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OPINION

Gospel Project available on iPad, eBook

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- The Gospel Project curriculum created by LifeWay Christian Resources has introduced a digital delivery format to serve as yet another way for churches to engage in the three-year study designed for Sunday Schools and small groups of all ages.
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The Gospel Project is a Christ-centered curriculum looking at the grand narrative of Scripture and how the Gospel transforms lives, said Trevin Wax, managing editor of The Gospel Project.

With the curriculum's first printed material debuting this fall, LifeWay has introduced a Gospel Project eBook version for devices such as Kindle and Nook and also has launched a Gospel Project iPad app for adults and an iPhone app for students. An iPhone app for kids eventually will launch, giving parents a view of what their children are learning.

"The launch of The Gospel Project is just weeks away, and we are so encouraged by the initial response," Wax said. "Thousands of churches from a variety of denominations and affiliations have ordered the curriculum, and it is selling nearly twice what we originally forecast."

LifeWay is expediting a third printing of the curriculum to keep up with the orders that continue to come in, he said.

The launch of a digital delivery format will enable churches to adjust sessions to their specific needs, Wax said.

"I'm excited about the new iPad app for adults and the iPhone app for students because there are a lot of great things we can do in an app that we can't do in a printed piece," Wax said. "Both students and teachers will have an enhanced study experience with the app as a supplement to their study. These new resources represent a major step forward for us in how we can serve churches digitally."

A new "curriculum manager" was launched Aug. 1 and is designed for churches that purchase the digital files (in PDF and RTF formats) in order to keep things orderly and organized.

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"We're very pleased with how Southern Baptists have responded -- thousands of churches are ordering hundreds of thousands of resources," said Ed Stetzer, general editor of The Gospel Project. "However, we've also been surprised with how many non-SBC churches have ordered as well.

"At its core, people value the theological depth but also appreciate the fact that we use our confessional statement (the Baptist Faith and Message) as our standard," Stetzer said. "They are saying they trust LifeWay and the theological guidelines we use to convey the narrative of the gospel."

Ken Whitten, senior pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla., said several factors contributed to his staff's decision to use The Gospel Project, including the "creative resources" that are provided and the flexibility.

"The curriculum is designed for small groups or large groups, and it is available in print or as a downloadable version," Whitten said. "The teaching tools are used to free up, not weigh down, a leader.

"As a senior pastor who believes we learn better in circles than in straight lines, and teaches what we need each week in transformation, and application -- not just information and explanation -- we are supporting our denomination because they desire to support and serve pastors. It's more than a project, it's a Person, and His name is Jesus."

Nashville church planter Gary Morgan said his church chose The Gospel Project for their kids because the materials fit with the flow of their community.

"We want kids and parents to be engaged together and be connected to the big picture of Scripture and how the story of Jesus is woven throughout," Morgan, pastor of Mosaic, said.

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"The digital resources were a huge plus for us," Morgan said. "Our numbers fluctuate and as a small church that meets in a building that is not our own, we needed material that is flexible in different settings."

Each session of The Gospel Project immerses participants -- adults, students and kids -- in the Gospel through every story, theological concept and call to missions from Genesis to Revelation.

"By year's end, it's likely that 300,000 people will be using these materials," Wax said. "Knowing that we can have a small part in serving so many people is a humbling responsibility we hope to steward well."

Russ Rankin is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources. Learn more about The Gospel Project at GospelProject.com. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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