During opening worship July 4 at Western District Conference’s (WDC) annual assembly in Waxahachie, Texas, five Mennonite pastors did in one hour what took millennia for writers of the books of the Bible to do – share God’s redemption story.

In a tag-team sermon, the pastors celebrated WDC’s culmination of its Year of the Bible (YOB) by surveying Genesis through Revelation in light of the assembly theme, “God With Us: Patient and Persistent.”

They also shared how they and their congregations learned more about God’s patience and persistence this past year by reading the Bible in 90 days, doing a Sunday sermon series covering the entire biblical story and choosing 12 scriptures that guide congregational identity and growth.

These are only some of the vast riches unearthed during this past year, said Marlene Bogard, WDC’s Minister of Christian Formation and Resource Library Director. She set YOB in motion by calling together a planning team that launched YOB in August 2013.

Since then she’s heard countless stories of how men have brought Bibles on golf weekends, wives and husbands have spent winter evenings reading the Bible, families have played Bible games and pastors have tackled pesky biblical passages.

“The Year of the Bible was a dream that grew wings and flew off into uncharted and imaginative territory,” she said. “Our planning team prayed that some folks in some congregations might try some things. But the Spirit led many people and pastors in many congregations to engage in the Scriptures in many creative and formative ways. Thanks be to God!”