I've had the pleasure of hanging out a bit with my Calvary Chapel buddy Andy. He's always encouraging me with his passion for the Bible and sharing the Bible with others. I think we have a lot to learn from Andy, I think sometimes we've given up on Bible Studies and the result is that many of our people simply do not have a good grasp of scripture. I hope this post will encourage you to think again about running Bible Studies in your congregations.
Frank asked me to share our experience in using Bible Studies to see both outreach and the church grow here in Ottawa.
My wife and I moved to Ottawa in May of 2004, and quite frankly, we had no other tactic for starting a church other than starting a Bible Study. God was gracious to us and opened doors for us to get in front of some small groups of people and just simply read the Bible and try to explain it's truths and apply them to our lives.
Maybe I could share some things that would we learned in doing that in different environments.
First - No one else is doing it. We found that there was a huge appetite among Christians and non-Christians to have someone be willing to go through a book in the Bible and explain and answer questions. There was a lady we met, who told me months after being a part of one of the Bible Studies, how she had been praying for years for God to send someone to come and simply explain the Scriptures.
Second - God honours His Word, and the Spirit will confirm the Word with signs and wonders. I've had the glorious privilege of praying with people to receive Christ after a Bible study. I've seen God heal hearts, comfort minds, give faith, hope, heal cynicism through just simply sharing, systematically through the Bible.
Third - there's more than one way to do it. I've done it where we all sit in a room and we hold all the questions until the end and we are dismissed. I've done it where people jump in with comments and questions, and I've done it where I give an overview of the passage and we split up into groups, with different translations, even other languages, and answer questions in the text together. I've done it in rehabs, half-way houses, homes, restaurants, coffee shops, business training rooms, university lounges, cottages, boats, cars, parks and back porches.
Lastly, it's incredibly effective. Some of my staff today came from a Bible study that I led at a half-way house for guys in drug and alcohol recovery. It's mind-blowing to me to see these guys so tremendously effective in ministry today, they are leading worship, preaching, teaching, serving, praying and evangelizing right next to me today. How could I have known the amazing fruit that would come from those very humble environments, with guys that their families and friends had long abandoned, and we just simply opened up the Bible and looked in it together, picking up where we left off the week before.
Frankly, I don't know what else Christians should do when they get together, other than break open this beautiful book. Jesus said: "My words are spirit, and they are life to a person's whole being" (John 6:63).
May the Lord bless you as you serve Him.
Andy Falleur, Calvary Fellowship of Ottawa