The Caldwell Seventh-day Adventist Church tried a new experiment this last month. Instead of the typical evangelistic series we opened The Community Bible Study. This approach, with two studies conducted all weekdays at noon and 6pm for three full weeks, is much more, low key than traditional series, and uses a study format with question and answers filled out on printed lessons. Instead of Revelation and Prophecy, the main theme is Righteousness by Faith. Doctrines including our unique truths are presented but in a Relational framework.
Another part of the experiment was trying more direct advertising to invite people to join. We asked members to invite friends and neighbors. Actually none of our guests came from this method. Several weeks prior we went door to door with a community survey that offered Bible study as one of its options, and when interest was demonstrated we gave invitation cards to The Community Bible Study. We invited the entire congregation to join us in this effort. I would like to thank, Casey Baker, Ramon Fernandez, Josh Hester, Nathan Hobbs, Donna Gonzales, Roy Johnson, Lois Moore, and Josh Ro who went door to door with me. Josh Hester, doing Bible work for us for a few weeks this summer, also contacted inactive members, non-member spouses, non- baptized attenders, and others who might benefit from the study, to give them a personal invitation. Josh Hester, Casey and Donna, also distributed invitation cards in the neighborhood. A Bible study card went into the community a couple weeks prior, and although Josh Hester and I are following up on the seven Bible study requests, none of the studies transferred to the meetings.
Deeann Reedy, our Public Relations director, placed advertisements on Criagslist and community bulletin boards. Two of our six guests came from seeing that ad. In addition one of our guests came from a personal invitation to join the Bible Study Evaluation program where we pay $75 dollars to have someone sit in and evaluate our lessons. The remaining guests were from invitations I extended to them to join us.
The Bible Study itself has been exciting. A special thanks to Joyce Griffith, and Lois Moore, for editing the lessons and Carol Forshee in printing the lessons, also Marie Stratton who has been the administrator for the series. The classroom style allows our guests to ask questions and to tailor the study a little more to individual questions. We have made some new friends, all of them are attending our worship services and we will enjoy the process of supporting them spiritually.
It has been a wonderful experiment and we have shared the gospel and our faith with some new people. We need to look at ways to build attendance both among our community guests and our own members, but all in all it has been a success.