We all agree that it is important. We keep our programmes running. But we rarely stop to reflect, evaluate and renew. Scripture engagement is usually not put on our agenda – the topic is not urgent enough.
But maybe it is urgent. Scripture engagement will not automatically remain strong in IFES if we just keep doing what we have always been doing. We need to identify and address the challenges of today if we want this generation of students to love, study, live and share God’s Word.
The Mexican movement stopped to do a mini-consultation in 2012. This one-day consultation brought together 27 staff, students and volunteers. The programme consisted of four sessions:
_Living in the Word. How can we integrate listening and responding to God’s Word in our own lives? If we want to strengthen Scripture engagement in our movements, we need to start with ourselves.
_Building up Convictions. We often assume that our students have certain convictions, but experience tells us otherwise. What do they think about the Bible and how strong is its impact on their lives? Do students go to the Bible when reflecting on current issues such as sexuality, values, injustice? How can we strengthen this?
_Discovering Opportunities. In this creative and interesting session, each participant shared one experience or idea that worked well in their group.
_The Way Forward. Concrete steps were identified for after the consultation.
Each session lasted two hours and involved both time to work in small groups and time to share and discuss the results in the plenary. The participants prepared for the consultation by reflecting on the report of the global IFES Scripture Engagement consultation and by bringing one idea to share.
Through the consultation, challenges were identified, new ideas shared and many staff decided to put a focus on Scripture engagement in their ministry. Some plans for the future are:
- to address global issues based on Scripture;
- to promote public and creative ways of engaging Scripture at university;
- to study (whole) books of the Bible at all conferences – from different parts of Scripture;
- to develop a national network which continues to work on strengthening Scripture engagement.
For more details, you can contact Ana Miriam Peralta, regional staff with COMPA Mexico and co-leader of the consultation: anamiriam (at) compa.mx.
There are other ways to stop and reflect. Last year, the IFES movements in East Asia ran a six-day regional conference on Scripture engagement. Other movements included reflection sessions on different aspects of Scripture engagement in their regular programmes.
Don’t just keep on running. It might not bring you where you want to go.