by Laurie Oswald Robinson
Cindy Beecher and her husband, Bob, pastor at Beatrice (Neb.) Mennonite Church, had only been at the congregation for two months before they attended Western District Conference’s launch of the Year of the Bible last August.
Shortly after the conference Cindy Beecher began to sense a call to connect her passion for God’s Word with her passion to serve women at her new church. She wanted to transform her love for the Bible into a tool to help others grow.
This tool became a yearlong resource, Read Through the New Testament in One Year Bible Study and Devotional. More than a dozen women at her church have been meeting every Thursday in either morning or evening sessions to share their reflections on the study and to fellowship. And people across the conference are also invited to use the downloadable resource, found at www.yearofthebiblenetwork.org.
“It’s always been my conviction that if we want to experience the Spirit-filled and joy-filled life the Lord wants to give us, then we need to personally study and apply what he has to say,” she said. “I spent much time in prayer so as to be open to the Lord in helping me to create the questions that could encourage growth,” Beecher said. The goal was to lead all of us into a deeper intimacy with the Lord and into true change as his disciples.”
The study is set up in seven-day sections. For five days, one reads a portion of scripture; relates to a portion of scripture by answering questions; responds to a portion of scripture by journaling or writing a prayer to God; and remembers a portion of scripture by memorizing. And then for two days, participants reflect on the lessons they’ve learned and the memory verse they’ve been memorizing. This pattern will continue for one year.
“We as Christian women have a commonality around the Word of God,” she said. “We are different people who sometimes think differently and act differently because of different personalities and gifts. But when we come together around the Word, we begin to see real body life take place. Believers don’t escape pain and sorrow in this life. But this weekly gathering helps us offer each other care in a safe place.”
Participant Kay Wiens, longtime member of Beatrice Mennonite, said she appreciates the daily discipline as well as the weekly accountability and nurture. “The daily discipline of trying to be a better disciple is wonderful for me, ” she said.
“Not only are we having a new opportunity to grow in our relationship with God each day. Each week, we are also growing more closely to each other as we share and pray together. What I appreciate most about our Bible study is the fact that it provides an opportunity to read and study through the entire New Testament in a year.”