Last year, the elders and I studied together a fascinating book called Built on the Rock by Ted Kober. The central thesis is that the 21st century American church is struggling with Biblical immaturity primarily as a result of our lack of Biblical literacy. Ted Kober would know. He started an organization called “Ambassadors of Reconciliation” that works with conflicted congregations and individuals to bring about repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. In the book, he tells a number of stories of working with churches and discovering that not even the elders or congregational president knew how to look up basic Bible passages. Such Biblical illiteracy results in increased hostility and conflict, as we look to worldly resources rather than God’s Word to solve problems in our congregations.
While I don’t think the Biblical literacy at Zion is quite to that level, there’s no doubt that we all could be spending much more time in God’s Word. Reading God’s Word can only bring about increased faith and wisdom as we hear the Lord speak and respond in trust and thanksgiving.
With that in mind, we’d like to make 2022 “The Year of the Bible.” The elders have set a goal for our congregation to collectively spend 10,000 hours studying God’s Word this year! We have 318 families at Zion. If each family spends 5 minutes per day in God’s Word, we will collectively have spent 9,672 hours studying the Bible! We think that’s achievable for even the busiest families, and we will benefit individually and corporately from intentionally planning to grow in God’s Word together.
There are a lot of ways to earn minutes and contribute to the goal! Of course, personal or family Bible reading and meditation using a resource like Simple Daily Prayer or Portals of Prayer would count towards this goal. But so are things like your participation in Bible studies and your children’s time in Sunday School. Maybe you’ll even consider something new, like listening to the Bible on CD in your car or a Bible podcast. (I’d recommend “The Word of the Lord Endures Forever” by LCMS Pastor Wil Weedon). Keep your eyes open for other resources and challenges throughout the year as well.
How are we going to keep track? We’re relying on you! We’re asking everyone to keep track of their time and self-report it. There will be a tracking sheet in the North Narthex throughout the year. For every hour that you accumulate reading the Scriptures, please stamp the sheet once. The elders will then tally up those hours and put them on a poster so we can all track our progress together. This is a collective goal, so you do not need to put your name on anything. We’re all working toward this goal together, not competing against one another. Of course, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t consider setting a goal for yourself, such as a Bible reading plan that would allow you to read through the whole Bible in a year like the one included in this newsletter.
We hope that you will be encouraged and filled with joy as we study God’s Word together in 2022!