just finished the fist reading of The Gospel-centered Life by Bob Thune&Will Walker, World Harvest Ministries, and for once i have to say that
this is an extremely well-conceived, challenging and perfectly planned study guide to a number of key-concepts, practices and theology in your everyday christian life.
the book challenges: it asks questions that are not commonly asked in post-modern society, in a way that unavoidably provokes thought and ultimately, prayer.
the format of the chapters/individual studies is laid out clearly, indicating the possible time-frame. yet it is difficult to judge from reading only (without trying it first in a real 6-12 member group discussion), whether the suggested time formats really work. from personal teaching experience, i would dare to say that the reading and discussion of the Bible passages and articles would be more time-consuming should the discussion be directed more at getting at the deeper parts of soul, formulating the more evasive thoughts, etc.
also, this type of study would demand ultimate trust and openness among the members of the group, or the study loses any sense. another issue that rises here is that of the privacy of confession and related matters, especially if the study is used in an environment that assigns sacramental role to the confession.
in the past six years, reading through tons of different materials about small group Bible studies and churchwork, i have seldom come across a study guide that would be more adequate, less challenging and yet – possible and attainable. if the theory of these studies is put into practice, nothing could be more life-changing. except, of course, the one who can do any thing, with anyone, anywhere (Trinity).