What will your small group study after Advent?
- You could continue with the Christmas story and study the life of Jesus leading you into Easter.
- You could embrace the new year and engage a biblical perspective on self-improvement.
- You could choose a study that will last the whole year long.
- Or you could choose a study or two to fill up the ten weeks between Advent and Lent.
We’ve got options for all of them!
Life of Jesus
After you have studied the birth of Jesus and before you study his death and resurrection, take the time in-between to study his life. You can borrow any of the studies featured below or view more options in the DVD Studies about Jesus genre collection.
The God We Can Know: Exploring the “I Am” Sayings of Jesus by Rob Fuquay. Filmed on location in the Holy Land, this DVD study allows you to actually see the places where Jesus stood. The gospel comes to life as you move from the Judean wilderness to the Galilean hills and into the heart of Jerusalem in this fast-paced, interactive journey that helps you discover Jesus anew. Six sessions.
Deeper Connections: The Life of Jesus. This DVD study explores the main events in Jesus’ life to understand what made him extraordinary and to learn how to draw on his transforming power. It is only when we drink deeply from the life of Christ that we can be rescued from our failures and experience greater vitality in daily life. Six sessions. Additional studies in this series cover Jesus’s parables, prayers, forgiveness, and last days.
Jesus Apprentice: Doing What Jesus Did by Jeff Kirby. This DVD study is a very simple introduction to a new way of thinking about the nature of Christian living. Is a life of becoming more like our teacher and mentor possible? Kirby guides us through Jesus’ key teachings and activities. Four sessions.
The Jesus I Never Knew: Six Sessions on the Life of Christ by Philip Yancey. Yancey uses film portraits of Jesus and contrasts them with the Jesus of the Bible. This DVD study gives you fresh, uncluttered perspectives on history’s central figure—his radical claims, his challenging teachings, and his effect on others . . . including you. Six sessions.
The Forgotten Jesus: How Western Christians Should Follow an Eastern Rabbi by Robby Gallaty. Many Christians have forgotten that Jesus was a Jewish man living in a Jewish land, observing Jewish customs, and investing His life in Jewish men and women. This DVD Bible study takes us on a journey back to biblical times to rediscover who Jesus really was by seeing Him in the cultural and religious context in which He ministered. Six sessions.
Jesus: The New Way by N.T. Wright. Wright’s acclaimed scholarship is delivered in a winsome and understandable way, showing how Jesus is the fulfillment of Israel’s ancient hopes and humanity’s deepest dreams. You will find explosive new meaning in his familiar words and deeds as Wright unfolds his incomparable life and shows how it remains an unavoidable summons to our world and way of thinking. Six sessions.
New Year’s Resolutions
Many of your group members may be thinking about making new year’s resolutions or committing to making a change in their lives in 2022. Use these studies to get a biblical perspective on self-improvement and offer ideas and avenues for your group to direct their focus. Find more options in the studies listed below that are organized by the number of weekly sessions. Also, check out our genre collections of DVD Studies and Book Studies on Christian Living.
Come Back: Returning to the Life You Were Made For by Roger Ross. This book study reveals five elements that are crucial to renewal. Each element is paired with an ancient practice that has helped people for thousands of years in countless cultures navigate the tricky waters of transformation. These five practices are designed for everyday people. This study includes a separate participant guide. Supplementary online videos for the book study are available on Amplify. Six sessions. If your group prefers a DVD, Louie Giglio did a study on a similar topic titled The Comeback: It’s Not Too Late and You’re Never Too Far.
Happy? What It Is and How to Find It by Matt Miofsky. In this DVD study, Miofsky helps you discover that contentment isn’t dependent on the “things” of life. Instead, he’ll help you see that happiness can be found in the value of our relationships, a forgiving lifestyle, living in the present, feeling gratitude, and learning to release control. Four sessions.
The Jesus Challenge: 21 Days of Loving God and Neighbor by Justin LaRosa. This DVD study will help us become more attentive to our relationship with God. It invites us to move from forgetfulness to remembering, from being distracted to becoming intentional, and from self-sufficiency to reliance on God, so we can live lives that center on loving God and loving others as ourselves. Three sessions. Other challenges in this series focus on authenticity, prayer, generosity, and a deeper commitment to God.
Make a Difference: Following Your Passion and Finding Your Place to Serve by James A. Harnish. This DVD study draws upon biblical wisdom to provide practical guidance to help disciples connect their passion with the world’s great need. Real stories of how real people found their place to serve will inspire and encourage you to do the same. Six sessions.
Dare to Dream: Creating a God-Sized Mission Statement for Your Life by Mike Slaughter. This DVD study is a startling and inspiring program that draws on the Bible and a lifetime of ministry to help us discern God’s dream for us and learn to live it out, prayerfully and enthusiastically. Slaughter guides participants in developing a life mission statement to help them fully commit to a God-directed lifestyle. Six sessions. Bob Goff also did a similar study, Dream Big: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going to Do About It.
