Online Bible Study and Formation in the time of COVID-19

by Steve Matthews
Online Bible Study

This post on forming an online Bible study is part of a blog series on
“Keeping Congregations Connected in the Face of COVID-19”
Click here for the previous post

“Our intention creates our reality”
Wayne Dyer

I grew up in an area that prided itself on self-sufficiency and hard work.   The phrase “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” still resonates in my mind as a corrective for not meeting my goals.  Today, I think differently.  Intentions matter.  Intentions can be like cairns that point me in the right direction and help navigate me toward my goals and where I feel the Spirit may be leading me.

Last week Ken Howard wrote in his blog about online Bible Studies and formation in a COVID-19 world.  As you think about your church landscape in this reality and in the reality(s) to come, what are your intentions for spiritual formation and Bible Study?  What do you want the harvest of these online gatherings to be?  Who do you want to be there?  As most churches continue to rely heavily on online watering holes, FaithX provides resources that can help you with your intentions to invite your neighbors into these online gatherings.  It seems like a great time to hold an intention for invitation to online community.  Many of your neighbors may not want to walk into church, but meeting online is often less threatening (and less committal), so why not use this resource to learn about your neighbors and invite them into your programming?

“Missional Context Reports” (MCRs) are a great way to help you learn more about your neighbors so that you can be hospitable and intentional in the way you design programming and invite them into opportunities for online Bible study, fellowship and faith formation.  In an MCR you will learn about the lifestyles of your neighbors: their education, income, ways they spend their free time, ways they spend their money… their tendencies toward institutional religion.  You will even be given tips into ways you might reach out to them, making an online Bible study and other programs that much more enriching for everyone.

Looking at this one neighborhood in Richmond, VA, each color represents a unique tapestry of income, education, interests, and diversity – that’s six different population profiles and innumerous opportunities to create online connections – connections that build relationships and relationships that share God’s love. What is your intention for connection as you plan your spiritual formation opportunities? Are your intentions broad, energetic, curious, and hospitable enough to include your neighbors?  What if the way to heaven is paved with good intentions? 

A close up of a map

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Want to help your congregation more effectively engage the neighborhoods it serves?

Click here to schedule a
no cost preliminary missional intelligence discussion
and receive a sample Neighborhood Missional Intelligence Report
for your location

Those who engage a full Neighborhood Missional Assessment or other consultative program from FaithX will receive a complete NMIR in interactive (dynamic HTML) format.

Important Note: A Neighborhood Missional Intelligence Report can also be a useful tool for identifying the prevalence of at risk groups within your membership and ministry areasand a Neighborhood Missional Assessment can help you identify the neighborhoods where they are most prevalent.

We have reduced the cost of NMIRs and NMAs by 10% for the duration of the COVID19 pandemic.

Want to help your judicatory identify emerging missional opportunities and challenges within its boundaries?

Click here to schedule a demo/discussion
of MapDash for Faith Communities
for Strategic Missional Planning

Important Note: In the days ahead Datastory will be adding COVID-related data to MapDash to all current and future subscribers (including incidence of COVID-19, hospital locations and capacity, Twitter feeds, location of doctors).

FaithX is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and Ken’s faith-based consulting practice at FaithX is carried out under an extension of ministry from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.