by Laurie Oswald Robinson
Since Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church (AMC) began the “Reading the Bible in 90 Days” challenge, the scriptures have been shared at coffee breaks, sports events, supper tables, hair salons and car dealerships. Comments about the readings are even finding their way onto Facebook, said Hope Greiser Graber, youth pastor.
This social sharing of spiritual insights is one of the best surprises of the experience, said members of the AMC pastoral staff. In fall 2013, the pastors invited the congregation in Goessel, Kan., to consider embarking on this challenge. The church would consolidate all its adult Sunday school groups into two intergenerational classes for perspective and encouragement. And the weekly readings would help shape Sunday morning worship.
The congregation began the challenge Jan. 26. On April 27, the church will celebrate its culmination of the challenge with a worship service and fellowship meal. In the meantime, the pastors are rejoicing at the growing community-wide fascination with the biblical narrative.
“People are saying they are surprised by what they are reading, because they are reading it as an overview, rather than in bits and pieces. It suddenly is a complete story and that is giving people an entirely different perspective and appreciation,” said Linda Ewert, Associate Pastor of Christian Formation and Pastoral Care.
The challenge is also serving to unify the congregation in an era of less cohesion as a group, said Pastor Steve Schmidt. “There aren’t many things we do together anymore except for Sunday morning worship and MCC. The Bible is our common book, and Scripture is our base for life, and it is fitting that we are sharing it together.” For more information, go to: www.yearofthebiblenetwork.org.