Interview with Group Publishing
Whereas the first two publishers had a challenge to narrow down the Bible to specific sections of the Bible, Group Publishing narrows it down even further. The Schultzâ€™s strategy for teaching says, â€œAt Group Publishing we use a â€œone lesson, one pointâ€ approach in the childrenâ€™s Bible curriculum we create. The kids often spend an entire hour delving into one short Bible passage. And our loudest critics cry, â€˜Thereâ€™s not enough Bible!â€™ They believe if kids would just trudge through umpteen verses per hour, then theyâ€™d really learn.â€
Their point is that oftentimes learning does not take place, nor is the lesson remembered, because too much information was covered in a given period of time. In an interview with Danny Fisher at Group Publishing the question was asked, â€œHow do you determine which parts of the Bible to teach in your curriculum?â€
Fisher explained that they have several different types of products that focus on various topics so churches can choose which topic or topics they would like to cover in a period of time.Â He also explained that all of their curriculum have scope and sequences, and stories are selected based upon the age and need of the church. Group determines these needs through interviews and focus groups. They have one particular product that â€œcovers all the major biblical stories in three years.â€
The interviewer then asked, â€œWho makes the choices of what to teach and what to leave out?â€ Fisher explained that Group Publishing follows the Revised Common Lectionary. He said, â€œWe follow it about ninety percent of the time.â€ During the summer months they add in more Old Testament stories because they feel the Revised Common Lectionary is weak in covering the Old Testament.
The interviewer then asked, â€œWho makes the choices of what to cover in the summer months when you do not follow the Revised Common Lectionary?â€ Fisher responded by saying, â€œThe curriculum you are referring to was written over ten years ago, and Iâ€™m not sure how they determined which of the Old Testament stories to teach.â€ He went on emphasize that â€œevery major Bible story is covered in three years.â€ Fisher also shared that Groupâ€™s materials were moving away from dated to non-dated materials to give churches more freedom of choice in the selection of teaching materials.
Whereas Daleâ€™s and LifeWayâ€™s choices regarding biblical material selection was through a corporate independent process, Group relies upon church tradition and an already established liturgical lectionary for most of its teaching choices. While Group still has made some independent choices, the corporation, for the most part, still relies on past decisions to support how they move forward. The Revised Common Lectionary was not developed until 1983, so in all three interviews, there is no mention of church history, the early church or even biblical references as to an outline for what material should be covered in a given period of time.
More information about Group Publishing can be found at http://www.group.com/
 Thom Shultz and Joani Schultz, Why Nobody Learns Much of Anything At Church (Loveland, Colorado: Group Publishing, 1996), 66.
 Information obtained for this section were from a personal interview with Danny Fisher of Group Publishing, January 5, 2009.Â Fisher is the Sunday School Childrenâ€™s Ministry Curriculum Representative at Group.