As some of you know, I’ve been working on a video curriculum since I’ve been the Minister of Discipleship at Church of the Servant. Each week, since I can’t teach more than one class at a time, I film a short video teaching on the scripture that Robert uses in the main service. On Wednesdays a team of dedicated and devout folks come together to pour over the passage and listen to me teach a bit. We then work together to see how we think God might be wanting to lead our congregation through our “simple” process of discipleship: believe, belong, and become. On Thursdays, we post the video, and send out the compiled study guide to all the Sunday School leaders who are using the curriculum.
Out of curiosity, I went back and checked our curriculum print list from October 26th last year – my second week on the job. We were printing 105 copies for the five classes using Servant Walk at that time. This week we will be printing 305 copies for 12 different adult classes!
I’m definitely getting to reap a harvest that I didn’t sow. Others came up with this idea, and the lay team was already in place when I arrived. In fact, my first official meeting as a new pastor here was to teach that group on my very first day! Their hard work and vision is simply coming together in a way that’s making a big difference in our adult discipleship communities.
Working in a mega-church is very different in some ways from being in a small town two-point charge, but much of what you do is the same. I still teach. I still study Scripture. In a huge congregation, one of the most important questions is finding out how to do little BIG. This curriculum is simply a wonderful way to do the little things in a way that affects a much larger cross-section of the congregation.
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I’m working on a Doctor of Ministry through Drew University. I’m finished with all of the coursework, and I’m working to finish up the development on my project. My dissertation title is “Bridging the Gap: Developing an Alternative Entry Point for Christian Formation at Church of the Servant United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, OK.”
To make what hopes to be a long dissertation extremely short, we’ve noticed (as I’m sure most congregations have) that there are many people who never connect with Christian formation beyond the Sunday morning worship service. It is my hope that we can develop an alternative way to connect with some form of Christian formation for those people who “fail to connect.”
I’m currently teaching a curriculum called “Servant Walk.” Each week, I develop a 4-6 minute teaching video based on that Sunday’s scripture, and then I work with a committed team of lay people to write a curriculum that’s used in classrooms along with the video. People who otherwise don’t feel comfortable teaching have no problem facilitating the discussion in a class. This program has grown and we’ve seen as many as 300 people using this each week in Sunday school!
So, we have proposed that this might be a good curriculum to transfer to an online classroom. People can watch the video, and then interact in a discussion board format with the questions from that week. In consultation with my lay advisory team, we have decided that one of the most natural opportunities for people who might be interested in a “virtual classroom” would be Facebook.
So now we have “Servant Walk Online.” The weekly discussion and active participation begins March 1st, but we already have 16 “fans” after two days being up and running! We’ll see what happens.
In case you’ve been wondering about this “video curriculum” thing, here’s the most recent example. There is also a study guide each week that takes the lesson deeper and sometimes in different directions than the video, which almost serves as an icebreaker and jumping off point. Anyway, this is the curriculum that up to 200 of our adults, from 20-90 years old, have been using in their Sunday School classes each week. And yes, in case you’re wondering, this week I am teaching from a bathroom.