I made a friend at church back in 2007 or so. She was a home school mom like me, but unlike me, her oldest three were adopted. We hit it off. We hung out. She introduced me to Kay Arthur’s Precepts Bible study and invited me to go to Dallas to an all day event where we learned how to study in this particular method. This was pretty big for me at this time when I was still coming out of my fearful shell , to go out of town with someone and go to a conference. I had a lot of anxiety but something made me do it anyway. I learned a lot and had a good time, but I remember being so nervous.
My friend suggested that we go to a certain Bible study class that was not held at our church. It was a non-denominational, weekly class with a schedule of meetings that went along with the school calendar. I’d never heard of it, Community Bible Study. But she easily convinced me that it was a great organization and I finally said I’d go. This was a big step for me and a big commitment!
My children were going to attend also, two would be in a nursery class and two in older kids’ classes, since they had classes for homeschooled children up to 12th grade. How terrified and full of fear I was! What was I afraid of? Not God . Not the Bible. I was afraid of meeting new people and the whole ‘unknown’ factor. I was afraid they wouldn’t like me, accept me, or want me to be part of the group. Would I be able to handle the class? I had a lot of self-doubts.
And would my kids be okay? I was a very protective mother. So worried that my kids would 1)be unhappy and cry and 2) not behave and embarrass me. They did both, but I kept going. I missed some days. In fact I have missed a lot of days over the years due to my kids, but God keeps drawing me back.
My friend and her family moved away and we have gradually lost touch with each other, but I will always thank God for her willingness to invite me to that class and for her friendship during a pivotal time in our lives. God used her obedience to bless me. I thank you, friend, for inviting me to Community Bible Study. God used you in a big and important way.
I was doing some Spring cleaning one day a few years ago and decided to gather up the scattered workbooks from my years of Community Bible study. I have quite a collection. In the front of each one we write our names, our core group leader’s name and the school year. With a building wave of emotion I opened each book to check the dates. The oldest book I found is the year 2008-9. I thought of the many blessed hours spent studying God’s word with wonderful godly women. Nothing I’ve done since has had such a huge impact on my Christian walk.
Through this class God gave me opportunities to grow in faith that I would not have otherwise had. Not only did I learn better social skills, I also learned new ways of thinking about God. He was not just a maker of rules, He is so much more. He also helped me grow by making me get outside my comfort zone through speaking in class, helping out with various duties, and simply sticking to a schedule. The homework required for the class forced me to manage my time better and not be lazy. God knew I needed help!
Now it is the year 2022 and I am still attending this Bible Study. It is even more important to me now than when my children were little. As I get older and need God even more, I really cherish this time spent studying and discussing God’s word and fellowshipping with other Christian women. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t said yes to my friend years ago, and to God. Invite a friend or take yourself to a good Bible study and I trust that God will change your life as well.
I notice CBS still is opening new classes if there is not one in one’s city. A friend just invited me to join his Monday evening group, so I will wait to see how this fits, but may get into this early next year. We have held “simple church” in our home for international students at UK a few times, and Gavin Duerson of Simple Church Alliance provides excellent resources as well. https://simplechurchalliance.com/
Thanks for sharing this Paula. CBS was absolutely huge in the way God was working in me as a new believer. I first went the year after I was saved and then, in my third year as we worked through the Psalms, I really began to love not just God but the Bible He gave us. Then I was a small group leader for four or five years before I had to set CBS aside while I went to grad school. I came back for a year before relocating to NM to be a pastor. CBS is just an awesome ministry and I’m glad to hear that you are still connected to it.
Thank you for sharing your CBS testimony! It truly is a blessed ministry. I remember being so impressed with how all the leaders were true servants and how no gossip or following rabbit trails was allowed. They kept us on the subject. Would you be able to start a class on the res?
That would be nice but it doesn’t seem to be the direction God is leading our congregation in, at least not yet. CBS is really a prayer-driven ministry and only recently have we been able to sustain a small but regular prayer meeting.
I know what you mean, Paula. Bible studies have helped me have and maintain friendships over the years – friendships centered around God’s Word. We were a support system to one another, praying for one another and being involved in one another’s lives. So important and special today.
P.S. The people at our church invite unbelievers to study the Bible with them, one-on-one, and they do it! I had never thought of doing that before, but apparently people are more open to the gospel than we might think .