Our Goals

2020 Goals

Complete Three Bible Studies for the Gospel of John

We want to complete three prototype Bible study lessons that cover John 2:23-5:15. As we receive feedback on these and previous lessons, we will also update them as needed.

Recruit Prototype Lesson Reviewers

We want to have several small groups work through the first module of John and provide us with their feedback. This module contains three fully-functional prototype lessons. We refer to these lessons as prototypes because they need to be reviewed by actual users and then updated based on their feedback before they will be ready for general use. Until small groups review these lessons, we really have no way to know if they can truly help people know God’s word and do God’s will.

To recruit small groups to review our lessons, we plan to attend the small group leader’s huddles at Keystone Church in Saline, MI and to share with these leaders this opportunity for their small group to help our ministry. We also want to finalize the wording and graphics of our small group recruitment flier to make it an effective tool for recruiting small groups.

This year we also want to start building a working relationship with at least one Johannine Bible scholar with the goal of having this scholar review our lessons to ensure that they accurately communicate the message of the Gospel of John. To help us recruit a scholar, we want to create a professional-looking flier that we can email to scholars. This flier will succinctly describe our ministry, contain links to key pages of our website, and describe the importance of the role they could play by reviewing our lessons.

Build the Team

For the Word-n-Will ministry to be successful, we must build a team of people who are passionate about our ministry. Currently, the job market is very tight for those in the field of biblical studies. If we can connect with some of these students, we should be able to find some who might be interested in joining our ministry upon graduation.

Last year we created a first draft of a flier to send to graduate students in biblical studies. This year we want to finish this draft and add graphics to give it a professional look. We then want to find a way to get this flier emailed to students who are pursuing a graduate degree in biblical studies at three or more schools.

We also believe we need to add more members to our board of directors. To facilitate this process, we also want to create a flier that can be emailed to potential board members. This flier would be similar to our other filers but be designed specifically for potential board members. After we complete this flier, we want to send it to at least three potential board members.

Upgrade Our Website

We began the process of upgrading our website in 2019 when Seth took a WordPress for Professionals class at Washtenaw Community College. Because it takes a lot of expertise to design a good website, we plan to hire someone who has that expertise to help us upgrade our website. Because our website will play a critical role in our recruiting small groups to review our lessons, graduate students to join our team, and people to join our board, we want to complete this upgrade as soon as possible in 2020.

Upgrade Our Bible Study Tools

To improve the audio quality for these lessons, we are going to upgrade our recording equipment. If this new equipment significantly improves the audio quality, we will then rerecord the audio for the first three lessons.

When developing our lessons, we have used BibleWorks software, which, among other things, allows us to do various types of searches in the original languages of the Bible. Unfortunately, although BibleWorks was in business for 26 years, they decided to discontinue operations as of June 15, 2018. Their software still works, but we have decided it is time to find a replacement. Once we purchase the new software, we will then need to learn how to use it and how to make the best use of it for our ministry.

The software we use to create our e-Learning Bible studies (Articulate Storyline 3) has not had a major new release in almost three years. If a new version of the software is released this year, we will purchase it.

Build Financial Support

In the first three years of the Word-n-Will ministry, we have not had a bank account. During this period we have received a little over $1,000 in donations, while all the other expenses have been paid for by Seth and Janene. This year they plan to donate $10,000 to the ministry to set up an account. The Word-n-Will website will then be linked to this account so that any donations that are made through the website will go directly into the account.

Up to this point in the ministry, raising support has not been a priority. This year it won’t be a high priority, but we need to develop a workable game plan so that we can expand the ministry going forward.

Although we have been rejected twice by Praxis, we plan to submit a third application in the fall of this year.

Long-Term Goals

After the foundation is laid for the Word-n-will ministry, we will then begin to build on that foundation by focusing on the following long-term goals:

Develop Studies for Books of the Bible

We are currently creating studies for the Gospel of John. In the initial phase of the ministry, we also want to create studies for Genesis, Romans, Isaiah, and Revelation. We believe these books provide a good introduction to the Bible and a solid foundation for further study of the Bible. They also expose the user to several of the important genres that are used in the Bible. When we finish creating studies for these books of the Bible, we will continue to develop studies for other books of the Bible.

Build Development Teams

Ideally, for each book of the Bible, we will have a development team of up to four or more members. Two team members will focus on determining the correct interpretation of the text. They will create a blueprint that describes each lesson’s content in detail. This blueprint will also include an initial set of application questions that will be part of the lesson. When a small group uses a lesson, the application questions will help them wrestle with how to apply the scripture they are studying to their lives.

For each lesson, the other team members will take the blueprint created by the first two team members and use it as their guide when creating an effective Bible study lesson. The following are some of the responsibilities of these team members:

  • Write the script
  • Create the visual content
  • Record the audio
  • Sync the visual and audio content
  • Finish the small group discussion questions
  • Update the lesson based on the feedback from beta reviewers

Build on the Knowledge of Biblical Scholars

In the past 50 years, numerous commentaries and other scholarly works have been published on the different books of the Bible. We plan to use the best of these scholarly works as we develop our Bible studies. Although we will glean as much information as possible from other scholars, our primary source will always be the biblical text itself.

In addition to using the works of other scholars, we also like to find biblical scholars, who would be willing to review our lessons as we create them. We would ask these scholars to identify any areas in our lessons where they believe we are incorrectly interpreting the text.

Implement a Development Process

When a team completes a set of prototype lessons for a book of a Bible (what we call a module), one or more scholars, who have agreed to work with us on that book, will review this set of lessons and provide us with feedback. We will also have several small groups work through these lessons and give us their feedback. We will then use this feedback to determine any improvements that we need to make to the lessons and update them accordingly.

We are currently developing lessons for the Gospel of John. When about one third of the work on John is completed, we will hopefully have enough team members so that we can also begin to work on the lessons for Genesis. When about two thirds of the work on John and one third of the work on Genesis is completed, we would then like to begin developing lessons for Romans as well. The goal will be to build a large enough team so that we can be developing lessons for at least three books of the Bible simultaneously. We believe that it will take at least three years to develop the lessons for a longer book of the Bible if four or more people are working on it full time. If we work on three books of the Bible simultaneously and stagger their development, we should be able to complete the studies for a longer book or several shorter books each year.

Update Existing Lessons

In addition to creating new lessons for books of the Bible, we also plan to update the lessons we have already created on a regular basis. We will make these updates based on user feedback, insights that we discover, and advances in technology. As we gather these ideas for updates to our lessons, we will carefully analyze them and put them in a database. We will then update the lessons for a book of the Bible when we believe the updates will make the lessons significantly more effective.

Localize Completed Lessons

After we have updated the lessons for a book of the Bible at least once, we would then like to begin localizing the lessons. Localization involves translating the text into other languages. It also involves modifying the lessons so that they communicate clearly in the end-user’s culture.

We will determine the priority of localizing the lessons for a particular language based on the number of people that the localization could potentially reach and on the human resources available to do the localization.