Join the NC Conference Media Center’s Study Harder Challenge! Your group is invited to expand your circle of influence and try something new by studying resources that apply any of 12 characteristics that will help you think outside the box. Read more about the Study Harder Challenge and download your worksheet.
Challenge: Free Online Study
Looking to save some money in your education budget? There are some excellent small-group studies available online that can be downloaded for free. Some of these studies don’t even need to be downloaded. The videos can be shown right from the website.
Belton Joyner’s Bible Study
The NC Conference publishes a weekly bible study by Rev. Belton Joyner. Based on the scripture lessons of Cokesbury’s Adult Bible Studies series, Joyner offers a reflection, quote, and prayer for every week. These short lessons would also function well as a devotional. Belton Joyner’s Bible Study can be downloaded from the conference website in monthly installments, or you can subscribe to receive it in your email. Printed copies through the mail are also available.
Wesleys Take the Web
This animated web series from United Methodist Communications shows the founders of Methodism, John and Charles Wesley, explaining distinctions of our faith. Animated by the NC Conference’s own Rev. Charlie Baber, The Wesleys Take the Web series is full of short clips that are modern, funny, and engaging. They tackle issues such as baptism, communion, money, music, and even social media. A discussion guide is also available.
The General Commission on Religion and Race of The United Methodist Church offers several online video series intended to be used in small-group settings. The Vital Conversations series includes four volumes:
- Vol. 1: Realities of Race and Racism: Contemporary theologians, sociologists, laity, clergy, and other thought-leaders deal with challenges of race, culture, and oppression in the Church and world today.
- Vol. 2 features thought leaders, pastors, theologians, activists, authors, and scholars from outside of the United States who share their stories, insights, and expertise on issues related to race, culture, tribe, and the global church.
- Vol. 3: Young Adults, Social Justice and the Church features presenters aged 35 or younger that are activists, theologians, preachers, musicians, dancers, seminarians, and business entrepreneurs from Africa, Germany, and the U.S. Each talks about the search for areas that welcome, respect, and engage expressions of faith, spirituality, ideals, and community action.
- Vol. 4: Race, Culture, the Church, and Human Sexuality features conversations between theologians, pastors, worship leaders, laity in leadership, Biblical scholars, and community activists to offer varied and multilayered perspectives on the Christian church’s ongoing debate over the status, role, and rights of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intrersex (LGBTQI).
Each of these series includes a discussion guide. The first and second volumes are also available to borrow on DVD.
Commission on the Status and Role of Women
The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women of The United Methodist Church has produced some high-quality studies that can be downloaded as a PDF. The studies are not just for women. They provide powerful lessons for any small group.
- The Way of Integrity: Living in Right Relationship with Self, Others, and God. Through deep exploration of scripture and other resources, participants will give intentional attention to core values and the development of self-awareness in all they do.
- God of the Bible: A Study for United Methodists about How God is Revealed in Scripture. This study challenges participants to strengthen their personal relationship with God by removing barriers of human limitations from our understanding of who God is. NC Conference’s own Bishop Hope Morgan Ward wrote the introduction to this study.
- Women Called to Ministry explores our understanding of women’s roles in The United Methodist Church. Why are women ordained? Why are they included in all areas of leadership? How did we arrive at those understandings?
- Rock, Shepherd, Friend: Enriching Our Images of God is designed to help Christians look at the way we talk about God and examine the images we hold of God.
Living Like They Believe
In partnership with the Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation, Duke Divinity School published a four-session online curriculum titled Living Like They Believe. Through honest and relatable personal stories, designed for small groups to explore over four weeks, participants will consider: How are we called to live our faith? How is God making all things new? How do some of the practices of our faith, such as baptism and communion, invite us into ongoing discernment? Explore vocation, daily life and redemption stories through small group lesson plans that include films, Scripture study and practices.
North Carolina Council of Churches
The North Carolina Council of Churches is led by one of our own United Methodist pastors, Jennifer Copeland. The organization has produced several wonderful publications that can be studied in small groups. You can find the full list of free, downloadable PDFs on their website. Topics include:
- Food and hunger
- Creation care
- And more.
A complete list of all of the online resources recommended through our online catalog is available in the genre collections for Online Resources.