By Corey Forbes
The call came in the early spring of 2000. An evening women’s group was being piloted in Wayne for seven weeks, and we would be studying the book of Philippians. The Teaching Leader for the group had phoned, and asked me to prayerfully consider serving as a teacher in the children’s program.
I was flabbergasted. Me? Teach? I had never even been a part of this program before. What would I do? What would the time commitment be? What kind of curriculum was used?
I was raised with a solid Christian foundation, but had no hands on experience as a part of the organization. I was also raised in a family with a mom who was a professional church worker in my fairly large childhood congregation. Her position was Director of Education, and I was convinced that I had not inherited her teaching gene.
After I was over the initial shock, I began praying for discernment. I was 24 years old, newly engaged and knee deep in wedding planning. Adrian and I were starting to navigate the housing market and looking for our first home in Ann Arbor. I was also working full time on the midnight shift in Pathology for St. Joe’s in the Clinical Virology Lab. On top of all of that, I was in the middle of my Master’s Certificate
Program Coursework at MSU in Molecular Biology. How in the world would I find the time not to mention brain capacity for this new area of service (sarcasm noted)? I was focused on wedding gowns, early 20th century bungalows, HIV viral load testing turn-around-time and learning how to perform RFLP testing to determine a genetic variant.
But…I felt the Spirit nudging. I knew deep down that I was meant to say “yes”. I was mired in the busyness of daily living and the Spirit was drawing me back to regular and disciplined study of the Word through BSF. I had been lacking as of late in the arena of personal and community study of the scriptures in my young adult life. I knew that the Spirit would guide and sustain me, give me the words to say while nurturing the little souls who would attend the children’s program.
I had been lacking as of late in the arena of personal and community study of the scriptures in my young adult life.
For those of you who know me, my least favorite place to be is in front of a group of people, especially if it includes public speaking or performing. I’m the “fly-under-the-radar” leadership type (the term “servant leader” is coming into my mind).
But, for those of you who also know me, I’m almost always up for an adventure. Like backpacking Denali and hiking on glaciers kind of adventure. Travelling on mission trips to Kenya and Sierra Leone, via Morocco and Liberia kind of adventure. Taking your 15 month old on a multi-day backpacking trip of Pictured Rocks kind of adventure. Birthing our second child at home or parenthood in general kind of adventure. You get the picture…
If I could embark on other adventures daily in my life, I could do this too! I could tackle writing my own BSF-guided lessons for the children, which would include giving a “mini lecture” on that weeks scripture focus. I could master learning the homiletics structure of teaching God’s truths as the children’s teachers were taught.
I could commit to the memorization of new scriptures and hymns. I could attend the weekly early Saturday morning leaders’ meetings and get down on my knees in prayer with the other women as we planned for the upcoming week’s class.
I knew that I could do it with help from above; this was the key! I would be a vessel and the Spirit would use me! With humility and a willing spirit, I began my BSF journey with my return phone call to Karen, the Teaching Leader for the group.
I would be a vessel and the Spirit would use me!
The pilot class on Philippians was a huge success and the new women’s evening group grew by leaps and bounds. After a short period of time, the current group had outgrown the host church it was planted in and moved to a new location in Plymouth. I continued to teach in the children’s program for 2 more years before “just becoming” a BSF student.
I continued to enjoy the in-depth study of the BSF nine year cycle of studies and made it through the 7th year of study before other endeavors drew me elsewhere (namely service opportunities at St. Luke, MOST Ministries, and with the buying of our property, research, building and general contracting of our log home).
I remember my previous BSF years fondly. They were filled with rich, disciplined study of the Bible and sharing of the Word. They were undoubtedly in my mind, seven years filled with the most spiritual growth that I had ever encountered in my life (or have since then).
They were also filled with the Lord speaking to me and through me for that specific time in my life. BSF allowed me to build stronger relationships with others in all of my home, work, school, church, and community spheres of living because of the guidance and wisdom that His Word had to offer.
I remember my previous BSF years fondly. They were filled with rich, disciplined study of the Bible and sharing of the Word.
BSF is once again “knocking on my door” as an already existing Ann Arbor group is expanding and moving to St. Luke. After a seven-year absence from BSF coursework, I am looking forward to joining the Wednesday morning women’s group. This time around, I will be joining having been blessed with a 4 year old daughter, Sophia, who will be attending preschool elsewhere while I am in class, and an almost 3 month old son, Andrew, who will attend the classes with me.
I know that the Lord will have many new things to speak to me about and teach me as He has blessed us with a family since my last BSF experience. I once again have found myself overworked and overwhelmed and in need of spiritual rest.
My schedule is just as crazy as it was 14 years ago when I first answered the call to serve in and join BSF. The past several years have found me once again caught up in the busyness of daily life. The Lord is clearly speaking to me and drawing me back to Him through the rich study of God’s Word through BSF.
I once again have found myself overworked and overwhelmed and in need of spiritual rest.
Will you join me on your own BSF journey?
Bible Study Fellowship, or BSF for short, is an in-depth, interdenominational Bible study that helps people to know God better and equips them to effectively serve the church throughout the world. It allows the participant to study scripture both privately and in community.
There are over 1000 classes currently offered to men, women, young adults and children in more than 38 countries around the world. BSF offers a nine-year “rotation” of study (Genesis, The Life of Moses, Israel and the Minor Prophets, Isaiah, Matthew, John, Acts of the Apostles, Romans and Revelation), each year being a 30-week study from September through May.
BSF consists of a multi-step learning approach that helps to bring clarity to the scriptures being studied as well as offering the opportunity for life-changing application of God’s truths being learned. Each week, there are daily scripture passages to read and questions to be answered.
On the morning of the group meeting, everyone discusses their insights with members of their respective discussion group, listens to a lecture from the teaching leader and reads lesson notes that offer further commentary on the scriptures studied that week.
St. Luke will be hosting BSF on Wednesday mornings from 9:15-11:20 starting next week the 10th.