Recently, BIG Impact leadership team was exposed to the ministry philosophy and materials produced and used by Community Bible Study International, with the purpose of using and promoting these in their own ministries. The national coordinator of BIG Impact, Gelu Paul, tells us how this approach between the two organizations happened.
I was first exposed to Community Bible Study International in the early 90s, while I was studying at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I thoroughly enjoyed studying 1 John with the help of this amazing inductive Bible study tool. As soon as I returned to Romania, one of my dreams was to make this simple and powerful tool available to the Romanian discipleship ministry I was serving in.
Several years ago, I had the privilege to meet Antti Ronkainen, the Area Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe Community Bible Study Europe. I met Antti during the training session event organized in Timisoara at Bethel Baptist Church where I attended together with several key pastors and leaders from Vox Domini Church. Essential in Vox Domini’s discipleship strategy is the tandem between plenary gathering for worship and preaching, and the house church gathering, ideal for prayer, fellowship and applicative and transforming Bible study. During the house church meetings, Vox Domini community meets in 36 plus homes to worship, pray, fellowship, study the Word that has been preached on Sunday, and learn to apply it to our daily living. Last year, we preached a series of sermons in Philippians. As a result of meeting with Antti, CBS Europe helped us make the arrangements for translating the Global Philippians, and making this amazing Bible study tool available to our house churches members and leaders. The impact was remarkable.
In this context, I invited Antti to share the vision and mission of the CBS Europe organization with several leaders in BIG in a conference scheduled back to back with BIG Impact General Assembly. The participants were exposed to the CBS model for Bible study, they interacted using the materials that were presented and discussed about how these could be best used in the Romanian context.
Here are several thoughts from this meeting:
Monica Cosmescu Husti:
CBSI is like a well from which you could drink continuously, a limitless resource. It is obvious that thousands of working hours were invested so that such a study structure could exist. I take it as a big blessing to be able to have the Bible available in such a format and benefit from the hard work poured into it by some people.
CBSI was a pleasant surprise and I say this because we use, in our EBE discipleship, tools that can be adjusted both to people’s needs and the needs of the constituents of his body, the Church. I think it’s a great toolvthat is worth investing in.
I was challenged to use the CBS program, because it can be used as a study material for small groups. The sessions in this program have a medium level of difficulty, challenging the believers to understand a book of the Bible.
If EBE was, in the past, a tool for those who wanted to grow in knowledge and closeness to the Lord, today, CBSI, because it has the entire Bible structured as an inductive study material, is a complex and available resource, within our reach. This tool can be used both for preaching the Gospel, and for small group study, or personal discipleship.