It only took us 9 months to put together our first Bible Study. It would of been 8 but we had to cancel the first one due to a birth in the family of the Pastor (Shepherd Temple is her name and she is gorgeous). Determining the format of the Bible Study was part of the delay. I was determined to not lecture and remind everyone that I went to Seminary and they didn't. But most of the models for studying the Bible assume that will happen. Another option would be to have smaller groups of 5-10 meeting regularly for Bible Study. That would work fine if there was a vast pool of people willing and able to lead Bible Studies, but that isn't the case. I could have spiritually strong-armed some people and told them that the "good" Christians eventually develop into "leaders" which always seems to mean that they lead a group of other aspiring "leaders", but that's a shortcut. And it usually leads to resentment when the "good" Christian realizes that the Pastor had plenty of time to ask for help but not so much time when they're asked for help. Besides, "leaders" in churches are usually people who like to talk. And people who like to talk make terrible leaders of Bible Studies. This includes Pastors.
With this in mind, we attempted to do something different. Word for Word is an interactive exploration of scripture. Ideally, I'll teach enough to offer some context for a particular verse but the remainder of the study is led by the participants. On Sunday night we used some improv drama to reenact the conflict between Jesus and Pharisees regarding taxes.Through our very amateur acting the ancient text came to life (see below). The situations were different for each of the three groups and included the sticky subject of ethanol subsidies for Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry, the controversy created by a prominent Dallas Pastor who said Mitt Romney belonged to a cult because he was Mormon, and the recent killing of a Muslim cleric who happened to be an American citizen.
The topics were serious but we laughed a lot. My only regret was that we didn't have a costume closet to dress up the skits. I can't speak for everyone, but for me the experience led to a child-like feeling of giddiness. If we believe that the word of God is living, and not merely a record of things that happened long ago in a world unlike ours, shouldn't our Bible Study be lively as well?
I don't know what we'll have in store for the next installment of Word for Word, but if you are eager to follow Jesus but don't know him really well, I'd suggest joining us. Costumes are optional!