Pick My Brain – The power of raising the bar

     by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation

Thirteen (and growing) WDC churches are “Reading through the Bible in 90 Days.”  Some are doing it in multiple classes, on multiple days of the week and multiple times during this Year of the Bible.  I stand amazed.

When we first provided an energetic overview of this curriculum at our Year of the Bible Launch in August 2013, (thanks to Laurie Regehr and Brenda Glanzer Lilliston from  Hope Mennonite Church!) we had NO idea that other congregations would take on this rigorous and personally demanding assignment.  But each day (yes, really) I hear comments about how powerful this experience has been for individuals and for whole congregations.  Everything from “I can’t believe that is in the Old Testament,” to “Thank goodness the New Testament is on the horizon,” to “I have never experienced God in this way.”

And now I wonder….is this what it feels like to have the Holy Spirit move through our churches?

I have also wondered…is this what happens when we “raise the bar?”

What if we challenge folks to be more, to do more for their own faith formation?  What if the very challenge of “Reading the Bible in 90 Days” is the ticket to success?  What if all along, folks just really wanted to be challenged, and not pampered?

Can we take some clues from the wildly successful Bible Reading programs for other aspects of Christian life?  What if all pastors challenged each household in each congregation to attend worship each Sunday of Lent?  Might we challenge the parents in our congregations to daily pray for their children?  Might we challenge our youth groups to memorize Matthew 5?

The bar is raised, the Spirit is moving!  Thanks be to God!