Elder Baker chuckled as Mark got up to retrieve his notes, and then continued: “First is promotion. You must promote the HBS ministry often. You have to keep the ministry visible! This will be one of Bro. Foster’s primary responsibilities. I give my HBS director about twenty minutes on Sunday night once a month. We get together and plan what he will be doing.
By Tim Massengale
The doorbell rang. Pastor Mark North glanced outside and saw Vernon Baker’s car parked in front. Brother Baker had called several hours earlier to see if he could borrow a Search for Truth II chart.
Opening the door, Mark greeted his long time friend. “Come in, Elder! Hope you can stay for dinner. My wife is making her famous Jalapeño Chicken Enchiladas. She’s got refried beans, guacamole and tortilla chips to go with it.”
Brother Baker sadly shook his head. “Sounds tempting, but I have to get this Bible study chart back to Brother McMillen. He has a new study starting tonight and he has asked me to review the lesson with him first.”
Mark nodded. “I understand. But I hate for you to rush off. Can you at least stay for glass of ice tea?”
Brother Baker glanced at his watch. “Well, I can stay for a bit. Your wife’s sweet tea does sound good.”
Open Your Home to a HBS
Mark led the way to the kitchen and poured them both a glass and then set the tortilla chips and a fresh bowl of guacamole on the kitchen table.
“I have a question for you about your home Bible study ministry, Elder.”
The elderly gentleman took a long drink. “Sure! Glad to help if I can.”
How many home Bible studies (HBS) would you guess you have going right now?”
“No guessing to it. Brother Carter, my HBS director, gives me a report each month. At last count we had 43 Bible studies being taught.”
Mark sat back. “Wow! I’m impressed!”
Elder Baker reached for the bowl of dip. “Don’t be. That’s down from our normal number. Usually we have about sixty going. So I’m getting ready to launch a HBS promotion to encourage involvement.”
“What would that be?”
“It’s something we do almost every year. It’s called ‘Open Your Home to a Home Bible Study.’ We divide the church into two teams and appoint a captain over each. The captains encourage each team member to allow a neighborhood Bible study to be taught in their home. A group will meet at a team member’s home on a Saturday morning and canvas the neighborhood with flyers. The flyer invites folks to an evening neighborhood Bible study event with lots of food and fellowship. The concept is simple: The team member provides the home and we provide the trained HBS teacher to teach it. We also encourage the team member to invite all their friends and relatives to come as well. Sometimes we end up with as many as ten or more in the study. They will eat and have a few short ice-breakers to start. Then our trained HBS teacher will get up and show everyone the ‘Search For Truth II’ HBS chart, explaining that with one lesson a week, we will be covering the entire Bible in about twelve weeks. He encourages all to come faithfully and that a framed graduation certificate will be presented at the conclusion. However, the lesson that night will be an introductory lesson entitled A Place Prepared For You. He hands everyone a copy of this powerful one-lesson study. The study is taught with Power Point slides and it takes about thirty minutes to teach. It covers the plan of salvation and God’s plan for man. We encourage the teacher to teach it simply and clearly, pausing often to answer questions. At the conclusion, all present gather in a circle and pray for one another. We have had some amazing results – folks getting the Holy Ghost, baptized; plus we start lots of group Bible studies this way.”
“Cool! But why do you divide into teams?
“We have found that by setting up teams and adding in a friendly competition element, more people agree to open their home to a study. The team earns five points for each HBS lesson taught and a point for each visitor (age 16 and older) that attends. The contest lasts for eight weeks with a banquet at the end. The winning team is honored at the banquet.”
“That’s a great idea! I’m going to have to try it,” Mark said. “But my problem is a little different. I need help encouraging my saints to get involved in the HBS ministry. Right now we have only six people trained to teach, plus myself. I think we have three studies going right now. To be honest, the ministry is struggling.”