What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman. This DVD study presents a God-centered, gospel-oriented perspective that addresses the proper motivation to drive productivity–serving others to the glory of God. Do work that matters. 24 sessions.
Studies by Length
January is an excellent opportunity to begin a year-long study. If you’re not quite ready for that commitment, there are ten weeks between the end of Advent and the beginning of Lent in 2022. You could choose a 10-week study or choose a 6-week study and a 4-week study. Here are some options for each.
The Bible Year: A Journey Through Scripture in 365 Days by Magrey deVega. Achieve your goal of reading through the Bible in one year. Think about a commitment to read a short selection from the Bible plus a concise devotional every day. You can do that – especially since The Bible Year has it all mapped out for you day by day. A separate Leader Guide includes discussion questions for small groups. Weekly online videos are available on Amplify.
We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation by Brian D. McLaren. This book offers everything you need to explore what a difference an honest, living, growing faith can make in our world today. The 52 (plus a few) weekly readings can each be read aloud in 10-12 minutes, and offer a simple curriculum of insightful reflections and transformative practices. Organized around the traditional church year, these readings give an overview of the whole Bible and guide an individual or a group of friends through a year of rich study, interactive learning, and personal growth.
The Grand Sweep: 365 Days From Genesis Through Revelation by J. Ellsworth Kalas. This book study guides you through Scripture so that at the end of 365 days, you will have read every book of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Daily readings include only three to four chapters a day and move through the Bible in biblical sequence, making this devotional a positive experience even for those just beginning a spiritual discipline. Kalas also provides a faithful daily summary of readings, but with a devotional quality to encourage warmth of spirit as well as a knowledge of mind. A separate Leader Guide enables study groups to share the experience.
Instant Small Group: 52 Sessions for Anytime, Anywhere Use by Mike Nappa. This no-preparation-required teaching resource provides a year’s worth of engaging, transforming, and easy-to-lead discussion guides for adult small groups. All 52 studies are “open and go” for those who, for whatever reason, don’t have the time or energy to prepare. Bonus callouts with discussion-specific teaching tips, brief Bible background information, and add-on ideas are included. Also helpful to have on hand if a teacher is unexpectedly absent.
A Year with John Wesley and Our Methodist Values. This book is an engaging and provocative study of the practices of discipleship that are of “the Methodist way.” Brief scholarly reflections on Wesleyan themes are followed by short essays making recurring Wesley tenets timely and relevant to today’s world. Covering an aspect of distinctly Wesleyan theology a month, the collection of essays contained in this book provide an in-depth yet easily approachable 12-month survey of the Methodist tradition. Pair with the prayer book below for weekly meetings.
Praying in the Wesleyan Spirit: 52 Prayers for Today by Paul W. Chilcote. Author Paul Chilcote has transposed 52 of John Wesley’s standard sermons into flowing devotional prayers that are written in contemporary language, yet faithful to Wesley’s message. A scripture reference and a hymn by Charles Wesley accompany each prayer. With 52 prayers, readers may pray one prayer a week for a year and immerse themselves in a short course in Wesleyan thought and theology.
Life in Christ: The Core of Intentional Spirituality by Steve Harper. In this book study, Harper encourages us to see the spiritual life as a movement, where we are always on the way, taking steps forward to continually align our lives with Christ. He shows us how Christ can be the goal and pattern for our lives, motivating us to live as God’s beloved and as instruments of God’s love. The book includes a set of questions for reflecting on each chapter and a discussion guide for conversing about the book in a group.
How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice by Jemar Tisby. This DVD study is a how-to guide for pursuing racial justice. By providing a series of hands-on suggestions for practice bolstered by real-world examples of change, Jemar Tisby offers viewers an array of actionable items to help them become proactive initiators of racial justice.
Looking for God in Messy Places: A Book about Hope by Jake Owensby. This book is about hope. How to find it. How to practice it. How to grow in it. How it makes life worth living. Because when we look for God in the middle of the mess, we find hope. Each chapter includes discussion questions. Five short videos to go along with the book are available online on Amplify.
Submitting to Be More Vile: The Illustrated Adventures of John & Charles Wesley by Charlie Baber. NC Conference Pastor Charlie Baber collects his Wesley Bros Comics in printed form and includes group discussion guides. Those new to the Wesleyan tradition will find Baber’s style easily accessible and those who have a strong United Methodist background will find themselves chuckling at his unique approach.
Invitation to Genesis by Peter Enns. This study takes groups into the rich tapestry of Genesis exploring the interaction between God and very human people. The video reflects the drama of the Genesis stories, first with selected text dramatized by an actor, and then study writer Peter Enns interviews a scholar to help unpack the meaning and the mystery in the stories.
In God’s Time: The Bible and the Future by Craig C. Hill. The goal of these 10 lessons is to help all of us understand and to be strengthened in Christian hope through a careful study of its origins. To understand those Jews who hoped for the restoration of Israel, the coming of God’s messiah and the resurrection of the dead, to understand Jesus, to understand Paul, and, indeed to understand every other New Testament author, we need to understand how the Bible deals with the future.
