Imagine that a church of 100 people meets once a week for one hour of Bible study. That’s 100 person/hours per week devoted to study.
Say those groups meet 50 weeks/year—very dedicated groups, I know, but most Sunday school classes are.
That’s 5000 person/hours per year devoted to study.
Now imagine if they did that for 20 years?
That’s 100,000 person/hours devoted to study. I know to some of you this will sound crazy, but there are A LOT of people in our churches who have been meeting 50 times a year for 20 years or more for Bible study.
Studying the Bible is good. Regular attention to scripture and group discussion about how to apply scripture’s lessons to our daily lives is incredibly important.
But what if we stopped just talking about what the Bible teaches—what scripture means and how to apply it—and started doing what it says? What if we moved from Bible study groups to Bible doing groups?
As a church, we already devote countless hours to local missions projects that allow us to live out the gospel in our community. What if we saw our HERITAGE Home Groups as a chance to expand our reach?
That’s what we’re going to attempt at HERITAGE this fall. After a successful first year of HERITAGE Home Groups, we’re going to see if we can mobilize our home groups as communities of action to move beyond our classrooms and living rooms and out into the community as witnesses for Christ.
In January, you identified specific issues about which you are passionate and that you said you would like to see your church address. The issues you identified include:
- Opioid Crisis/Drug Abuse
- Childhood Hunger
- Elder Care
- Animal Cruelty
- Health Care
- Pay Day Lending Abuses
- Prison/Industrial Complex
We are blessed to have church members with strong community ties and professional expertise that will help us as we seek to address some of these issues. And we won’t have to do it alone. As a Cooperative Baptist church, we have access to the resources of CBF Advocacy, an arm of CBF Global that is specifically designed to support local congregations as they seek to make a difference in their communities.
In our HERITAGE Home Groups this fall, we will say even more clearly than we ever have that we expect that what we learn in scripture will lead to action in our world. And our action this fall will be guided by four basic questions for each issue we engage.
1. What is the extent of the problem in our community?
2. What does the Bible teach about the people affected and our responsibility to them?
3. What can we DO to alleviate immediate suffering related to the problem right now?
4. What can we DO to support systemic change to eliminate the problem in the future?
We’ll begin to preview these new opportunities for our HERITAGE Home Groups at our August 2nd FEAST night. You’ll have the chance to begin your work together in September. But you can start now by praying for these groups, the work they’ll do, and the communities they’ll seek to serve and influence.
As e move from Bible study to Bible doing, we take our cue from scripture. Here’s what James says about putting our faith into practice:
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
See you Sunday.