The Journey 116: Go Deeper, Grow Deeper
Read: Acts 2: 38-47
Community Bible Experiences: A bible reading experience called as “ Community Bible Experience” is revolutionizing people in this part of the continent. Community Bible experience is all about three things : It all about the Complete Bible, Understanding the context of the Bible, and Experiencing the truths of the Bible in the community. Church’s that have a small and large membership are using this method, this unique way to help people to connect back with the truths of the Word of God. Recently the news agencies reported that Spring Lake Wesleyan Church in Spring Lake, Michigan, used this community bible experience in their church. Approximately 900 members of the church studied and read together the entire New Testament in two months. Both the leaders of the church Rev. Dan Ward, Rev. Paul Yoshonis, lead pastor at Spring Lake, are very happy they had envisioned this programme so that people could study Scripture in a small group setting. According to Rev. Ward “it was amazing to see people diving in and it was incredible to see God’s Word come alive in the lives of everyone engaged in the group.” Rev. Ward also believes those involved in the Community Bible Experience are allowing the Bible to have an impact on their lives like never before. I think this is the type of experience that I feel we need to have in our Marthoma Church too. People coming together in groups and digging deep into the Word of God and having an impact of the study on their life and life experience. This is what transformation in parish is all about. This week we were meditating on the theme “ Transformation in my Parish” based on the portion from Acts 2: 38-47. The whole portion of Acts 2 describes the beginning of the early church and how the early church grew in the faith living and also as a witness to the society. Though I had said in one of my earlier devotions, that it may not be very easy to replicate everything in the same manner that the early church did, today in the church, there are certain things that could be replicated. One thing that could be replicated is the fellowship among the believers and coming together to learn the Word of God through the teaching of the apostles. This was a time when the Word of God was communicated orally, and therefore every new believer had to be very committed so that the time that they spent would be fruitful and helps them to grow in the knowledge of the Lord. One of the things that we all need to seriously think as a church is whether we the members of the church are serious about the studying of the word of God both personally and as a group. I believe there are lot of individuals and family who are still committed to the reading and the studying the Word of God both individually and in the context of family. But can we do this study as a prayer group, or a group of five or ten families?. When the study of the Word of God declines, that is where I believe the spiritual decline of the mission and witness of the church and also its leaders and members decline and then church instead of witnessing to the community starts stinking. Hence let us take a corporate decision to connect with the Word of God not only individually but also in a corporate manner. Let us go deeper in the Word of God and also grow deeper in the faith and knowledge of our Lord. That is when transformation happens in our parish.
Whether a parish is witnessing or stinking depends on its connection with the Word.