1. Basic Biblical Knowledge
Before our opportunity to begin this project, we had already embarked on a plan to increase knowledge of the Bible by making books available to all, both in the pews and by offering free Bibles to anyone who wished to take one home. We also offer paperback New Testaments in our Welcome Bags to first-time visitors.
Along with this, we engaged the community in “The 90-Day Bible Challenge” led by the Rector, who offered to lead all members in a quick read of each book of the Bible in three months, accompanied by a weekly large-group session to help make sense of context and questions about the readings. Sixty-six people took on the challenge, and most participated every week. The change in the knowledge and the hunger for more was remarkable, with at least a third of those same people attending more specific Wednesday evening Bible study classes in the following months.
2. Multiple Offerings
In addition to the Wednesday evening Bible study led by the Rector, we saw a need to offer other Bible studies in order to make access easier for different schedules and learning styles. In planning our Fall 2011 Adult Formation schedule, we focused on only Bible-based offerings so that we could reinforce the use of Scripture in all of our Formation classes, both for youth and adults.
Our Sunday offerings are “Route 66,” a basic Bible survey class for youth and adults, which offers a large group class plus age-appropriate small group time. We also offer an adult-level “Introduction to Christian Ethics” which is a school-year long program based on biblical readings, along with presentations by members about ethics in their careers and life experiences. We also offer a Sunday afternoon lay-led small group program focused on the Book of Acts.
Our Wednesday offerings include a new weekly group at Noon based on “E100” which has brought in some who are looking for fellowship as well as an opportunity to dwell in the Word. Wednesday evenings include a study of Thessalonians, and a group working on “LifeKeys,” a biblically-based curriculum for discovering one’s own spiritual gifts.
Attendance at all classes so far has been gratifying, and we continue to attract new participants.