Introducing Bible Month
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'I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.'
Bible Month is an opportunity for churches and circuits to spend 30 days focused on a single biblical book. In 2018, Bible Month will focus on the book of Jonah.
Bible Month involves two key elements
- Preachers preparing and preaching a series of sermons on Jonah over the four Sundays of June.
- Small group leaders running a 'Bible Month' group that focuses on Jonah, but which also helps those attending engage the Bible in fresh and innovative ways.
By focusing on a single biblical book, the aim of a 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!
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 2018.
Q) Can I be the sole preacher for the Bible Month?
It is possible for a single preacher to preach the four sermons on Jonah, but the usual practice is 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 supported the 2017 Bible Month, however, is 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?
A number of regions are planning to hold training events in early 2018, and you can find information about them 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 Jonah?
Jonah invites us to consider how God calls us to mission in the unlikeliest of places. It points to a God who is compassionate and loving to all, and challenges us to reflect this God in our mission. James featured in Bible Month 2017, so it also seemed good to tackle a book from the Hebrew Bible.
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, which itself emerged from a discussion at circuit level. A Bible Month on James was held across the Connexion in 2017.