The command Jesus gives us in the Great Commission of Matthew 28 is to “make disciples.” That leads to an evaluation question:
Does your church have an intentional pathway for engaging those who don’t yet believe in Jesus, and then leading them to follow Jesus and to love, live, and tell the gospel?
There has been a growing trend recently of churches contacting me about using our Christianity Explored resources as part of an intentional discipleship pathway. Some churches are choosing to develop that pathway around one or more of our resources, along with additional material. Other churches are choosing to use all three of our series as the core of their pathway.
With that in mind, I contacted Barry Cooper, co-author of Life Explored (LE) and Christianity Explored (CE), as well as the author of Discipleship Explored (DE), for his answer to the question: How do LE / CE / DE integrate?
“You can run each series completely independently of the others. In other words, you don’t need to have run LE to run CE or DE. They each work wonderfully well as “standalone” series.
That said, the trilogy makes for a terrific year-long plan for your church or community group. You could start in September with Life Explored, run Christianity Explored in January, and then kick off Discipleship Explored after Easter.
In terms of the best order to run them in, bear in mind that although CE and LE are fantastic for believers, they’ve been designed primarily with unbelievers in mind. By contrast, Discipleship Explored has been designed primarily with believers in mind. So if I were running more than one, I’d make sure I ran LE/CE before DE. (That said, if a non-Christian turned up to Discipleship Explored, I’d thank God and pour them a coffee.)
If you’re looking to run an evangelistic series and aren’t sure whether to choose LE or CE, I’d say it very much depends on the folks you’re trying to reach. Anecdotally, we’re hearing that Life Explored is being particularly well received by those in the 18-35 age group. The films and the focus on idolatry really seem to connect well there. On the other hand, if the idea of focusing on one particular book of the Bible (Mark’s Gospel) appeals, Christianity Explored is the way to go.”
I would like to add to what Barry said the story of what one of our CE-USA board members, Dave Hampton, has found in using LE as a bridge into CE. He has found that people will come to LE who would not come to CE, but then once they come to LE, they want to come to CE when they are invited. You can read Dave’s story in a blog post from last year here.