Introducing Bible Month

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'Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your
good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.'
(James 3:13)

In June 2017, the Methodist Church is encouraging churches and circuits across the Connexion to run a 'Bible Month', 30 days focused on the letter of James. The Bible Month will involve two key elements

  1. Preachers preparing and preaching a series of sermons on James over the four Sundays of June. 
        
  2. Small group leaders running a 'Bible Month' group that focuses on James, but which also helps those attending engage the Bible in fresh and innovative ways. 

By focusing on a single biblical book, the aim of the Bible Month is to help all in church engage more deeply with Scripture. A pilot project showed that the Bible Month model could be effective in raising biblical literacy, and the majority of those who took part were keen to hold another Bible Month in the future!

Bible Month training days will be run across the Connexion, in early 2017, for preachers and small group leaders. A resource to guide your Bible Month will become available in winter 2016.

Questions about the Bible Month

Q) Do I have to run the Bible Month in June?

No. June is the suggested date for the Bible Month - and resources are directed to that month - but you can run the Bible Month anytime that suits your own context.  

Q) How do I get permission to run the Bible Month?

Speak to your Circuit Superintendent. The Superintendent will need to support the running of the Bible Month, and also add it to the preaching plan well in advance of June 2017.

Q) Can I be the sole preacher for the Bible Month?  

It is possible for a single preacher to preach the four sermons on James, but the usual practice in the pilot was for a team of preachers to work together on this. Speak to your Superintendent and others in the Circuit about who you could work with on this.

Q) Is the Bible Month just a 'one off' event?

The Bible Month will be held over the next few years, tackling several different books of the Bible. The 'Bible Month magazine' that will support the 2017 Bible Month, however, will also be available for any church interested in running a Bible Month on James at a future date.  

Q) Who is involved in running the Bible Month?

The Bible Month will be run by local churches, but support will be provided by the Discipleship & Ministries Learning Network and LWPT. The Methodist Church is also working with ROOTs to produce the 'Bible Month' resource magazine.

Q) How can I receive training in leading a Bible Month?

Four training days for the Bible Month will be run across the connexion in January/February 2017, and details will soon be available here. There will also be a 'Bible Month magazine' available to help you in planning and preparation.

Q) How can I get young people involved in the Bible Month?

Suggestions for involving young people will be included in the Bible Month magazine. On helping young people in generally engage the Bible, you might also like to check out 'Navigate', a joint-resource produced by the Methodist Church and the Bible Society (www.methodist.org.uk/navigate).

Q) Why focus on James?

The letter of James encourages Christians to live out their faith as well as to confess it. It reminds us that faith without works is dead, and so encourages us to love God and neighbour in deed as well as in word. While future Bible Months will focus on different biblical books, James seems a suitable work to begin with - and also features in the lectionary earlier in 2017.

Q) Where does this 'Bible Month' idea come from?

A 'Bible Month' pilot project ran in 2015, and involved two churches in London and two in the North East. The pilot itself, however, drew on a 'preaching series' model for encouraging biblical literacy trialled in the Yorkshire Dales. That, I'm told, emerged from a discussion at circuit level. Although promoted by the DMLN, this project has really emerged from the 'ground up'! 

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