Friday, March 18, 2005

Hymnals & Pew Bibles, Part 4

Check out the very spirited comments in response to yesterday's post! I am not surpised that some feel passionate about these matters. I like that conviction. I also like this blog as way to float balloons and test the waters as we make decisions and try to move forward by God's grace and for His Glory. Fun stuff.

Ok, so I thought that my idea to give away pew Bibles on an ongoing basis was an original brainchild! So much for that thought. Several series commenters suggested the same idea and refrenced churches that already are doing this.

That's our vision, albeit apparently not original. Grace Church, SLO has so many visitors each Sunday. It kind of blows me away. I came from a much more static environment. Grace is much more dynamic. I love this about Grace. Add it to the list! Its exciting to know with confidence that each Sunday I am preaching to many who have not yet trusted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Its also a unique challenge. . . . to edify and evangelize at the same time all the time. . . . to put Biblical material on every shelf and across the spiritual maturity spectrum. We have folks coming who don't know how to use a Bible and perhaps don't own a Bible. Do you realize that? Do you think about that? What can we do to equip them and put God's transforming Word in their hands?

In an attempt to be "missional' in our minsitry, we will purchase pew Bibles and include in them a bookmark that says something like the following?

Do you need a Bible? Please accept this one as a gift from Grace Church, SLO. We believe that God's Word is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of God for salvation and transformation for all who believe. (Rom. 1:17) We're glad that you are here with us and would welcome the opportunity to answer any spiritual or life questions that you might have. Please feel free to contact any one of our ministry staff at any time. Thanks for worshipping with us at Grace Church, SLO.

(Also included on the bookmark will be an explanation of why we use the version we use. . . .foreshadowing a future post, but I can't spill all the beans here, can I?)

We were considering softcover pew Bibles that would be given away, but have come to the conclusion that soft covers will get chewed up pretty quickly. We've discovered that modest hard cover Bibles are actually quite affordable and will last. . . . a better investment and a better giveaway.

Helen has suggested in an earlier comment that "by replacing the hymnals with Bibles you are defeating your purpose to get people to bring their own Bibles and take notes in them. People will be less likely to bring their own because they will be so easily accessible." She could be right. Time will tell. That's the last thing we want to see happen and we work hard to see that it doesn't through continual and intentional communication. In addition, I believe that the long-time core of Grace Church, SLO is accustomed to bringing and using their own Bibles and will model this value along the way.

So what do you think?

1 comment:

penny m said...

When Ted and I were attending First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, Pastor Larry would reference the page number in the pew Bible of the passage he was speaking on. The first few Sundays I heard that, I'd smile because it sounded a little strange... "Please turn to Matthew, chapter 4; that's page 815 in the Bible in front of you"...but then I noticed that more people started taking the Bibles from the pew and actually turning to the passage. No one needed to be embarrassed that they didn't know where to look. Maybe putting a page number in the bulletin could accomplish the same thing, but the point is getting a Bible into everyone's hands. A side note about the hymns... I love the way Pastor Al incorporates both old and new in the worship time. Reading the songs in a book isn't as important as singing them and the impact they make in your heart.

God bless what's going on at Grace!