Life balance
Sue Mayfield, Robert Warren, church publishing house, 2005

£5.99 (Approx)
4.2
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

21st century living is hectic. Getting the right ‘life balance’ between rest, work and play seems almost impossible. In five interactive sessions, Life Balance aims to help groups explores: How to build Sabbath time into the crazy pressures of everyday life. How ‘Sabbath attitudes’ can transform the way we spend our time. Each session contains enough material for a 90-minute session and includes guidelines for group study, with full background notes for leaders, interactive activities, questions for discussion and multimedia ideas, and ideas for practical action.

What do you get and how?

Paperback book or ePUB available from the Church Publishing House online.

Five 90-minute sessions on Rest, Work and Play for Lent. Each session has information for preparation for each session as well as an outline.

Other titles available in the series, each written as a resource for Lent:

Life attitudes: (see review on this site) Living Well / Living Openly/ Living Purposefully/ Living Lovingly / Living Differe

Life calling: Called by God / Called from within / Called out / Called up / Called on

Life source: (see review on this site) Source of life / Source of Joy/ Source of Light / Source of Wholeness / Source of Love

Who is it for?

Small groups to study with background notes for leaders. Each member of the group is advised to have a copy of the book.

Cost?

£5.99

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Smart, glossy covered booklet. Neat layout

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Recommended for use during Lent but would suit any time. Clear leader's tips which emphasise that the aim is to facilitate learning rather than teach. Aim for each session clearly spelled out at the beginning.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    ‘Beforehand' checklist of materials needed for each session. Practical and helpful leader's tips for creating a good atmosphere and making the session run well. Clear timings given for each part of the session: Welcome, Action replay, Brainstorm, Encounter, Talk about it, Get real, Go deep. Suggestions for creative resources for music, images and objects for the ‘Go deep' section. Each Beforehand section has some background and explanations for the topic, which are intended as guides and inspiration rather than teaching, and are nicely divided into sections which would be easy to assimilate and convey. This consists of 3 or 4 pages, and includes: Aim, Background, Three key words, Consequences, Cutting across (summary of topic). Based on these, the leader can give an overview of the topic.

    Who could lead it?

    A leader or two with a little experience would be fine; the tips are good and helpful so it could work well for a new leader as well.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Just the one book, so the participants have the complete material as well, which may be helpful for future reference. Nicely laid out with icons and clear headings. No note spaces. Session could be run by leaders without the participants having a book for themselves, as long as any prayer etc material was supplied.

    How good is any digital material?

    N/A

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Familiarisation with the material, preparation of topic presentation, and gathering of props. Some Go deep sections contain suggestions which would need a bit more effort – for example, watching a relevant film clip. Lots of suggestions for accompanying music, activities etc.

    Is there website support? Links?

    N/A

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Great interaction in a variety of ways, including discussion, but also working together on activities, watching film clips, worship, prayer, music..

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

    Unusually, there is recognition of the variety of learning styles which exist, and real encouragement to cater for this. Resources recommended include those from a wide variety of creative media, from classical music and literature, to recent film and poetry. Material is liberally scattered with relevant quotes.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    The variety of suggestions and interactive elements in this course means that the material could be adapted easily for a wide range of groups. There are some Anglican-style prayers and responses. Would suit younger adults as well as the more mature.

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

    Specific encouragement to work together to explore creative responses to the material, especially in the ‘Go deep' sections. Prayer time includes suggestions for relevant prayers and responses. ‘Action replay' gives time for feedback on this at the start of the session.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    The vast majority of the material is based on two key passages for each session.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Good encouragement to avoid surface-level interpretations and misinterpretations of the biblical material. Helpful background introduction, and the rest of the material revolves creatively around the biblical themes.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    A strength of this resource, as it mixes understanding of the biblical text with both broad and personal application. The more interactive elements of the course reinforce this.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Broad evangelical.

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

    Excellent range of ideas and thought-provoking questions which are presented through the wide range of elements, from music to Bible study to pray to action. Challenging and interesting.

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

    Questions and surrounding material have breadth and depth. Good progression through the sessions.

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

    Really searching questions without ‘easy' answers, linking biblical principles with implications for us today.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Questions are thought-provoking and realistic about familiar life challenges, and encourage working out possible responses. Strong recommendations to work out one's own response to Sabbath imperatives.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Not a particular focus.

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

    Encouragement to work out how applying Sabbath principles might impact local involvement.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Strong recognition of global issues from both theological and practical points of view, with encouragement to actually do something about them, based on the Jewish Jubilee-year link to the Sabbath principle.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus.

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