If you've ever doubted God because you've felt ignored in your prayers, then Andy Stanley's When God series (three videos) is a good choice for your small group Bible study. Stanley begins with When God is Inattentive, continues with When God is Uncooperative, and finishes with When God is Late. Of course, the titles reflect how people might see the situation, not how Stanley explains it. However, a video session does not really force people to understand. If you want to try to save the time necessary to watch video together in class, watching it outside of class will mean some won't do the assignment. Then you'll need more than viewing comprehension questions If you're watching the video together and are fine with fifteen minutes of discussion afterwards, then use simple questions. However, a better way to use a video series is to create in-depth questions and activities.

 Lisa and I were the group members teaching the first two sessions of this Andy Stanley series. Our small group had never successfully assigned homework before. We'd taught 90-minute lessons before, however, so filling the time was not the issue. It's just since our small group had transitioned to mostly using 30 to 50-minute videos for each class, no one has had to come up with more than twenty minutes of questions, and many of the videos come with (low-level) discussion questions. I'm sure it will be a challenge for other group members who aren't trained as teachers to come up with material that lasts well beyond the 90-minute allocation, but it was just normal for us. If you're being asked to plan a lesson for a small group at church but have no idea what to do, the two linked assignments will help you, especially if you're teaching this particular series.

Each plan has discussion questions from the video (about 20 each), some of which have answers given. Most of the discussion questions are very open to interpretation, whether about Stanley's video or our own faith. The first assignment also includes a very unique prayer activity wherein group members will try to identify the prayers of famous people throughout history. The other assignment involves textual analysis of 10 quotes from Martin Luther about prayer and God's will, providing an interesting snapshot of Christianity as it went through some important changes.

The lessons are designed very well. The only problem is that if your group members are used to spoon-fed activities using simple questions, these assignment might frustrate some of them. Unfortunately, most canned Bible studies use questions made for the lowest common denominator rather than serious human being in search of answers to the big questions in life, but we can all become those kinds of learners and seekers if that's what we want.

Be sure to have the church buy the product and site license. Try them out in your own group first, and then recommend the study to other groups. It's easier for them if you offer your own notes on the lessons. If these sell, I will continue to create more small group Bible study materials and post them, since it benefits my own small group as well as those who can use them at other churches.

These are the keywords used in the description of the video series: faith, doubt, relationship, north point, prayer, perseverance, distant, alone

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