One of things I loved the most when I was a pastor was to conduct Bible Study groups. The excitement and interaction as we threw questions and suggestions back and forth would lead us into a greater understanding of the kindness and wonder of God. I remember one group that often had as many as twenty-five people in it, and as a result we would often have multiple views on any one scripture. What I loved about that group was at the end of the night, whether or not we all saw eye-to-eye, we experienced God’s love and unity in Christ. Though a diverse group, young and old, conservative and progressive, we never let status stand in the way of friendship and love. I guess, looking back, I can honestly say we all grew as Christians as well as in knowledge of the topics and books of the Bible we covered. But, what we learned the most was to accept each other as family. We looked out for each other, encouraged the hurting, supported financially people who were facing hard times; we were a community. I remember standing in the kitchen and talking for ages with people who just didn’t want to leave. There was a feeling of welcome in the hosts home that made it safe to talk and be honest in our understanding of not only the Bible, but of life.
I grew a great deal from that group. I learned loyalty, not to value my opinion over others, and that I didn’t have to have the last word in a conversation or discussion. I learned that Jesus gave us some of the greatest lessons about His character from some of the folk who were the humblest people in the group. These people spoke rarely, but when they spoke we listened because we were in for a treat. I miss that group and I thought that I would never have the opportunity to be involved in another study like it. But I have hope!
For the first time in many years I have the spiritual desire to once attempt another group, and that’s why I’m writing about it in this blog. I don’t know where the group will meet, or who will host it or even who might attend. So, I would like your prayers about this study that God would lead and open up the hearts of people who might like to attend. I simply plan to study the book of John and let the Spirit lead. There’s no bait-and-switch, no hooks, no hidden agenda, just an open honest study of the wonders of God.
I think what encouraged me to step out and attempt to put together this study group is the feeling of companionship I feel with many of you who contact me by email about the blog and the discussions we have about different aspects of what I’ve written. And the comments that some of you leave always give me encouragement and stir me to dip deeper. I know I have grown because of all your feedback and words of encouragement. Some of you are long time friends who remind me of those face-to-face talks that we probably spent way too much time talking. Many others are new friends that I have just met, through the blog, and add to the richness of my Christian journey. What I’m trying to say, in my awkward way, is thanks to all of you who take the time to read my thoughts and understanding of the Bible verses I try to highlight each time. You have given me the encouragement to step out and allow God to push me a little further along in my journey.
I will keep you posted as things progress. One last thought, if any of you are currently involved in a group and excited about it please leave a comment and let me know what is making it work for you. Your comment might just be the thing that encourages someone else to get involved.