This post is the first in a series called “What We’re Reading.” Each month, members of the Lifeway Groups Ministry team will share what they’re reading or studying and how it has impacted their walk with God. This month’s reflection is from Ken Braddy, manager of adult ongoing Bible studies at Lifeway.
One of the privileges I have as a lay leader in my church is teaching a group of “empty nesters,” people who have kids in college and have found themselves alone at home again after many years of raising families.
I am very thankful that my church has chosen to provide our Bible study group with resources from Lifeway (our church has chosen to use Bible Studies For Life). Last fall, my group studied two different series related to the topic of evangelism. Both Bible studies have been very challenging to me personally and to the members of my class, but Unvarnished Truth was my favorite of the two.
In Unvarnished Truth, my group members and I learned “the gospel in a nutshell” as we rediscovered there is only one Creator, that He has a great purpose for our lives, and that we have a great problem: sin. We learned we have a great Savior who solved our sin problem, and that we can and should make one great commitment to Him to share the gospel story with others—that is our one great task.
I was amazed that adults in their mid-50s, who are relatively mature in their faith, had an aversion to sharing the gospel. That fact came out numerous times as we studied the Scripture together. But through it all, I watched God transform the hearts and minds of these empty-nest adults. They moved past those “surface prayers” that take place in so many groups, and we began praying for lost friends and family members. Unvarnished Truth helped us to realize that we should not rely on a preacher or a church program to get the gospel to the people we love and care about—it’s our privilege and responsibility to verbalize a witness and explain the gospel message to them. Unvarnished Truth changed and challenged us to be bolder in our witness, and for that I’m very grateful as a group leader.
Ken Braddy is Manager of Lifeway’s Adult Ongoing Bible Studies and has served as an education pastor for 18 years, prior to his role at Lifeway. He leads a weekly Bible study at his church, blogs regularly on the topic of Sunday School and small groups, and co-authored the books 3 Roles For Guiding Groups and Teacher: Creating Conversational Community. He has written hundreds of leadership articles and trained group leaders across the country. Ken is a native Texan, loves tex-mex, and wishes he had his 1978 Camaro back. Follow him on his blog at kenbraddy.com.