At Baptists Today, we’re well into our fourth year of providing a challenging Bible study curriculum we call Nurturing Faith that I write, which means we’re on our second time through the Revised Common Lectionary as a source for texts. It gets a little harder each time through to put together a cohesive and balanced sequence of texts for the year, as I try to choose a good mix of Old and New Testament scriptures. In the first few years I was able to pull together a sequence that was about half and half, but the Lectionary offers only one Old Testament option per week (plus a psalm), while including two New Testament options, so there are fewer Old Testament texts to choose from.
In 2016, about a third of the texts will be from the Hebrew Bible, and about two-thirds from the New Testament — which should delight some of our readers who don’t find the Old Testament as enlightening as the New. If you’d like to see a preview of the scope and sequence for 2016, this link will take you there.
Nurturing Faith has grown in two other areas, as well. We now publish books (browse them here), including an important manuscript from the late Bill Hull, and an upcoming volume of “through the Bible” sermons from the inimitable Randall Lolley.
We’re also making good use of our resources by revising and repackaging some of our earlier Bible studies, along with some new ones, in the Nurturing Faith Bible Study Series. Each of these books contain about two months’ worth of lessons from a given book for use by Sunday School classes or other Bible study groups. So far, we’ve published two collections of lessons from the Psalms — one from psalms of praise and the other from psalms of lament. We have a new book out this month with both updated and new lessons from Ephesians. Our next project, a series eight lessons from the book of Revelation, should be out in a few months.
If you are part of a class or group that likes working through books, I hope you’ll give them a try. In the books, each lesson incorporates the “Digging Deeper” notes into the printed texts by putting them in boxes at the appropriate points. The “Hardest Question” is also there, along with periodic questions for reflection to aid in the teaching/learning process.
The third resource arm through Nurturing Faith are travel/retreat opportunities called Nurturing Faith Experiences. This past summer participants had a delightful time in Glacier National Park (read about it in the September issue). In May 15-26 of 2016, Nurturing Faith will work in collaboration with Campbell University Divinity School to offer a trip to Turkey and Greece. In Turkey, we’ll visit the Hagia Sophia and other sites in Istanbul, along with remains of ancient cities including the “seven churches of the Revelation.” We’ll then travel by cruise ship to Patmos, where John reportedly wrote Revelation, to ancient Heraklion and the Palace of Knossos on the island of Crete, and to the spectacular island of Santorini on our way to Greece. There, we’ll visit Corinth and other biblical sites, along with a full day exploring the ancient wonders of Athens. The cost is only $3,999, including airfare, lodging, most meals, and tips. Dr. Andy Wakefield, dean and professor of New Testament at Campbell University Divinity will be the primary leader, and I’ll be along, as well. More details should be available online soon. In the meantime, send me an email request at firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address, and I’ll be sure you get a print brochure.
Next July, we’re offering a Nurturing Faith Experience in Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. Both of those are on my bucket list, so I’m really looking forward to it, and hope you might join us there. Details here.
Sometimes it makes me tired to think of all we have going on through Nurturing Faith, but there’s excitement aplenty to keep me going. Whether it’s through using our curriculum, reading our books, or joining us on a travel experience, know that you’re invited to become part of the Nurturing Faith family. Welcome!