Theology for the Church: 3 Ways to Use Real Life Theology in Your Church
Theology is for the church. Below are three ways Renew.org’s Real Life Theology series can be helpful for teaching theology in a local church amid a cultural moment of biblical illiteracy and cultural confusion.
When we put together the Real Life Theology (RLT) series, we did not intend for it to sit on the shelf. We didn’t even intend it primarily to make Christians smarter. Our aim in spearheading these books was very practical, and the subtitle of the Collection says it all: fuel for effective and faithful disciple making. We put these resources together to help the church carry out her core mission of making disciples. We would like to list the resources we have so far and then show how they can be used in a church setting.
First, here are the resources we have so far in the Real Life Theology family, and then, further down, we’ll show how these resources can be used for the church.
- 12 core books in the RLT series (with discussion questions)
- Real Life Theology Collection (12 core books + 1 free book)
- (free) Starting a Discipleship Group: A Leader’s Guide for Using The Real Life Theology Books
- (free) 300+ pages of sermon notes + sermon bumpers
- (free) 70+ RLT teaching videos (3-7-minute videos, 6 per book)
#1 – Using Real Life Theology for Small Groups/Discipling
The 12 core RLT books are designed for small groups and discipling groups to go through together.
Each chapter ends with 6 reflection/discussion questions + space for journaling. Churches can take their small groups through individual books all at once. It’s a great way of discipling people in important theological content. (For example, using the RLT book by David Young to lead a small group or disciple a group of 3-4 in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.) Here’s what the individual books look like:
If your church will be going through an individual book and would like a discount on bulk orders (20 or more), contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bobby Harrington has also designed a free download on how to start a discipleship group using the RLT books. This guide walks through important steps in setting up a group, such as spiritual autobiographies, discipling rhythms, group covenants, and group questions:
#2 – Using Real Life Theology for Teaching/Preaching
In a biblically illiterate cultural moment, some church leaders and teachers will want to preach and teach through these theology topics. For these preachers and teachers, we have put together 52 sermon outlines (along with illustrations and sermon bumpers) to help them communicate these concepts clearly and creatively. For an immersive experience in a particular topic, we have made it easy for a church to coincide sermon series and small group curriculum. To access these free sermon outlines/bumpers, click here. In addition, our RLT authors have put together 70+ teaching videos (3-7 minutes each) which are helpful in summarizing the main point of each chapter. You can access all the videos here.
#3 – Using Real Life Theology for Leadership Training
It is crucial that church leaderships are aligned on solid theology in culturally confusing times. We have had churches contact us and want to take their church leadership (e.g., church staff, eldership) through the RLT content as a form of leadership training in theology. For this, the 12 individual core RLT books can be helpful. It can also be helpful for them to own the RLT Collection as a reference tool. Here is what the RLT Collection looks like:
A bit more on the Collection. The RLT Collection includes…
- All 12 books in the Real Life Theology series
- A 13th book by Bobby Harrington called Eternal Security: Walking in Faithfulness
- “Glossary of 100 Theology Words”
- An Introduction (“Why This Book and How to Use It”) and Conclusion (“What You Can Do Right Now”)
More than anything, we hope that God uses these resources to encourage your church toward effective and faithful disciple making. We pray that these tools can help you in your important work!