The Need

Summary: Christians and churches find themselves powerless because they suffer from Biblical illiteracy. Congregations lose their moorings and believers struggle to know what they believe – because they are not people of the Word. This overview will help you understand the problem of Biblical illiteracy and introduce the need for BNEXT Studies.

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Pastors and churches across the country face significant challenges in mission and ministry in this changing culture.

Biblical illiteracy has become commonplace in the Church today. A 2005 study by the Barna Group asked Christians to rate their spiritual maturity based on activities such as service, worship, and evangelism. Respondents were most harsh in their self-appraisal of their Bible knowledge, with only 25 percent considering themselves not too mature or not mature at all. A 2004 Gallup survey found that a mere 37 percent of teenagers could find the quotation from the Sermon on the Mount when given four choices. Time magazine observed in a 2007 cover story that only half of U.S. adults were able to name one of the four Gospels.

This lack of knowledge about Scripture and its relevance for our lives today is weakening the very foundation of the church. Pastors struggle to know how to motivate their people to learn, and to come to love the Bible. Bill Hybels, pastor of 20,000 member Willow Creek Community Church, expressed his alarm at the results of a 2007 ministry effectiveness survey taken of his congregation. The survey revealed a spiritual hunger among those coming into the faith, but even more alarming, a spiritual stagnation for believers desiring to grow in their faith.

These studies demonstrate the overwhelming need for ministries that develop disciples through teaching, personal and small group Bible study, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines for each willing member of a congregation. The need for resources and tools to meet this spiritual hunger, and for spiritual nourishment of the pastors who are challenged in providing for the needs of their congregation, is clearly evident.

Professor Andrew Purvis, author of The Crucifixion of Ministry, writes about pastors and others in Christian leadership, “Many of us are professionally, spiritually and financially depressed… Excessive demands on time, conflicts within congregations and between ministers and members, loss of personal spiritual life, and loneliness, account for a deep malaise within our professional and personal lives.”

BNEXT seeks to meet the need of over-burdened ministers by providing resources that enable them to preach well-planned sermon series from the Scriptures that are directly tied to congregation-wide small group Bible discussions.

Starting a BNEXT Study Group

Summary: Not every church has a small groups ministry, and not every church that has a small groups ministry has a healthy one. We have tools to help churches start from scratch or start anew to refresh their small group efforts.

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These simple steps can help you as you begin using BNEXT in your church:

  1. Pastor explores the use of BNEXT with church leadership for the purpose of a mutual shared commitment.
  2. Inventory existing small groups and invite their participation in the BNEXT study series.
  3. Form a BNEXT small group leadership team to supervise recruiting and coordinating BNEXT small groups.
  4. Pastor/leadership sets a goal for total number of groups and begins recruiting small group leaders for new BNEXT groups.
  5. Train small group leaders using BNEXT Small Group Leaders’ Training material.
  6. Announce BNEXT to entire congregation using public announcements and bulletin inserts.
  7. Small group coordinating team begins recruiting for small groups and assigns them to BNEXT small groups.
  8. BNEXT study handed out as a bulletin insert* or made available as people exit the service the Sunday the related sermon is preached (alternately, some churches prefer to handout the BNEXT studies the week before the related sermon is preached).

(*Even those who aren’t in small groups can benefit from using BNEXT.)

BNEXT’s Simple Format

 Summary: So how are the BNEXT studies arranged? Take a peek here for a surprisingly simple overview.

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Each BNEXT Lesson Series features this simple outline of the study material:

  1. Lesson teaching is the actual Bible study content.
  2. Devotion questions are written for your personal study.
  3. Discussion questions are especially for small groups; members who answer the questions ahead of time can bring more insight into their small group meeting.
  4. Digging Deeper questions are for those who desire additional personal or small group study.

BNEXT Pricing

Summary: We are very proud of our affordable pricing plan, and we are glad to share how we have structured our pricing, from individual copies to large-scale reproducible church licenses.

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BNEXT Bible study series’ are designed to supplement your personal and small group Bible study. And we believe that sound, Biblical teaching materials should not be expensive, but accessible and affordable. So here is the breakdown:

  • Each BNEXT study: 75¢ per lesson (lessons come in series sets)
  • Each BNEXT series set: begin at $5 per lesson (rights to duplicate from 2-500+ copies per set)

Using BNEXT with Sermons

Summary: Studies are designed for a pastor’s pulpit ministry to augment and compliment small groups. With this pairing, people can bring their thoughts or questions from a Sunday sermon, dig for solid answers as they study, and reflect on what they’re learning within their small group.

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BNEXT is distinctive and unique. No other ministry provides such a large catalog of resources designed to connect sermons, personal study, and small groups consistently and congregation-wide.

  • The pastor chooses what series to study and preach from a large and growing catalogue of BNEXT material.
  • Church members receive a BNEXT study guide each Sunday as a handout or bulletin insert for their personal study. (Most churches hand out the BNEXT studies on the day of the related sermon. Some chose to hand them out the week prior to that sermon).
  • Small groups use the BNEXT study guide.

BNEXT studies are plug-and-play for churches or groups that have experience leading small group Bible studies in their context. However, not every church who wants to lead a small group ministry has experience leading one – or starting one from scratch. With that in mind, there are multiple training and leadership tools we offer as free downloads:

Small Group Training

Summary: It’s nice to have a field manual at hand to help along the way, and we’ve provided that in the form of our Small Group Training Resources and Leader Training Manuals.

