Last year I started attending Bible Study Fellowship in Tulsa. I only made it to the last 4 weeks on the study of Moses, but I was hooked! I loved it! It is at a church where no one knows me as a minister's wife...except for the few that come from our church.
We recently started back up and we are studying the book of John. If you are not familiar with BSF, it is a great study. Believe it or not I like rules...organization...expectations...and sticking to them. That is of the big reasons I like going to BSF. What are the "rules" you ask? Well they aren't really "rules" but they help keep it on task.
When you arrive you must have your name tag on...why? So they can call you by name of course! It starts at exactly 9:15 sharp!!! We sit in the "sanctuary" and sing 2 hymns...yes they actually have hymnals at this church! WOW! I love love love our worship at our church it is very contemporary and brings you to the throne of God, but there is just something about grabbing that hymnal and turning to page... and singing all 4 verses of a hymn. It takes me back to when I was a kid and sat in those pews. Anyway...we sing and they say a few things and then we head to our groups.
Now about the Groups, I don't know a single person in my group...and I love that. Though I have a feeling by the end of our study I will have a great bond with these ladies. I love that they don't know I am a minister's wife. I feel like I am under cover or something..yeah..I'm just that weird ok! There is no pressure to lead it or be the one with the best answer. We are put in groups by the leaders of BSF. They pray over it and put us where God leads them. I have a sweet fellow red head as my leader. She is very much to the point and will call on you even when you are not making eye contact with her! The nerve! LOL! Our questions are tough girls! We can only use the bible and scriptures set for the week. No asking the husband or the commentaries for the answer. Just straight from the scriptures. We are going to spend the next 9 months breaking down John..verse by verse. I love it! I love learning more about God's word and hearing what others are saying also. Now the "rules in the groups are...nothing to personal...unless it is one of the questions...can't share where you go to church...can't name drop any commercials, products or anything. They keep it strictly about learning the Bible! And if anyone starts to turn the conversation away from that...they cut them off. I love it!
ASK....What is ASK you ask? It is the time at the end of the group when the leader tells us the prayer request that have been given to her that week. She takes the time each week to call each of us personally. At this time you can give her any prayer request you have and if something comes up you can simply call her anytime. Now...unlike most bible studies...you can't give prayer request right there...as many of us know..this can turn into a gossip session...a poor me session and into a huge discussion that takes us off track of our point in being there. So I love that it has to be done in advance and you can't turn it into an "all about me" session! Do I sound rude or unsympathetic? I am really sorry...I don't mean to do that honestly. I just get weary of going to bible studies and people taking time away from us studying God's word to pour out their issues in class. Yes...I think there is a time and a place for that. I love to pray and counsel people. It is a passion of mine. But I think there needs to be boundaries. @ 10:10 we are dismissed and head to back to the sanctuary for the "lecture".
We sing another hymn and then Karen...the leader speaks to us about the chapters we have studied that week. I promise...I feel like she always talks straight to me!! Her insight and direction about the scriptures are amazing! She is very wise and keeps it fun and spunky too. Now one of favorite things is...at 11:05...WE ARE DONE!! There is a time schedule and they stick strictly to it. We get our lessons and we are gone. And did I mention this is all free? They simply ask for donations when you can.
They have separate questions available for you to take home to do with your family. I am doing that this year. Our family each night is reading thru John and we are answering the few questions from the study as a family. I spoke about how I wanted to dig deeper with my kids the other day and this is one of the ways we are doing that. So I am excited to see what God is doing thru our family with studying John together. It's been great so far. I am praying we don't allow our schedule to get in the way of this.
Anyway...do you have a bible study you are going too? Let me know what you think about BSF. If you are interested in going, I would love to have you come with me! If you want to check out their website here.