We had about 40 people attending our presentation Monday evening at the Tallaght Methodist Church. Sam shared about Community Bible Study International and what we do along with some scriptures to motivate people to be studying the Bible. For additional motivation, we had three of our study leaders share about their experience with the CBSI studies and how it impacted their lives, shown in the pictures below. Following these presentations, we walked the participants through a short sample study so that they could experience the whole process. The response was good and the evening led to some great connections with the host pastor and the general director of Scripture Union Ireland.
Presenting CBSI at Tallaght Methodist Church
On Friday evening, about 45 people attended our presentation at Zion Parish Hall in Rathgar. We followed a similar format as Monday night and had very positive responses. Three of those attending said that they wanted to visit some of our local groups.
We were truly blessed to have Ann and Sharon from the UK with us this week to help with the inter-denominational Bible week presentations and meetings. Ann and Sharon lead the CBSI-UK Children and Youth ministry and are helping us to establish a children and youth ministry in Ireland. We had asked them to come and be prepared to share with people coming to the Bible week presentations that were particularly interested in working with children.
Ann and Sharon found a nice spot to work on final preparations for their evening workshop on engaging children and youth in learning the Bible.
At the presentation, there were 5 people who attended their workshop. Three of them arranged for a follow-up meeting on Thursday morning to learn more.
We were at the Trinity College Chapel on Pentecost Sunday (first time ever) for the opening ceremony of the interdenominational Bible week in Dubin. It was a wonderful service and we had the surprise privilege of reading some scriptures for the service.
Stained glass windows above the altar
Sam and Patti after the ceremony
The organ/choir balcony
We will have the entire program Monday and Friday nights at other Dublin-area churches to share about our ministry with Community Bible Study International – Ireland (our facebook page) to include introducing the beginning of the CBSI Children & Youth ministry in Ireland. We already know of some who are coming Monday night to learn more about the Children and Youth resources to consider using them among a Christian community consisting of more than 200 people. Several people in this community are already part of or leading ongoing CBSI studies, so using it with the children could certainly lead to wider use throughout the community.
Pray with us for the impact of these evenings, that they will bear much fruit in connecting us with people desiring to be in God’s Word and looking for resources to help them get started.
We had a wonderful evening at the Michael Card concert and met many new people visiting our information table where we got to use our brand new CBSI-Ireland banner for the first time.
Our information table and banner sharing space with concert sponsor Spirit Radio.
In addition to advertising our Bible study resources, we had brochures and a Dublin-area Bible and Prayer group directory in support of the interdenominational Bible week beginning on Sunday. We were surprised at the end of the program when the representative of the Nazareth Community (one of the other sponsors) closed with an announcement encouraging everyone to follow Michael Card’s example of being in and talking about scripture to stop by our table and find out how to get connected over the next week. So we had quite a few people come by to chat or pick up brochures.
I had mentioned in my previous post Feb 5-7 – The Beginning of a Children’s Ministry? about the UK C&Y Director visiting us and sharing with several ladies in one of the CBSI studies about what C&Y had to offer. The result of that visit was two ladies who wanted training so that they could move forward.
The UK C&Y Director arranged to come back this Saturday, April 5th, to train those ladies and we planned to have it here in our home. As we have invited others, such as Alpha Youth leaders, and these ladies have invited others, the number has grown to up to 15 participants, so we can no longer fit into our apartment. One of the original leaders was able to get a room in the school where she would be using the materials, so we have plenty of space and a kitchenette to use … praise God!
This will be the largest training that the C&Y Director has done and it is really different in that is does not consist entirely of people who are in a CBSI study, so she is a little nervous. Pray for all of us as we prepare and present on Saturday (5-10 am US EST), that God would give us favor among these youth leaders, that we would be able to satisfactorily answer all their questions and concerns. Also pray that the use of these C&Y studies would lead to the children’s parents becoming interested in studying the Word also.
Again this year Patti and I were able to attend the UK CBSI Leaders Conference. We found it cheaper to try something new … taking the ferry from Dublin to Holyhead in Wales. Then rather than dealing with buses and trains, we rented a car and drove to the beautiful Hayes Conference Center – Alfreton in Swanwick. It was a wonderful time reconnecting with friends, to include the CBSI-Europe director and the CBS International director who were joining us from the U.S.
A highlight of the trip was spending time with other Calebs that were able to attend from Wales, Lithuania, and France (all originally from the U.S.). Most of the Calebs (shown below) stayed over an extra night due to travel arrangements.
