Puzzling Questions

Puzzling Questions: A six-week course to explore life’s deeper issues
Paul Griffiths, Martin Robinson, Julie Kite, Monarch/lionhudson, 2012

£99.00 (Approx)
4
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

The Puzzling Questions course is for those whose frame of reference simply doesn’t include anything about the Bible or the Christian faith. It provides a space where our friends can take time to explore some of life’s deeper questions, discover the issues that really concern them, develop their own spiritual vocabulary and connect with others who are on a spiritual journey too.

What do you get and how?

A4 Leader’s Guide, including CD with publicity material; DVD with input for sessions (30 minutes each); participant’s Workbook; accompanying optional book How can I be happy? Topics include:

  • Who am I?
  • What is God like?
  • What happens after I die?
  • How can I be happy?
  • Why is there suffering in the world?
  • What is the spiritual world and how does it impact my life?

Who is it for?

Beyond the fringe enquirers. Pre-Alpha. Adult.

Cost?

Complete pack including publicity material and 10 workbooks is £99.00. Also available separately.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of the material?

    Great production, good quality books and DVD.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Very clear, including much background material on reasons for the course.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Clear, large format. Comprehensive discussion on contemporary understanding of culture and popular spirituality, how people become Christians, and the consequent reasons for course approach: aimed at those who are beyond the fringe of church contact. Course information begins half way through the guide and includes everything from how to use to food suggestions and further resources. Session notes brief as based on DVD. Talk notes on CD as an option.

    Who could lead it?

    A relatively confident leader or team

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    A5 book contains stories from the DVD, discussion questions, plus pages for personal journaling, with biblical suggestions. Lots of imaginative material.

    How good is any digital material?

    Comprehensive. DVD: Accessible and well-produced videos, including street interviews, poetry, music and penetrating interviews around the topics. CD: talks, powerpoints, questions if this option is preferred.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Lots to read/watch. Much thoughtful preparation material is provided, and decisions and choices need to be made about how and what to use. Team training is suggested, with material given, and backup and training via the website offered.

    Is there website support? Links?

    See above: smart motivational website with sample videos, further resources and contact details. Training events offered.

    Is it dated?

    Not yet. Approach, topics and interviewees should be spot on for a good while.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Essential. Welcoming atmosphere encouraged, and question-based discussion groups in response to input.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Really good mix of discussion, watching, listening etc depending on how you choose to use the material provided. Main interviews on DVD are excellent but may be a little long for some attention spans (average 20 minutes).

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Should suit a wide variety of adults, and suggestions are given for adapting to services, home groups etc. Material available in a range of formats, so very adaptable.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Question-based discussion groups every session. Workbooks give lots of input and suggestions for individual use, which can then be discussed in group sessions. Creative suggestions for beginning ‘spiritual exercises' included.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Most biblical material is in the workbook, with a biblical story for consideration, and a section which aims to enable journaling/devotional reflections on life and the possibility of God.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Basic encouragement to read suggested passage and interact with it.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Direct encouragement to connect biblical material with own lives.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Baptist partnership and Bible Society have produced this. But this does what it says on the tin, and the material sticks to being accessible to non-churched people, with no obvious bias.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    This is introductory material which aims to connect with questions non-churched people are asking. See above for topics.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Aims to provide a safe space to ask big questions. Material is very accepting and non-judgemental.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    Introduces Christian concepts with gentleness, clarity and imagination.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    All the ‘puzzling questions' are based on real life issues.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    This course won't work unless Christians invite people.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Not a focus, except for inviting folk.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    The focus on suffering in session 5 engages helpfully with this.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus.

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