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BNEXT provides extensive resources for training small group leaders by means of a 4-5 hour training course divided into 4 sessions. The course includes a Student Manual, a Leader’s Manual, and corresponding PowerPoint presentations. The training manuals and PowerPoints come together as a set. The entire set of training materials is priced at $35.00 (a $75.00 value) that include the following:

Small Group Training

The first session is an exploration of the Biblical Foundation of small groups. from the Old to New Testaments. Made in the image of God, we too, like the triune God, are to experience a shared unity in relationships. Participants discover small groups as a perfect place to experience that shared unity with fellow believers.

Session 1: Why Small Groups?
The first session is an exploration of the Biblical Foundation of small groups from the Old to New Testaments. Made in the image of God, we too, like the triune God, are to experience a shared unity in relationships. Participants discover small groups as a perfect place to experience that shared unity with fellow believers. Jesus called twelve disciples and taught them in a group — what better way to follow the example of Jesus than in small groups? The early church grew as small communities of believers that could meet in homes in which they experienced spiritual intimacy with the risen Lord and each other by means of the Holy Spirit. Small groups are a great place to share in the same experience of spiritual intimacy.

Session 2: Growing a Small Group
A healthy small group includes a dynamic mix of worship, fellowship Bible study and mission. Small groups move through a cycle from initial excitement to appropriate termination. Small groups that bond together find value in establishing a mutual covenant and developing a mission statement.

Session 3: Leadership Skills
A spiritually maturing small group leader guides, protects, nurtures, equips others for ministry in following the example of our Lord.  By means of careful preparation, a small group leader makes sure that a group will experience a warm hospitality, meaningful prayer/worship, stimulating Bible study and generous/caring outreach to others. The dynamics of a small group are shaped by its various personalities. A skillful leader will be cognizant of who in a group might be a visionary, mediator, spectator, clown, cynic etc.

Session 4: Getting Organized
In order for small groups to be integral (connected to a church’s leadership) strategic (connecting to the overall direction of a church) and sustainable, (not sporadic or erratic) small groups must be supported by a team of small group shepherds providing caring oversight and support.

Leader Training Manuals with PowerPoints

A spiritually maturing small group leader guides, protects, nurtures, equips others for ministry in following the example of our Lord. By means of careful preparation, a small group leader makes sure that a group will experience a warm hospitality, meaningful prayer/worship, stimulating Bible study and generous/caring outreach to others. These downloadable resources which can be purchased from our online store will help you train your leaders to be effective in their leadership and direction of their groups.

Purchase Small Group Training »

Frequently Asked Questions

Summary: Over the years we have compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions, and we’ve provided simple and thoughtful responses here for you.

Why use BNEXT?

BNEXT is a proven system of discipleship and spiritual growth to help your church become grounded in God’s Word and built into maturity in Christ, as described in Ephesians 4:14-16:

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

How can BNEXT support the pastor’s sermon?

When used in tandem with BNEXT studies, the pastor’s sermon becomes the focal point for church member’s personal study and reflection, for small group discussion, and potentially for Sunday School instruction. All of this is made possible through the synergistic BNEXT study materials and the guidelines for their use. To learn more, download our Catalog of BNEXT Studies and the sermon planning options.

What helps do you offer for small group ministry in my church?

We offer a training module for your small group leaders, along with guidelines for establishing a small group ministry. For more information, please see the Resources.

How difficult is it to get started?

It is not difficult to get started with BNEXT. You should read the Getting Started  section of this site, and then bring the vision to your church leadership team. It will all unfold from there.

How much does it cost?

The cost depends on the size of your church. Each study can be downloaded individually at $.75 per lesson, or as a full-church reproducible resource at a price of $5 per lesson for churches up to 250 members. We are probably the best priced ministry of this kind anywhere. Our philosophy is “ministry first, and God will provide the money.” It is our hope that churches that find benefit from BNEXT will consider donating to the ministry through their missions budgets, to enable us to reach out to more churches.

What if our church wants to write its own material?

We encourage churches to write their own materials as well as to draw from our rich database. We provide guidelines in our Resources Tab for writing study guides, and offer to pay you for the materials you write, if they meet our standards and if they complement our current catalogue. Our vision is to continue expanding the catalogue so that pastors can eventually draw from every book of the Bible and from an expansive array of topics. Read our Guidelines paper.

Scope & Sequence

Summary: BNEXT Bible Studies reach wide from Genesis to Revelation with flyovers of the New and Old Testaments. Extended studies also allow students to dig deep into the truths of major sections too. Here you’ll see a summary of our scope and sequence for the BNEXT studies.

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BNEXT studies are broken down into five categories:

  1. Old Testament Overview Series provides an overview of the books and concepts of the Old Testament in the sequential order of the Old Testament books.
  2. New Testament Overview Series is similar to the Old Testament Overview Series in that it provides a concise synopsis of the New Testament. It is intended to be used taking the studies in order from the Gospels to Revelation.
  3. Old Testament Book Series can be used when you want more in-depth study of Old Testament books for your group or your church.
  4. New Testament Book Series is also created so your group or church can dig deeper into the books of the New Testament.
  5. Topical Study Series delves into topics like the Apostle’s Creed, The Fruit of the Spirit, and Disciplines for Christian Growth.