Tag Archives: community

An Albanian Experience

I really wanted to help students read the bible, not only on a daily basis, but also in such a way that they read it book by book. Together with the students, I discussed about how we could do this. It was hard to find a way. Many things did not work:

  • We thought that each one of us would read the bible on their own and then once a month we would discuss what we had read. That did not work because a lot of us did not find the time to read.
  • We tried to meet together to read a bible passage and discuss it. That did not work because we were reading isolated passages and it was difficult to see a connection between them.
  • We had problems finding a time for the group to meet together.
  • We found it hard to decide how we would do the reading with so many reading plans around.

In the end, we decided to read through the whole bible in three months. We helped each other by meeting twice a week to read and discuss together. We discovered that it was best to meet at 6:00 in the morning. Since we did not have a place to meet, we met in a bar café. This was really good because it gave us the opportunity to speak about what we were doing with the waiter, bar manager, and other staff members.

It was a difficult experience because towards the end we struggled with our readings. If we missed a day, we had to read double as much the next day. Now, the three months are over: one of us finished on time and three of us finished two weeks later.

We are really happy with what we did. So, we decided to read through the bible another two times this year – once in six months and once in three months.

We have started to pray for October 2012 because our desire is that each of us can get involved with three other people to read the bible next year.

Was it a worthwhile experience? It was one of the best experiences in my Christian life: the joy of reading together, studying together, discussing together and starting the day with God is an experience that I would never trade for anything else. It is not over. I’m looking forward to doing it with another group and seeing how the students will do with their new groups.

The question is: Reading the bible? How can we help students to do it? My experience and answer to this is: READ IT WITH THEM.

Juljan Muhameti, staff worker BSKSH (IFES Albania)
juljan.muhameti (at) gmail.com

 

 

 

Left Alone?!!

We are told by our Christian community that time alone in God’s word is important.

We are maybe given some training in personal bible reading.

We are usually left alone to live out this important aspect of our faith.

Maybe your context is different, but this seems to be what often happens. Left on their own, many students struggle. They want to spend time in God’s word, but encounter numerous obstacles. Do they have to overcome them on their own? By definition, personal Bible reading is something we do on our own. Does that mean we have to struggle alone?

Last spring, a Swiss student sent out a questionnaire on bible reading to students in Switzerland and France. One question was: What would encourage you to read the bible?

Many answers pointed in the same direction:

  • Defining a passage beforehand which everybody reads during the week and then sharing about it the next time we meet.’
  • Deciding to use the same reading plan in our student group. All read the same passages and then we share about them. I think that would be very motivating.’
  • Having friends who read the same bible passage on the same day. That would give me a bit of positive pressure.’
  • Every week define mini-groups of two people who read the same bible passage and then share about what they have read.’

Other responses were similar. These students want a communal context for their personal bible reading. Their concrete suggestions are worth trying out. Just recently, a student wrote saying that he and a friend read one chapter of the bible daily. During the day, they exchange text messages about their reading. He comments: ‘The sharing really helped us to enjoy reading the bible.

These are not the only ways to create a communal context for personal bible reading. Which other experiences or ideas come to your mind?

Time alone in God’s word. Time to deepen intimacy in our relationship with Jesus. Time to stop, receive, and regain perspective in our busy day-to-day lives.

Let’s not leave one another alone in this important aspect of our faith.

Sabine Kalthoff