USA (MNN) — “It must be music to Jesus’ ears to hear so many people excited about reading the New Testament.” – Dorothy, Oklahoma
General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church, Jo Anne Lyon, had a vision. What if her entire denomination did something it had never done before: read the whole New Testament together in eight weeks?
Would people go for a denomination-wide Bible reading campaign?
Would they be up for that much reading?
The Wesleyan Church decided to become the first denomination to do Biblica’s Community Bible Experience as a whole.
“It’s going to draw us together,” Lyon predicted. “It’s going to increase our inspiration, our knowledge, our wisdom, our growth in the Scriptures. We’re going to experience something we have never before known.”
For the Wesleyan Church, this was an opportunity to transform the way churchgoers (and non-churchgoers) read the Bible.The experiment kicked off February 24, ten days before Lent. The Wesleyan Church challenged people to do three things: Read big. Read real. Read together.
By late February, more than 800 churches had answered the challenge. Wesleyan congregations across North America–and as far away as Albania and India–committed to reading the New Testament together in eight weeks.
Many churches are seeing 80-100% participation, not counting participants outside the church who are curious about the Bible.
Even for lifelong Christians, the experience has been like scales falling from their eyes. Many are reading the Scriptures in depth for the first time in their lives.
“I feel like I am right there among the people who followed [Jesus],” said a participant from Roanoke, Virginia. “I can visualize what is happening and feel like He is talking directly to me. It’s awesome.”
For Lyon, these stories of transformation don’t come as a surprise. As she told her fellow Wesleyans at the start of this journey, “This is about simply reading God’s Word and allowing it to soak in your own spirit, mind, and heart.”
Pray that God’s Word would continue to change churches and individuals.