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Zoom Bible Reading Groups

Zoom Bible Reading Groups

When the Covid-19 pandemic began and the associated “shelter at home” period started, many of us thought that the physical constraints we would face in ecclesias would be really problematic.  I am pleased to say that there are some very good ideas that have emerged from web conferencing technology.  These have definitely taken the “sting” out of not being able to meet together physically. I’d like to share just one of these ideas, but I do hope it will generate some additional thoughts about how we can participate in fellowship and possibly do outreach with these technologies.

In early March 2020, we were looking for a way to stay connected. When we thought about what connected us all each day, we realized that the Bible readings is intended to do just that. So, the Verdugo Hills Ecclesia started an online, Zoom Bible reading meeting. This is held on weekdays from 10:30-11:15 AM.  Initially this started with our own ecclesia, but now has included members from several local ecclesias and a couple outside of the region.

The fellowship is simply fantastic!  Each day we look forward to sharing the readings together and all of us make comments and ask questions. In a way, it has formed a small “micro fellowship” for us. Over the couple of months we have grown to know each other better and we pray for each other, as well as others in need throughout the community. Typically, we have about 12-16 participants, which I believe is just about right. We all take turns reading and our comprehension is enhanced by hearing other versions. What I like best is when brothers and sisters share notes they’ve written in their margins. For me it is like collecting the gems they have learned over the years from their own studies as well as Bible Schools and other classes.  These have been the best 3 months doing the daily readings for me and my wife, Sis. Mary Kay.

In a way, it has formed a small “micro fellowship” for us.About two thirds of the group are retired.  For us, it provides connectivity with our brothers and sisters, during a time when we are apart physically. It has become a structured part of the day and it just feels right to invest these 45 minutes for the readings. We have a young mom who also participates. She looks forward to adult conversation each day, as she is a stay at home mom. She has told us how much she gets from the readings this way.  Some of our group are furloughed workers and are available only because of the pandemic. None of us are looking at this new way to share the readings as being something we wish to discontinue when the pandemic is over. We just enjoy it too much to let it go!  We now have a third of the group that are members from other meetings and some than 2,500 miles away!

One sister wrote:

“My son introduced the idea of the class to me. This was just what I needed. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the group that meets at 10:30 on the West Coast. I love hearing the thinking from other brothers and sisters, I have often asked my questions and enjoy all the responses. I have found thoughts, ideas, that spur me on to more study on my own. Plus, I have the opportunity to see so many other folks, who I do not often actually see. I am very grateful for the opportunity to discuss the readings with others. I hope this will continue, even after we are no longer staying at home so much.”

Another member wrote:

It is such a blessing to join others in the readings and to join in and listen to discussion. I don’t think I realized before how much I was missing in having to do the readings by myself. This way the readings become the highlight of my morning – and I have the added benefit of exchanging a few words with the brothers and sisters I am missing so much. Hoping that this can continue even when the current crisis is (somewhat) resolved.”

Finally another commented:

“I’ve really enjoyed doing the daily readings with the brothers and sisters via the internet. I now do more reading in other books and magazines during the early hours of the morning — the hours in which I used to do the Bible readings.I hope that this will be continued even after we are no longer quarantined and able to get together!  It’s been a great support to me during a difficult time.”

Could a similar format be used for preaching? How about inviting neighbors and friends to read the Bible online? Inviting people to join a Bible reading class is actually not a new idea. Doing it online may be.

There are initially some issues with understanding how to use the technology and Internet connections from home to home can be a problem.  But, the plusses are far outweighed by the sweet fellowship we enjoy around the Scriptures.

Five months ago, few of us had ever heard of Zoom technology. Now we talk about “Zooming” like we had been doing it for decades! Zoom and other competitive products are helping us to enjoy more frequent fellowship and it is opening doors of possibility for sharing the gospel message with others.

 

Dave Jennings
Verdugo Hills Ecclesia

 

 



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