I met with the leaders of our six home Bible groups last night. We are now in month seven of eight, and not a single person has dropped out of the groups.
What touched me last night were group leader reports of deepening relationships. Group members are starting to pray with and for one another. People are getting together between group meetings.
One of my favorite reports came from a woman who said, "I'm really getting to know NNN - actually, I've known him for years but now we're really starting to know each other."
Churches can be places where people are comfy and nice with one another. We can "go to services" and have coffee while talking about the weather or whatever.
But studying the Bible opens up hearts to deeper things. Talking about insights, doubts, hopes, fears and all of life's serious matters, with Holy Scripture to guide and inform the discussion, is transformative.
I'm not talking about a "forum" where "Father" blathers on and people snooze. Nor am I describing an open gab fest where people share their pre-formed opinions and are not challenged by the Word. My part is to conform my life to Biblical truth, then equip the group leaders with detailed insight into the passages under study. I also coach them in leadership and pastoral issues emerging in their groups. Then, with faith in Christ, I turn them loose to open up the Word of God with their people.
Along with depth, we are getting passion. Several of the leaders have come to me (actually nagged me in a most rewarding way) to open up "what's next" after the current study ends.
Glory to God. I give thanks today for "The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the Word of God containing all things necessary to salvation." And I give thanks to God for giving me these wonderful group leaders, and for giving them their wonderful groups, finding deeper and more passionate life in God's Word.