Dr. David Platt is the pastor of a huge church in Birmingham and the author of a recent bestselling book, Radical. (If you're a believer and haven't read this book, you need to. It's wonderful: challenging and inspiring.) In that book, he describes meeting with pastors of underground churches in Asia and their begging him to teach them about the Bible -- and the teaching sessions lasting for hours on end, for as many days as he could give them. They were so desperately hungry for the Word and for training in leading their people.
Upon returning to his comfortable, Americanized mega-church, he wondered if they could have the same hunger, so he started having occasional six-hour teaching sessions, going through the basics of the faith as found in the Word. A thousand people showed up for the first session, and they've done at least twelve more.
Here's why I mention this: these lessons are online for anyone to see, right here. They call it "Secret Church", in honor of fellow believers who have to meet in secret. Each session includes four hours worth of teaching -- you can watch it, listen to it, read the transcript, download the extensive fill-in-the-blank notes (with empty or filled-in blanks) . . . and it's all free. Really, really excellent teaching.
I just got done listening to session four on "Who Is God" (not all four hours at once -- about a half hour at a time). It was SO good. Yes, I technically "knew" all of this . . . but we tend to discuss the character of God as it comes to us in scripture -- in pieces, a little bit at a time. To have it all laid out in one fell swoop like that was amazing.
And I kept thinking of unbelieving friends I have who would actually enjoy this. Friends who have genuine respect and curiosity about faith, who want to understand how we believers think. These lessons would do that.
Dr. Platt is an amazing young teacher. Whether you're a believer or not, you should check out the Secret Church website. It's summer -- a great season to devote some time to learning something new. :)