Group photo before departing.
The Calebs were the only ones to stay an extra night, so we had a wonderful time in fellowship together. Actually, one of the couples are not Calebs yet, but were traveling with the Calebs to France on an exploratory trip to consider joining them in ministering in France. They had a wonderful testimony of healing to share and led us in some worship time. One, a retired pastor, followed the singing with a communion service and healing service where we got to pray for each others aches and health issues. What a wonderful time together. One fact that we thought interesting about us was that we were all from Virginia, but only met because of our ministry with CBSI.
Patti and I also planned an additional night in the UK to do some sightseeing and to avoid arriving back in downtown Dublin on St Patrick’s Day. That gave us some time to relax and enjoy some of the beautiful sites and castles in Wales.
Click here to see more pictures of Beaumaris Castle.
I mentioned earlier that we had met Peter, the new director of Alpha-Ireland, at the Tine conference in Feb. Peter expressed interest in meeting with us to look at CBSI as a potential follow-up to Alpha. We arranged earlier in the week to meet today in downtown Dublin.
Peter and I (Sam) had a very productive time together and the future looks bright for ongoing collaboration between Alpha and CBSI in Ireland. The problems we face in Ireland are:
- Very few people have any experience in personal Bible reading,
- A very limited number of churches promote personal Bible reading / study,
- Of those who are willing and motivated to study the Bible, a very small percentage are willing to be responsible to lead a study
With these problems existing, we have learned over the years that Alpha is a much easier “entry-point” for the Irish than CBSI because Alpha does not involve any homework/preparation for participants and less leadership responsibilities for the organizers. Unfortunately, there is still a “huge jump” from Alpha to CBSI. We have found good success with Alpha graduates using CBSI, but it required an experienced leader who was willing to give it a try.
Peter and I agreed that the major drawback for leaders in CBSI is the requirement for them to do a teaching / wrap-up talk after the discussion time. We felt that an effective alternative would be to provide video teaching to go with the discussion as Alpha does. Fortunately, this is a project that is already being pursued in the U.K. with a CBSI study called “God’s Amazing Book”. Peter and I felt that this would be a good study to use as a transition between Alpha and CBSI and that it would be even more effective with Irish teachers.
The U.K. CBSI director was in agreement and thought that it would be good to have the different voices for the different countries. The job now is to organize the teachers … pray that God will lead us to the right ones who are available and willing.
Peter was ‘on-board’ at the end of our meeting and told me he would be calling four of his Alpha leaders who were looking for good follow-up to recommend us and give them my contact information. He also had some other contacts that he thought might be interested and was also going to contact them. One of the main struggles he is facing in Alpha is expectations in churches that doing the Alpha course is going to revolutionize their churches when they don’t provide anything to follow Alpha that would help reap the benefits of going through Alpha. We are hopeful that this partnership will produce lasting results within churches that will contribute to the growth of both Alpha and CBSI.
Pray with us toward this end. Thanks you for standing with us!
Tomorrow has finally arrived (I promised to post these Malta pictures in my last post on Feb 27th)! Rather than selecting just a few of the 120 pictures, I put together a video of all of them with some background music (unfortunately, though, not Maltese music). Enjoy.
We had a wonderful time in Malta attending the RELaY conference. RELaY stands for Reconciliation, Evangelisation, Leadership, and Youth and is a network of lay leaders throughout Europe working to bring spiritual life back into Europe. Due to limited flights and our desire to not arrive late and not to need to leave early, we arranged to arrive a day early and stay a day after. That gave us some time to get in some sight-seeing during our trip.
Everyone (except many of the locals) stayed at a nice hotel where the conference was hosted. This is a view from the balcony of our 6th floor room …
The view from our balcony
We were one of the few ministries that had arranged to have an information table in addition to teaching a workshop. Since we were there early we were able to secure a strategic location for our table and had a lot of people stop by to inquire about Community Bible Study.
Our Table and Banner
We had 13 people attending our two workshop sessions. We took them through a short sample study and got great participation. There was much interest expressed and we expect to see several studies started as a result. Thank you for your prayers.
The hotel provided a variety of foods to experience so of the local cuisine as well as some foods you would expect to get anywhere. Meals were a wonderful time to meet new people and get to know one another better.
The Salad Bar
Fellowship Over a Meal
I will post pictures from our sight-seeing tomorrow.