The Essentials

Designed for Discipleship

The small group environment is one of the most essential and practical environments in which discipleship occurs, and wise group leaders approach Bible study with intentionality. Each study, whether text-only or video-enhanced, provides a consistent experience for generating transformational conversation.


About the writers

Writers for are seminary-trained, degree-laden professionals from LifeWay Christian Resources who put in just as much time as you would to create a study (maybe more).

Laura Magness is a content specialist for LifeWay’s Discipleship in Context and She has a B.A. in English and a minor in Religion from Samford University, and she has a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Drew Dixon is a discipleship strategist for LifeWay’s Discipleship in Context and Drew is also the editor-in-chief of and writes for WORLD Magazine, Think Christian, Christ and Pop Culture, and Paste Magazine. He has a B.A. in Communications from West Texas A&M University and an MDIV in Christian Ministry from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Ken Braddy has led church education ministries for 20 years and is a veteran conference leader, speaker, blogger on groups (, and co-author of several books on group ministry. Through his work at LifeWay, he and his teams are responsible for the Bible study materials used by millions of people weekly. He and his wife teach a weekly Bible study at their church using Bible Studies for Life.

Rob Tims is a team leader and discipleship strategist for the custom content team at LifeWay. He is the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt. He writes frequently at about rightly understanding and applying the Bible according to its context, and he enjoys teaching and preaching the Bible. He is an associate professor of Liberty University Online. Rob has degrees from Furman University, Samford University, and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Daniel Davis serves as the content editor for The Gospel Project for Adults and student pastor at Edgefield Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn. He earned a Masters of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Dr. Lynn H. Pryor has developed and written Bible studies for LifeWay for more than 20 years. He currently leads the team that produces adult resources for Bible Studies for Life. A graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the University of Houston, he has previously pastored and served churches in Texas.

G. Dwayne McCrary is the team leader for the adult and young adult Explore the Bible teams, leads two weekly Bible study groups for his church, and is an adjunct professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to coming to LifeWay, he served for more than 20 years on church staffs in Texas and Tennessee. Dwayne has degrees from Dallas Baptist (BA), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MARE), and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (DEdMin).

Jeremy Maxfield is a writer and lead content editor for the adult discipleship team in the LifeWay Groups Ministry division. A graduate of the University of Georgia’s School of Journalism and of Beeson Divinity School, Jeremy has a passion for applying theological truth to daily life. For more than 10 years, he has been serving churches and ministries in every life stage through publishing, freelance writing, and pastoral staff positions. Jeremy and his family are actively involved at Fairview Church in Lebanon, Tenn., where he helps lead their Community Group ministry. Follow him on Twitter: @jrmaxfield.

Reid Patton is a Content Editor for the Custom Content Team at LifeWay Christian Resources, where he produces biblical small group studies for Discipleship In Context and Reid has a BA in theatre from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is currently pursuing his masters at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the thankful husband of Kristen and proud father of Ceile and serves with the Life Group leadership team at the Church at Station Hill in Spring Hill, Tennessee. In his free time, Reid likes reading, watching basketball, and going to record stores. You can find him on Twitter @jreidpatton.


Philosophy is a web-based tool built on God’s promise that His Word is transformative in the hearts of His people. This tool enables a personalized approach to Bible study for every church, regardless of their philosophy and context. In

The content is rooted in Scripture because God’s Word transforms.

  • For the Word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
  • Every study was written by a well-trained and theologically educated team member so you know the content is trustworthy.
  • Every study provides the group with a consistent discipleship experience (3-4 pages of content to help you introduce, study, and apply the Scripture), because the Bible must be the center of the small group in order for life change to occur.
  • Every study is built to engage the group in discussion so that God’s Word might be applied in real life situations.

Shouldn’t you have a discerning eye on the material your groups are studying?

The studies are customizable because every group is unique.

  • But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part (Ephesians 4:15-16).
  • Every group must grow into her own part in the whole Church.
  • Every group operates in a unique context with a unique approach to the mission of making disciples.
  • Every study can be customized—from the look and appearance of the study to the content itself.
  • The library of content is constantly growing because even though the Word never changes, the needs of groups do.
  • Any member can request that a biblically-based study be written by the team and added to the library as a part of their membership.

Shouldn’t you help your people focus on what is strategically important for your church?

The tool is simple because the task of discipleship is urgent.

  • Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15).
  • We must commit to redeeming the time we have been given.
  • To obey the command of Jesus, making disciples must be our highest priority.
  • Memberships to are not based on church size, but on the number of groups engaging the content, making it affordable for virtually any group or church.
  • is easy to use and frees up countless hours for one-on-one ministry in the church while giving members confidence that biblical content is provided for groups in a customizable fashion.

Shouldn’t you make as much time as possible to make disciples?