It is never too soon to start planning for your next Sunday School, Small Group, or Bible study. The earlier your request, the more likely the study you want will be available. Here are some options for getting ideas about which study you would like to start next:
The Media Center’s online catalog, OPALS, uses pathfinders to list the top resources on a particular subject. These are curated lists by your librarian on a large variety of topics. From the OPALS Homepage, you can access pathfinders in three ways:
1. Hover your mouse over the Home tab and click on Pathfinders in the drop-down menu.
2. Click Pathfinders in the blue ribbon bar underneath the multi-colored tabs.
3. Look for the Pathfinders tab next to News – New Titles – Reviews on the left side of the page underneath the Search box. Click on this tab to see a selection of our pathfinders organized by categories. Click on a pathfinder you would like to see to be taken directly to it.
Pathfinders can also be accessed from the Media Center website by hovering over the Catalog menu and moving your mouse down to the bottom of the pop-up menu to click on Pathfinders.
On the Pathfinders web page, you will two options for viewing the list: Browse Pathfinders by Title Alphabetically and Browse Pathfinders by Subject. You may choose either option. You may also browse the subjects in the drop-down menu. One subject can have multiple pathfinders, and one pathfinder can have multiple subjects. Scroll down the page to see all of the pathfinders.
You can click on the pathfinder for a specific subject that your group is interested in studying, or you can browse the more general pathfinder categories such as Bible, Christian Living, Methodism, Missions, Movies, Spiritual Growth, and more.
Another source of study ideas is our listing of new resources. You can access this list from the OPALS homepage with the same drop-down and blue ribbon menus you used to access the pathfinders or by clicking on the words “New Items” in the widget in the center of the page.
The list of new resources goes back 6 months, but you can shorten this time by using the drop-down menu at the top of the New Items page. The list is automatically sorted with the most recently added items first, but you can also change how the list is sorted by using the drop-down menu on the right.
The New Items list can be narrowed by refining your search using the Refine Search options on the right side of the page. These include limiting the list by format, age-level, Dewey Decimal number, subject, author, and genre. You may want to try clicking on DVD, and then “adults,” and then “Educational films” (under Genre) to see a list of all of the DVD-based studies for adults added in the past year.
You can also review the monthly lists of new resources that are sent to newsletter subscribers by visiting the Media Center website, hovering over the top menu where it says Newsletter and clicking on New Resources when it appears in the drop-down menu. These lists are PDF files or web pages that can be printed and distributed to your congregation.
Or you can click the word Advanced next to the search bar in the center of the page.
On the Advanced Search bar, you can check the boxes next to the formats you are interested in using. For a DVD study, select DVD and Library Kit. For a book study, select Book. Enter an asterisk (*) into the search bar at the top to get a full list of the format you have chosen. Or you can enter keywords related to the type of study you are looking for, such as subject, author, or number of sessions. You could even include phrases such as “discussion questions,” “study,” or “curriculum.” Be sure the drop-down menu next to the keywords says Anywhere. Be aware that the more information you enter, the less results you will see. Also be aware that the Refine Search options on the right side of your search results do not apply to the entire collection, but we are working on it.
Always feel free to contact the Media Center for a customized list of recommendations to meet the needs of your group.