By Aaron Wilson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When The Gospel Project curriculum launched 10 years ago, it had one driving goal: Help people see how all of Scripture revolves around Jesus Christ. Since that time, the chronologically driven curriculum has made three full orbits around the Son of God and is currently on its fourth pass, transitioning from the Old to New Testament in spring 2023.
“To see how God has grown The Gospel Project’s impact in the last decade is truly amazing,” said Chuck Peters, director of Lifeway Kids. “This curriculum line started with humble roots but has risen to become a trusted resource used by millions of people around the world. We continue to hear testimonies from Christians who say they’ve gone from knowing loosely connected Scripture stories to understanding, for the first time, what the Bible is truly about.”
One of several ongoing curriculum lines Lifeway Christian Resources publishes for kids, students and adults, The Gospel Project strives to help people connect the dots among individual Bible stories so they can see God’s Word in its entirety as one interconnected redemptive story.
“Lifeway recognizes that every church’s discipleship strategy has a starting point,” said Alyssa Jones, publishing team leader of The Gospel Project for Kids. “Churches may approach the Bible and emphasize the text (what does Scripture say?), life application (what does Scripture mean to me?), or theology (what does Scripture say about God?). Each of Lifeway’s curriculum lines answers these questions, but The Gospel Project emphasizes theology by using a chronological approach through the gospel narrative.”
Planting gospel seeds at church and in the home
On the surface, words like “theology,” “chronological” and “redemptive narrative” sound as if they’re pulled from a seminary classroom. But when Meghan Dukes thinks of these terms in relation to The Gospel Project, she’s reminded of her elementary-aged daughter.
“We used The Gospel Project curriculum for our kid’s night classes,” said Dukes, kids ministry director at Redeemer Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. “Every week I’d focus on one point and break it down to make sure the kids really understood the gospel message. The children also practiced telling the gospel to others within the group.
“I especially saw the Holy Spirit work in my daughter’s life after a night of using The Gospel Project resources,” Dukes said. “I believe the Lord used the gospel seeds to help her realize her need for Him, and she prayed to become a Christian.”
A state away, Jessie White, kids ministry director at Emmaus Church in Buford, Georgia, uses The Gospel Project to help partner with kids’ parents, whom Lifeway elevates as the main disciplers of children.
“We’ve been using The Gospel Project for the past eight years and have loved how every lesson points back to Jesus,” said White. “We just used ‘The Gospel: God’s Plan for Me’ in a series with our parents walking them through teaching their own kids the gospel. The resources The Gospel Project provides make it easy for our volunteers to teach the gospel to the kids in our ministry every Sunday. And for me as the director, it helps connect what we do on Sundays with what parents teach their kids at home.”
Gospel project management: The Gospel Project goes global
Today, The Gospel Project is available in print, digital and hybrid formats. However, The Gospel Project originally served as an experiment for Lifeway investing in the digital delivery of ongoing resources, something it had only dabbled in previously. In preparation for the original release of The Gospel Project, Lifeway’s IT department developed one of the organization’s first online curriculum-management programs.
While a digital push was originally seen as a risky medium for a resource like church curriculum that had traditionally been print-focused, The Gospel Project’s reception helped pave the way for Lifeway’s other resources to embrace new technology that has since become a staple for many churches operating in a post-pandemic world. Today, Lifeway’s digital curriculum subscriptions are run through Ministry Grid, and quarterly digital curriculum revenue for the organization has increased by around 600% since last summer.
Tim Pollard is a team leader at Lifeway who served on the original staff that dreamed up and launched The Gospel Project product line a decade ago. While reflecting on the journey, Pollard said the curriculum has transitioned from once being a niche idea to becoming an established church favorite.
“Since the idea behind The Gospel Project was something so different than anything Lifeway had previously produced, it was truly my hope that this resource would fit an untapped niche,” he said. “We tried to anticipate churches’ unspoken needs and provide a resource that could genuinely be used by any church of any size.”
During the last decade, Pollard and others have watched this hope manifest not just in the U.S., but also in the way The Gospel Project has gained traction in churches internationally. Resources in The Gospel Project family have been translated into Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, French and Spanish, and it is currently being translated into Romanian.
“Proyecto Evangelio Para Niños [The Gospel Project for Kids in Spanish] has been distributed to 21 countries including most of Latin America and Spain, Ireland, France, Canada, Italy and the United Kingdom,” said Carlos Astorga, senior manager of Spanish publishing at Lifeway.
No exhausting the good news
As The Gospel Project looks forward to the next decade of ministry, Peters said there are no plans to slow down.
“The Gospel Project continues to grow with more and more churches using it every month to anchor their adult, student and kid ministries to the Word of God,” said Peters. “As we continue to shine a light on Christ in The Gospel Project’s fourth chronological journey through Scripture, we know we can never exhaust the need to remind ourselves of the good news of Christ and celebrate His redemptive work in the world.”
In honor of the 10th anniversary of The Gospel Project, Lifeway is offering the first two months of the curriculum free to new subscribers. More information can be found at MinistryGrid.com/TGPFree.
Aaron Wilson is a writer for Lifeway Christian Resources.
About Lifeway Christian Resources
In operation since 1891, Lifeway Christian Resources is one of the leading providers of Christian resources, including Bibles, books, Bible studies, Christian music and movies, Vacation Bible School and church supplies, as well as camps and events for all ages. Lifeway is the world’s largest provider of Spanish Bibles. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Lifeway operates as a self-supporting nonprofit. For more information, visit Lifeway.com.