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Q Group Studies

In my last post I mentioned three organizations we were with, out with our roving book display, serving them at their own meetings, retreats and convocations.  We love these small soirees, we we get to hang out with folks often on the front line of real ministry---educators, pastors, para-church workers doing good stuff.  One of the themes that kept arising in those gatherings was how the church can more effective attract, enfold, and equip their young adults.  What sort of perspective, what kind of hospitality, what level of teaching (what brand of coffee?) will work best in ministry with young adults.

I've pontificated about this in past posts and I will say again that I am confident that this generation of younger adults wants serious content and that most are eager for a vibrant faith.  And, given their being raised in a visual and Web 2.0 culture, they will best respond to soul-tsunami-193x300.jpggood communicators, good graphics and multi-sensory ministry.  What Len Sweet wrote about in his game-changing, one-of-a-kind early warning rundown about postmodernism, SoulTsunami: Sink or Swim in the New Millennial Culture---Ten Life Rings (Zondervan; $16.99;  still in print and still worth reading) and what he playfully explored in The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living With a Grande Passion (Waterbrook; $13.99) still rings mostly true-- that the cultural shift in which we now do ministry includes those four factors he helps us remember with the acronym EPIC (experiential, participatory, image-based and communal.)  Good and faithful theological content presented as true truth trumps all that, of course---no point being epic about stuff that doesn't truly matter---but quality presentation style is vital.  It isn't necessarily compromising to attend to such things. 

I pick up a real loud strain within some mainline circles that suggests that since some mega-churches majored in the slick presentation and cool drama, and that ended up being a bit vapid and Christianity-lite, well, by golly, we'll just bore people and feel self righteous about it; we'll be lackadaisical about medium and message.  Being bad at communication or sloppy about presentation style is just dumb and "we're not a high-powered professionalized mega-church" schtick only gets you so far.

And so---my big point: it is great when good content is matched with young-adult friendly, fairly hip presentation style, when we can buy very cool video projects that are really well done and about very important stuff.  We are thrilled when top quality videographers capture exceptionally provocative and important faith-based conversations, inviting viewers into the discussion and catapult them into new engagements. 

The Q Group Studies DVDs are exactly such curriculum, a fantastic blend of energy and substance, mature conversation, presented in ways that resonate especially with younger folks--think a progressively evangelical version of TED talks, maybe, but with more interaction.
Here is a very moving video that served to introduce the first four of the DVDs that came out last year.  I hope you enjoy it---I get chills seeing this kind of stuff!
 

That many of the leaders captured in the newest batch, live lectures and panel discussions and interviews seem to be under 35 is important---they are the "next generation" restorers that Gabe Lyon writes so powerfully about in The Next Christians (Doubleday; $19.99.)  Those familiar with the second half of that book will see in the Q video talks several similar themes and topics and those that have visited his amazing website will know that some of these presentations came from previous Q Conferences.  That the word "restore" is in the subtitle of each is no accident!

Anyone of any age that cares about serving God in meaningful ways amidst the daily challenges of our post-Christian culture will find much with which to engage in these.  You may recall that we raved about the first four.  (Some really liked the one on faith and science and others liked the one on new urbanism, Where You Live Matters.)   Agree or disagree, celebrate or critique, this stuff is undeniably interesting and will be fodder for fabulous conversations as you watch them in your local study group, cultural discernment class, Sunday school hour or young adult outreach.  These DVDs feature some of the best speakers, presenting some of the best topics, that we have seen in years.  Can I say that again, perhaps??  I hope you give these a try! 

I am confident these good DVDs will be helpful and will generate interest and action.  Each one ends with a "cultural shaping project" which invites viewers to get involved, live into the big questions that are being discussed, take up new callings and vocations to be God's people in the world.  They even include what they call a "debrief" that allows for more feedback, even inviting prayerful discernment about next steps...

Each of these four new Q Group Studies DVDs (Zondervan; $39.95) come shrink wrapped with a very handsome study guide that includes not only discussion questions but excerpts from books, articles, and tons of good resources to help your group. They are well made and interesting to look through---again, the graphics and medium seems part of the message!  (Congrats, again, to Zondervan for partnering with the Q to do these.) You can buy just the DVD for less, but you really need the workbook; of course extra participants books are available and, with these, highly recommended.

(You may recall that the first batch of four of these used to be called "society room" DVDs alluding to the discussion starters that evangelical social reformer William Wilberforce and his Clapham Sect would host, but they've dropped that moniker, just noting that they are exceptionally thoughtful, culturally-engaged, provocative presentations to help us imagine new ways to be faithful in our public lives.)

Here they are:

4150-kdKkVL._SL500_AA300_.jpgThe Kingdom Way of Life: Restoring What It Means to Follow Jesus  Scot McKnight (New Testament scholar and prolific author)  Mike Metzger (President of Clapham Institute and social innovator,)  Tim Keller (Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian and author), Jon Tyson (Pastor, Trinity Grace Church)

One - Did Jesus Preach the Gospel?
Two - Living the Gospel in Culture
Three - The Both/And of the Gospel
Four - The Transformative Kingdom
Five - Culture-Shaping Project and Debrief





5145pGc2QjL._SL500_AA300_.jpgBeing Countercultural: Restoring Our Identity in a Changing Society   Gabe Lyons (Founder, Q and author of Next Christians), Andy Crouch (author, Culture-Making), Jason Docy & Tim Willard (authors, Veneer), Mike Foster (president, Ethur)

One - Being Countercultural
Two - Stripping Away the Veneer
Three - Power, Privilege and Risk
Four - People of the Second Chance
Five - Culture-Shaping Project and Debrief







51ivaHJlzSL._SL500_AA300_.jpgStaying Grounded: Restoring the Ancient Practices  Phyllis Tickle (author, The Divine Hours), Andy Crouch (author, Culture-Making), Shane Hipps, (author, Flickering Pixels, media critic) Matthew Sleeth (environmentalist, author, Serve God, Save the Planet)

One - Recovering the Ancient Practices
Two - From Purchases to Practices
Three - The Spirituality of Cell Phones
Four - Observing the Sabbath
Five - Culture-Shaping Project and Debrief





51b36l6kiiL._SL500_AA300_.jpgAdvancing the Common Good: Restoring Our Role In Culture Jo Saxton (3D Ministries), David Gushee (Professor, Mercer University and author), Eboo Patel (founder, Interfaith Youth Core), Shannon Sedgwick Davis (Partner, Bridgeway Foundation.)


One - Being Provoked to Engage
Two - The Sanctity of Human Life
Three - An Interfaith Dialogue
Four - Not On Our Watch
Five - Culture-Shaping Project and Debrief 





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3 Comments

These look so good, but they also look very male-dominated. I can't show a video with all male presenters to my church. We are used to shared leadership, male and female. Has anybody made any wonderful videos that reflect that?

One of the four has two women....I know that Q folks are working on this, and this year's gathering, held in Portland a few weeks back, I think addressed that. Sorry to ask you to bear with them, but they are improving. Still, you could use the one, at least...

And, of course, the third one has Phyllis Tickle...
Always good listening to her, no matter in what setting.

We so appreciate this concern--and the similiar concern about offering role models of multi-ethnic diversity. Very important. These speakers are a diverse lot if you consider gender, age, denomination, race with even a touch of inter-faith perspective, too (Patel is a practicing Muslim.) These are so worthwhile, it is worth using them.