Tag Archives: bill hybels

Will Downloads Kill the DVD Star?

…I don’t think so, but you can now download any individual session from any of 20 small group Bible studies now on ChristianBook.com.  Download an entire study, or cherry pick different sessions from different studies and create your own study.  Pick from best-selling small group studies like The Reason for God, When God’s People Pray, Surprised by Hope, The Christian Atheist, The Story, and others!

Each video download is available for purchase for only $2.99 and you get both mp4 and .mov formats (depending if you would like to play it on your mobile device or need high-definition, respectively).  If you would like the corresponding participant’s guide session in PDF, that is bundled with many for $4.99 a session.

So head on over ChristianBook.com and see what’s available.  Let us know which sessions you pick out and what you think of the experience!

Also be sure also to visit and subscribe to the Small Group Bible Study playlist on YouTube.  There are nearly 100 full-length sessions available for free to view from authors and pastors like Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, and Timothy Keller.

Thursday Giveaway: 3 books on leadership by Bill Hybels

At the Exponential Conference last week I was able to hear Bill Hybels and other members of his family reflect on what it was like to plant Willow Creek Community Church. The Christian Post has written a nice article on it here.

For our weekly giveaway today we’d like to offer two complete sets of the new Bill Hybels Leadership Pack. This set of books includes his classic, Courageous Leadership, and two soon-to-be-classics, Leadership Axioms, The Call to Lead (co-authored by John Ortberg and Dan Allender.) Winners will be picked randomly and announced tomorrow.

To enter the giveaway, tell us in the comments section below the number 1 most important tactic for keeping your family and/or marriage the first priority during busy ministry times. Is it a date night? Or ensuring that you all have dinner together twice a week? Is it family devo time? Or keeping Saturdays free? What is it?

God Still Speaks…Are You Listening?

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in church and I had a prompting.  I felt led to invite a specific guy and his family to dinner at our house.  I hadn’t ever talked with him, never met his wife, and only knew that he had a son around my sons age.  I either very rarely receive promptings from God, or (more likely) very rarely am listening and recognize them.  Well, I had recently watched Bill Hybels teach on promptings from God in his small group study, The Power of a Whisper.  I decided that whether or not it was from God, it was a good idea, so I invited him to dinner.  There was nothing earth-shattering about our dinner, or what I did.  He and his wife have 2 boys around the same ages as our two sons.  They had recently moved to Michigan from New York and didn’t know many people.  We connected and plan to get together more often.

But this experience definitely has moved me to be more attune to God’s “whispers”.  I have wanted to not discard any feeling that I had, and I’ve wanted to be more intentional in my prayer to listen, not just talk.

In The Power of a Whisper, Bill Hybels shares his history with whispers from God as well as his filter for deciphering whether or not the whisper is actually “heaven-sent”.  His five filters are:

  1. Is it from God? (consistent with God’s character)
  2. Is it Scriptural? (is there a specific passage that refers to your whisper)
  3. Is it wise?
  4. Is it in tune with how God made you?
  5. What do trusted friends advise?

Hybels talks about whispers that he received from God: leaving his family business to plant a church; starting the church in a movie theater; launching a training organization for leaders.  To watch the first session of The Power of a Whisper, go to YouTube here.  There are also over 80 other sessions from other small group studies on YouTube here.

What whispers or promptings have you received and responded to from God?

The Bill Hybels leadership 3-Pack

Coming soon to a bookseller near you…


Keep the Bible in Your Bible Study

I read a great article on reformation21 (HT:Challies) about Effective Group Bible Study.  My main focus at Zondervan is to tell the world about our fabulous small group curriculum, so naturally I was interested in how to help people have an effective small group.  Pastor William Boekestein, who wrote the article, has some great points about effective group study, but one that really rose to the surface for me was to keep the Bible first.  Now this sounds like a given, but  too often in our groups, we rely on the study material and use the Bible as extra credit work.

Scripture studies are almost always aided by a well-written guide. Some of the best guides are commentaries, especially those that began as a sermon series. Homiletical commentaries combine the best of careful exegesis and pastoral application.(1)

One of the dangers, though, of using a study guide is that the Bible can become eclipsed by a lesser book. It is easy to subconsciously begin to treat the Bible as the “raw materials” and the study guide as the “finished product,” favoring the latter.
To avoid misusing supplemental materials, make them the last part of your preparation for the group study. First, work through the scripture passage in focus. Ask questions about the text. Note observations and applications. Use the study questions to stimulate thought before turning to the “answers” in the commentary. In this way the commentary becomes a sounding board for your ideas and conclusions rather than a source book. The Bereans took such an approach. They “…received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).
A related principle is that group discussions should be guided by Scripture not by personal opinion. This does not mean that a question or comment is inappropriate just because it is an opinion. It does mean that conclusions that are reached and counsel that is given should be biblically based.

Much of the curriculum we produce has been used as sermon material that was preached in the pastors church:

What I appreciate about our video curriculum is that each teacher grounds what s/he has to say in the Bible.  Our participant’s guides have Scripture discussion, and point people to the Bible.  But in our groups, we cannot view that as bonus or “if we have time”.  No matter how good a communicator the teacher is, or how well written the participant’s guide is, they are all just commentary on the Bible.  The Bible must remain the central focus in all our small groups and Bible studies.
In addition to what Pastor Boekestein mentions in his article, here are some other thoughts:
  • make sure everyone in your group brings a Bible to small group
  • read all the recommended passages in the participant’s guides
  • consider standing as you read Scripture as a reminder of the weight of it’s words
  • before you share an opinion, know how you would back it up with Scripture

*Above I have linked the full first sessions for those curriculum.  To see more full first sessions on YouTube, go to the curriculum playlist here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL592D0CEC3F56A982

Watch full sessions from Zondervan curriculum

Have you ever watched a trailer for a movie and then watched the movie and realized that the trailer was either the best part of the movie, or that it told you nothing of the real plot of the movie?  well, curriculum trailers are not like that, but sometimes watching the 90-120 second trailer isn’t just enough to know if you want to spend 4-12 weeks with an author, topic, or study.

However, the first session is a good indicator of what the rest of the curriculum will be like, so we are making the first sessions of our video-based curriculum available for free on YouTube.  As of today we have 17 different full sessions loaded on a playlist and will be adding more and more until they are all available.

Watch curriculum sessions from bestselling authors like John Ortberg, Bill Hybels, Jim Cymbala, Craig Groeschel, Andy Stanley, Lysa TerKeurst, and others.  Then, if you like what you see, you can visit Amazon, CBD.com, BN.com or your local retailer and get the DVD and Participant’s Guides for yourself or your small group.



MOVE: What 1,000 Churches Reveal about Spiritual Growth

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We just finished this video for one our new books, MOVE, (you’ll hear more about MOVE in later posts). For now, I just wanted to point out the excellent film company we worked with to make this video happen, Creo Productions. I’m geeked about this video! Thank you Creo for your fantastic work!

Does God Whisper?

Hoping to spark conversation and encourage people to listen for God’s promptings? This would be a great tool for a small group or sermon.

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