When I met with the Staff Parish Relations Committee to be introduced, I was delighted to hear about how involved New Covenant UMC is in bible study. It seems that the Disciple series has been a favorite which excites me because that means that there is a group in the church committed to long-term, in depth study. I will confess that I have most often used curriculum as a guide and followed where the Spirit lead with only a very loose tie to curriculum. The first time that I was part of a Disciple class, our teacher/leader had gone to classes teaching her how to teach Disciple and the importance of following the curriculum closely. While those early teacher might be disappointed in my own methods, I’ve never taught two Disciple classes that were exactly the same…not even close!
A number of years ago I took over the teaching of a regular Wednesday night Disciple class. They had already been through all the studies, but we redid a few and had a great time learning together. That class morphed into a women’s bible study so one year we decided to study the women of the bible. We explored from a feminist and womanist perspective and learned to look through a new set of lens. It only took us two years to finish the Old Testament and one year in the New Testament (it’s shorter).
I’ve also lead a pastor’s bible study for the last three years. It began with us taking a single book and doing a verse by verse study. Only took us two years to get through Mark! We began on John but something pulled on me…let’s call it the Spirit…and we completely changed directions. Now we meet to discuss the sermon from the previous week, study the scripture for the upcoming Sunday’s sermon, and pray over the preacher. This study and the people participating in it have become very important to me as they stir my creative juices each week. Occasionally I’m sure they wonder if they wrote my sermon! Some weeks they likely wonder if I was in the same room with them during our study. Some weeks I strive to explore possible answers to the questions to which they were seeking answers. This is one study that I hope to begin at New Covenant on Tuesday mornings. It has become a part of my process of preparation to preach and one of the ways for more people to participate in worship at a different level. We’ll wait for September since that seems to be when these things seem to begin. More on that later. I’m eager to hear about what YOU would like to study as we move forward.
Here in Mabank, the packing continues. Does it sound like we’re pack rats? While we pack, we are also cleaning out. This week there will likely be even more waiting for trash day! Our closing date was bumped a week due to a late appraisal. Don’t know if we’ll have time to paint the girls’ rooms before moving in. School is now completed for the year out here. Teacher work week will soon be complete and Andy will also be finished. The time is drawing near. Goodbyes are being said as we prepare to step forward into the future that we will spend with New Covenant.