Where Faith and Life Connect

faithlife_logo_cmyk_hToday’s interview is with Mark Prim, the Southeast Michigan Coalition for Men’s Discipleship area director for Man in the Mirror ministries. Prim helps pastors and leaders establish an intentional strategy to reach and disciple men.

How does your family use Faithlife together?

My two older sons started reading the Bible when they were six and seven. They began by reading small portions of the New Testament at a time. Three years later, they’ve read through the New Testament twice and Psalms once.

About two years ago, they both bought Kindles with money they saved from Christmas. The first app I installed was Faithlife. I created a family reading plan so we could all read the Bible at the same pace, and so my wife and I could help answer questions the boys have. With the reading plan, we can be sure we’re familiar with the passages they read so we’re ready to talk about them.

We have recently begun using Faithlife for family devotions, reading the book Experiencing God at Home Day by Day. The boys read a portion of their Bible using Faithlife, then we read the devotional, and they finish with some quiet time of reading and praying.

Why do Faithlife groups work so well for Bible studies and small groups? What features does your group use together?

Faithlife works well for small groups and Bible studies because all members are able to read the same passages and follow along the same reading plan. Not only this, but when members have questions while reading, they can post the question to the group or specifically to the leader, without waiting until the next meeting. The ability to load documents for the group to read is also a great tool when there are additional resources or information for further study. The reading plan and documents tab are the two tools we use the most.

Using Faithlife for a small group can be a little tricky at first. Since not everyone has a smartphone or tablet, it can become a divider when we try to use it as our main tool. The second challenge is that we must use the first session or two just to familiarize everyone with the functionality and power of this free study tool. Not everyone learns at the same pace, so this can become a point of stress, and it takes a little more work when someone new joins our group. However, we can overcome both of these challenges. In my experience, it’s worth it to use Faithlife for small group studies.

When individuals take the time to learn and use Faithlife, studying the Bible together truly becomes a community effort. When people have questions, thoughts, or concerns, there’s no need to wait until the next weekly or monthly meeting. If the people in your small group want to study God’s Word, and they are open to doing it from a digital source, Faithlife is a free resource that’s worth using.

What’s your favorite feature in Faithlife?

I like Faithlife as a whole. It’s a great tool for the kingdom of God! That being said, I think my favorite feature is the reading plan because it reaches across all platforms. If all the features were available across all platforms, I think Faithlife would be more widely accepted and used by churches and small groups.

Many parents are afraid to let their kids create social-media accounts. What makes Faithlife different, and why do you let your sons use it?

Faithlife doesn’t have all the foul language and advertisements. It also doesn’t have the “freedom” that other social media outlets have—the parameters of use are much more controllable. I set up and maintain my kids’ accounts.

One reason I let my sons use Faithlife is because they can study the Bible together. And we are a closed group, so no one else can join unless my wife and I approve them. Another reason is because it makes a great tool for discipleship. I can create specific reading plans based on subjects we need to discuss, and then they read not just for devotional time, but also to gain knowledge and understanding. As they get older, I will teach them more and more about how to use Faithlife.

What does Faithlife do for you that other communication tools don’t?

Faithlife provides a way for us to interact with God’s Word together. Other communication tools allow you to post different verses back and forth, but with Faithlife we can highlight verses and make community notes that our whole family can see.

Why do you think churches should use Faithlife together?

Like I said before, it makes a great tool for discipleship. With our fast-paced world and our ever-increasing reliance on technology and all things digital, this is a perfect tool to study God’s Word together. If used the right way, Faithlife can also help someone quickly catch up if they miss a small group session.

To learn more about Prim’s ministry, you can head to ManintheMirror.org.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to join Faithlife, download the free Faithlife Study Bible, and start studying Scripture in community today.

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Comments

  1. Ryan, perhaps you could clarify if this Faithlife on a computer as well as a smartphone or tablet, since a lot of senior citizens are at the computer level only.

  2. Good point, Bill. Faithlife is designed to be used on all three, but right now your computer is the farthest ahead. You can use the reading plan across all Faithlife applications, as Mark mentions in the interview. A computer can do everything you want in Faithlife, the apps for smartphones and tablets just help you stay even more connected, since they let you access your Faithlife community from anywhere. Does that help?

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