Living like they believe

A baker, an entrepreneur, a radio personality and a sculptor -- they are all ordinary Christians pondering how God is transforming their struggles and calling them into new life. Get to know them and explore their vocations, daily lives and redemption stories through small group lesson plans that include films, Scripture study and practices.


Meet Ella Russell, Joshua Bingaman, Jillian “JJ” Simmons and Anthony Suber. Like you, they are navigating challenge, suffering and mess in their lives. They are seeking to understand how God is at work in their daily lives. They are discerning God’s call on their lives.

Their honest and relatable personal stories, designed for small groups to explore over four weeks, invite participants to wonder: How are we called to live our faith? How is God making all things new? How do some of the practices of our faith, such as baptism and communion, invite us into ongoing discernment?

The stories of Ella, Joshua, Jillian and Anthony are told as visual poems, a unique form of filmmaking that combines creative videography, storytelling and music. This evocative style is unlike other available resources for Christians seeking to study Scripture together.

Three four-session curriculum tracks allow you to choose the thematic focus that best meets the need of your group of high school youth, college students or adults. Each session features one of the films, Scripture study, and creative practices for participants to do both as a group and on their own.

“Vocation” challenges groups to pay attention to how God calls us in ordinary and mundane ways and how we can live into the fullness of God’s call.

“Divine innovation” leads groups to discover how God takes the old and makes it new in Scripture and in our lives.

“The end” provokes groups to think a bit differently about Christian theology and God’s redemption story -- not simply as tenets or a collection of one-time events but as means of understanding how the eternal things of God are a part of our everyday lives.

This curriculum has been designed in partnership with the Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation, a yearlong program that invites high school students to live in Christ and to think deeply about being Christian. It combines a weeklong residency on the Duke University campus with a year of continuing mentorship, practice and online community.

Contributors to this curriculum are Laura AddisDominique D. GilliardKelly RyanMarlon F. Hall and Alaina Kleinbeck.

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Grants and fellowships to serve the church

The Louisville Institute offers grant and fellowship programs to bridge the church and the academy and enrich the life of the church in North America. Applications are now open for six programs in 2025:

  • Pastoral Study Project 
  • Grant for Researchers 
  • First Book Grant for Scholars of Color 
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship 
  • Dissertation Fellowship 
  • Doctoral Fellowship
Learn More