Leadership Course

The R.E.A.L. Approach to Spiritual Transformation

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Course Overview

You’re called to help people grow in their relationship with Jesus. But the truth is, conventional ministry approaches often have little or no impact on spiritual growth...and that’s discouraging. Well, get ready to be delighted because this training helps you explore how to create spiritual transformation in any ministry setting. You’ll master Group’s pioneering R.E.A.L. strategy (Relational, Experiential, Applicable, and Learner-based) to build and deepen spiritual growth in children, youth, and adults. You’ll gain practical tools to create a highly engaging, transformational ministry that leads to deeper spiritual growth and discipleship.

Course Outline

Getting Started

Discover how to navigate your online course, get connected to our ministry network, and download a copy of the Course Notes.


Thom and Joani Schultz welcome you as you begin your journey to make your ministry R.E.A.L. Gain from their wisdom and learn practical tools to be a more effective leader.

Module 1. Getting R.E.A.L.

Take a pre-course ministry assessment to better understand your current ministry practices. After the course, and once you’ve implemented R.E.A.L. strategies, retake the assessment and notice greater ministry impact.

Module 2. Relational

God created us to learn within the context of relationships. Understand how people learn best and the importance of relationships for personal transformation and deepening faith.

Module 3. Experiential

What we experience through discussion and action sticks with us longer than what we hear or read. Discover how to create a ministry experience to increase retention and draw people closer to Jesus. You’ll receive an experience to practice with your ministry group and then learn how to create your own.

Module 4. Applicable

Knowing about God isn’t an end in itself. What really matters is how that knowledge changes everyday lives. Learn how to make your ministry applicable to those you lead.

Module 5. Learner-Based

We measure success not by how much information we present but by how much people learn. You’ll understand what learner-based ministry looks like and the characteristics of 21st century learners that define how we do ministry.

Module 6. Ready?

You’ll be challenged to step out of your comfort zone and review action steps to move your ministry forward.

Course Outcomes

U Discover

The concept of R.E.A.L. learning and how it contributes to deeper spiritual transformation.

How the learning environment impacts student engagement.

The formula for developing meaningful questions that cause critical thinking.

Biblical examples of how Jesus taught his followers.

U Will

Understand the unique and innovative R.E.A.L. approach to spiritual transformation in ministry.

About the Instructors

Thom Schultz

Thom Schultz is the president and founder of Group Publishing and Lifetree Café. He’s the author of many books, including Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore and Why Nobody Wants to Be Around Christians Anymore, and he’s the director of the documentary film When God Left the Building. Thom’s blog, HolySoup.com, challenges the status quo.

Joani Schultz

Joani Schultz is Group Publishing’s Chief Creative Officer. She oversees the creation of Group’s resources, training, and services for children’s ministry, youth ministry, adult ministry, and church leadership. She’s the author of numerous books, including Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore and Why Nobody Wants to Be Around Christians Anymore. She leads the teams that create Group’s Bible curriculum, vacation Bible school programs, books, magazines, conferences, music, and trainings.

6 Modules
Thom and Joani Schultz