Renovate: Building a Life with God by Jacob Armstrong. Grab your tool belt for physical renovation. For spiritual renovation, turn to God. Jacob Armstrong explores how Nehemiah understood the difference. This DVD study emphasizes how we need God’s great power in us to renovate our lives through the Holy Spirit. There are two other 6-session studies in The Connected Life series.
Soul Reset: Breakdown, Breakthrough, and the Journey to Wholeness by Junius B. Dotson. This DVD study is for everyone who moves at breakneck speed through their daily lives, often relying only on their own strength to bring God’s kingdom on earth. Jesus shows us a different way, an easier, unforced rhythm of what kingdom work looks like. It’s a balance of work, rest, play, worship, exercise, and eating well—spiritual practices that keep our souls hydrated and healthy as we do the work of the church in the world.
Reckless Love: Jesus’ Call to Love Our Neighbor by Tom Berlin. In his exploration of Jesus’ teaching and travels with his disciples, Berlin suggests that Jesus teaches us how to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength by showing us how to love our neighbor. While many hope to learn to be better family, friends, leaders, neighbors by finding a deeper relationship with God, what if becoming a better neighbor leads you to that deeper love of God.
Sermon on the Mount: A Beginner’s Guide to the Kingdom of Heaven by Amy-Jill Levine. Levine explores the major topics in the most popular sermon ever delivered, providing historical and theological context and using a solid knowledge of Hebrew Scriptures and moral teachings. Levine also has 6-session studies on Jesus’s parables and difficult words.
I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me: Getting Real About Getting Close by John Ortberg. Sometimes true connection with others can seem an unreachable ideal-but it doesn’t have to be. In this DVD study, Ortberg challenges readers to find connections in even the most ordinary interactions with a friendly invitation to go deeper in relationships.
Reunion: A Bible Study for Churches Getting Back Together by David Kalas. In this book study, Kalas provides a resource to help people come back together, reconnect with one another, rebuild their churches, and move forward into an even better future of serving God together. Includes a Leader Guide to assist in group study and discussion.
Justice or Just Us? The Biblical Call to Confront Racism by Rob Fuquay, Nicole Caldwell-Gross, and Jevon Caldwell-Gross. Confronting racism is not just a social or political matter, but a theological one. The hosts of this DVD study help you acknowledge the reality of racism in our world today, as well as our Christian responsibility to oppose it as individuals and together as the church.
Hollywood Jesus: A Small Group Study Connecting Christ and Culture by Matt Rawle. This DVD study guides us through a Bible study of Jesus and Christ figures in films. Participants are encouraged to watch movies like Cool Hand Luke, The Lion King, The Truman Show, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on their own and then come back for group discussion. Rawle’s other studies in the Pop In Culture series also have four sessions.
A Grace-Full Life: God’s All-Reaching, Soul-Saving, Character-Shaping, Never-Ending Love by Jorge Acevedo & Wes Olds. In this DVD study, you’ll examine a Wesleyan understanding of grace for the common person. You’ll learn about various forms of grace—prevenient grace, justifying grace, sanctifying grace, and glorifying grace—and you’ll come away knowing how God’s grace truly works in your life.
Holy Living: Study by K. Kale Yu. The Holy Living series brings a fresh perspective on the spiritual disciplines, enabling us to apply their practices to our current lives. In order to fully embrace study as a spiritual practice, we must first rid ourselves of the idea that study is a boring, dull, and unimaginative exercise. Study as a spiritual practice is, in fact, just the opposite: exciting, stimulating, and imaginative. Each book in the Holy Living series consists of an introduction and four chapters and includes questions for group discussion.
Hope for Hard Times: Lessons on Faith from Elijah and Elisha by Magrey R. deVega. God is with you and will give you everything you need. It’s the same message God gave to Elijah when he was so alone he hid in a cave. And it’s the same message he gave to Elisha when he was surrounded by his enemies. In this book study, you’ll discover how these two great, biblical prophets trusted God to find a way for them. A separate leader guide includes session plans, activities, and discussion questions.
Watch Your Mouth: Understanding the Power of the Tongue by Tony Evans. Discover how to glorify God with your speech in this DVD study that includes four sessions of powerful teaching and moving personal testimonies. Get ready to use your words in mighty ways and model with your mouth the character of God. A similar DVD study is available for women’s groups, Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All by Karen Ehman.
Bonus! Online Video Study
The United Methodist Connectional Table together with the UMC general agencies produced Tuesdays at the Table in late 2021. This online video series is intended to help the people called United Methodists to explore and understand who we are, what we believe, and how we live as people of God today and into the future. Each video has an accompanying study guide for small groups. The whole video series and the study guides are freely available online.
Request These Resources
These resources can be borrowed for free by anyone involved with a United Methodist Church in the North Carolina Conference. We will mail them to your home! All you need to do is fill out the Resource Request Form.