks. This might help students stay engaged in the study.

Overall, I am very pleased with this resource. I appreciate the deeper level of the content along with the biblical reliability of the content. No small group curriculum for students push students this deep. They are up for the challenge. If they study calculus and chemistry they can handle Christology. Thank you Gospel Project for delivering the most helpful resource for developing a doctrinally and biblically literate generation of the church. The Church is starving for this content.

If you are a youth pastor and you are exploring another option for small group curriculum, I contend that you should look no further than the Gospel Project. The Gospel Project curriculum will challenge your adult leaders and give them greater confidence in the Word of God, while equipping those adult leaders to instill this confidence in the younger generation of the church. Sign up to pilot the first installment of the Gospel Project Curriculum here.

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