Having been an active Acts 2 and One Church member for a few years, I heard about registration for the Disciple Fast Track each fall. I considered signing up a couple times, but I just wasn’t ready to make that commitment. Twenty-four weeks of Bible study with a group of people I barely knew—that thought made me nervous for several reasons!
I grew up attending Methodist churches with my family, then kind of church hopped my way through high school and college with friends. I visited several denominations, worship styles, and settings. I held a belief in God and considered myself a Christian from a young age. But the actual Bible—I have to say, other than some basic Sunday school stories, it was unfamiliar territory for me. If I’m being completely honest, I think I was a little scared of what I might find in there. So often, words and ideas from this sacred book can be taken out of context and even weaponized. That made me uncomfortable, so, really, I just steered clear.
I was also worried I’d be surrounded by people who had read the entire Bible and could answer anything there was to know about it. Talking in groups is difficult for me sometimes, and I figured I wouldn’t know enough information to really add much to the group or the discussions.
I’m happy to say that last September, I decided to put my hesitations aside and take the plunge. As I continued to serve in various areas at church, I knew I wanted to learn more about God’s story, and I knew I wanted to meet more people and connect more with members of our congregation. With my young kiddos getting a little older and more independent, I was at a place in life where I could really make the time to focus on something completely new to me.
From my first Disciple meeting, I knew signing up had been the right choice. I quickly learned that many people in the group didn’t know each other well, and additionally, many of them had the same experience with the Bible as me! Several of us knew about Noah’s ark, Jonah and the big fish—but to really know these stories in the context of God’s plan for His people, and His path to the arrival and loving teachings of Jesus Christ—that was new information to so many of my group members!
My group leader, Greg May, with his calm and quiet spirit, listened and encouraged the group the whole way. He showed up for special activities group members’ planned and he personally checked in on individual prayer requests and concerns. With our 12 group members coming from various careers, backgrounds, and life experiences, we were able to visualize situations through viewpoints other than just our own. It was a safe place to learn from each other and to be ok with not agreeing on every idea or topic.
We gradually formed kind of a familial bond as we made our way through the Old and New Testaments. Even outside of group meetings, we cheered each other on through life’s celebrations and picked each other up on life’s hard days. We learned about our God-given gifts and abilities, and we encouraged one another in how we can use those gifts to share God’s goodness in our church, as well as our community.
I’m very grateful to have felt that nudge from God to learn more about the Bible and to be open to new ideas and friendships. Through Disciple, I gained so much knowledge about the story of Christianity, Jesus’ love for us, and about my own unique spiritual gifts. In a world where it is easy to find gloom and pain and darkness, taking part in the Disciple Bible study has reenergized my desire to help bring God’s Kingdom here on Earth—to shine God’s loving light to the least, the last, and the lost.