As we discussed what to do with that class many themes came about but as I continue to process the discussion it seems one major theme resulted, encouragement. Some find encouragement in Bible study, some in prayer, some in testimonials, and others in various other things. It also seems that providing a meal would be a good step for providing fellowship, encouragement, and help with those families that are time bound on Wednesday evenings. There may not be a silver bullet in all of this to enliven the people or grow the numerical group, but I think the discussion and the suggestions proved something to me that I have long thought.
In the tradition of protestantism that I am affiliated with (Churches of Christ) we tend to make every meeting time about studying the Bible. There isn't anything wrong with studying the Bible. And in fact, my tradition has been pretty good at it and I appreciate that piece of our heritage. However, when I read the gospels I cannot help but see that there is much more going on in the life of Jesus than just him teaching and others studying scrolls. Yes, Jesus is Rabbi. He is a teacher. He also through relationship helped others not just learn about God, but experience Him as well.
Our gatherings should be more than just academies of learning. They should be like the first church and Jesus' example of being communities that are experiencing God together. Some err on the side of using earth to cram for Heaven's final exam. I want to err on the side of living for Jesus and experiencing His love. I personally want to use my time on Earth to proclaim with my life who Jesus is and live out the same principles he lived while here on Earth. It doesn't make learning wrong, no, in fact it simply fulfills the learning that needs to be done.
I look forward to what Wednesday evenings will become at our congregation. I truly enjoy living in community with other followers of Jesus and growing in our response to the Almighty.