I had talked to Heman about training the fellowship members in studying the Bible through established and time-tested methods like the OIA method.
Recently, I received a phone call from our contact person asking me if I would be free to do pre-study for Bible study on Saturday afternoon. I said I can’t because I was going to a seminary open day. I wondered why we are having a pre-study on Saturday, who would be there and why don’t people go to the pastor-led pre-study on Thursday night?
She told me this is something extra, separate from the pastor-led pre-study. I see a problem, this is something official that the fellowship leadership is making my group do. I know that this would make most of the bible study leaders to not go to the pastor-led pre-study on Thursday night. I know that there are a small number of people, like me, who have classes or engagement on Thursday but that should only be a small minority.
While asking some bros on watching a movie next Tuesday, I realize that other groups are doing the same and so it’s yea, again, official.
I think pre-study with fellow Bible study leaders in your small group is a good thing but making it official might be a bad thing. I also noticed from the other group that also meet on Saturday that several people who I think are more knowledgeable in the Bible are not leading Bible studies. I find that very strange because some of the Bible study leaders are not very motivated and poor in their understanding. That is okay, they can have a try, but there are people I know who are being left out, and I can’t see good reasons why.
I know that even before this plan, there are some “leaders” who would use pre-study to “agendize” the Bible study and how people would interpret the biblical text which I find very problematic and at times, misleading.
I don’t know who thought of this but this worries me because although there is nothing wrong with doing an extra “pre-study”, I am worried about the motive behind it, I wonder if it’s about controlling how we see and interpret the Scripture. One thing I am sure though is that this will definitely discourage some people from going to the pastor-led Bible pre-study on Thursday night, that is for sure. People find it more motivating when others in your small groups is going as well and if there is more time for discussion and sharing. I don’t think that is a good thing because if we don’t go to the pastor-led one, we could go all over the place with our interpretation.
Most of us are not trained in any method to lead and interpret the Bible text. The pastor-led one would help us tremendously because Pastor Si really takes her pre-study seriously with really good notes, background and context information. However, it does feel like going to a lecture, I admit that, and it doesn’t provide enough time for discussion and sharing.