[First, those of you who get this by email, a post that was supposed to go out next Friday went out this Friday. You'll be seeing it again, but more in the context of the six previous posts. But if you did not read all the way down the email, you missed a post on the shorter/longer series. Check it out.]
Here are the rest of the comments I've gotten. I'll weigh in next week. You have given me so much to think about and I think I know what to do based on your comments. Thank you. But I need to let it simmer while I'm on vacation this week.
15-20 Week Series
- I would like a 15-20 week series on the Gospel of Mark. It would provide plenty of room for you to unlock all the layers of Mark's Gospel. I think it would be a wonderful and exciting time of detailed scripture study-also in small group.
- The longer, more thorough one, that could build as it gets started. For those who say they "are lost" when joining up in the middle, I say, "get the vodcast" and watch it from home. Or listen to it in the car, or wherever. And that it would be great for people to feel compelled to follow up with it by following along.
- I think 20-24 weeks...the more you unwrap the book, the better. I think it would allow you to mix it up with snapshot videos where appropriate, include drama and maybe special music. Make it a series no one will forget and everyone will talk about. Make it spectacular!
- I'm trying to not sound snarky when I ask this, but I guess I'm curious about why a 15-20 week series feels long... is it just the number that is scary? Because it's not like each message in a series spanning the book of Mark would be the same - Mark (or any gospel, really) covers a LOT of ground. So maybe Jessie's idea would work where you just have a series of series and give them different names: Jesus, the Early Years, etc [Same person, later] I'm also wondering what it is about a longer series that makes people feel like it is unwelcoming to a newcomer. Not having ever really been a newcomer myself (grew up in the church), is it really less intimidating to visit in the middle of an 8-week series than a 15-week one
- [This is written in response to the above post.] I think if I were visiting a church and came in at week 6 of an 8 week study, I might not worry about feeling lost, regardless of whether the messages are so intricately tied that I would even notice. However, if I came in on week 10 and worried about 10 more weeks of confusion, I might not come back for awhile. However, with that said, if Henry doesn't emphasize that this is week 10 of a 20 week series, it might not be any different that the 20th sermon of the year. It might be a marketing strategy as well as how tied the messages really are - I grew up Lutheran where there was no connection week to week, so it would never dawn on me to worry about where I was in the scheme of a preaching schedule. And maybe others, especially someone knew, wouldn't bother to care either.
- My vote is for the longer series for "The Story of Jesus". Either way, I can't wait.
- Personally, I'd opt for 15-20 weeks, but I really think 8 weeks will be the choice of most people. Either way, I know we'll all learn a lot!
8 Week Series
- I would prefer the 8-week series. In the past, when you have been “forced” to put much information into fewer messages, they have been incredibly powerful and have provided a feast for great discussion in our small groups.
- I'm for the 8 week series. I'm more of an in depth person, but I also have a bit of ADD in me so if you were going to do the in depth 15-20 weeks worth of info, I'd rather have round 1 of Mark (8 wks), another topic, and come back to round 2 (the deeper level of Mark - the 2nd 8 wks of info).
- From the perspective of a small group leader, it is hard to keep a group focused on a single-subject for more than 8-10 weeks (no matter how GOOD the subject matter) ... or maybe that is a reflection of the small group leader?!?!?
- My opinion is to consider 8 weeks would bring you close to the end of June with summer maybe a new series. A focus of eight points can be better absorbed sometimes than longer series for some people. Since Easter is so late, and it would integrate into your current series of big focus on the BIble.