That the whole church become more fluent in the first language of faith, the language of Scripture, in order that we might live into our calling as a people renewed,enlivened, empowered and sent by the Word.

Book of Faith Initiative vision Statement.
The Book of Faith Initiative was passed at the 2007 Churchwide Assembly as a five year effort to increase biblical literacy and encourage congregations and synods to engage more deeply into our Book of Faith, the Bible, for the sake of mission and service to the world.

The result has been a wealth of excellent resources for bible studies on all levels.

However many are not aware of these resources and they have not been as used as they could be.  Part of the problem is that, from the
beginning, there has been some confusion and uncertainty as to what exactly *is* Book of Faith?

Much of that confusion stems from the old model of Churchwide coming out with a Bible Study with a unified program and curriculum to be implemented in all churches in the same way.  Some will remember the Bethel and Search Bible Studies and may have expected something similar.

Book of Faith is something different.

The days of One Size Fits All Bible studies (or any kind of programs) are over.  Everything is contextual.  Not only will different congregations
approach Scripture differently, but there is probably need for several
different kinds of bible studies in the same congregations.

The best way to explain it, says Diane L. Jacobson Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Luther Seminary, and Director of the Book of Faith Initiative for the ELCA, is to view it as an invitation to “Open Scripture and Join the Conversation”

“One ofthe exciting things about the Lutheran Church,” says Dr. Jacobson, “is that we are a Book of Faith Church.”

“What we do together is open the book and join the conversation.”

What it is really all about is getting people into Scripture.   Time has become more and more precious to church members and families and it can be a challenge to find what will work to get those scripture conversations going.

But all congregation renewal and individual spiritual growth begins and is rooted in an ongoing conversation with Scripture.

How are you joining the conversation?  If you have found some helpful ways to engage people in conversation with Scripture, tell us about it in the comments.
Book of Faith Resources
A new resource that invites congregations and groups to a conversation that centers on one biblical story that they identify as their defining story. The hope is that extensive engagement with their chosen passage will help the congregation to form their identity as a missional community, to deepen their practice of faith, and to live out their specific vocation as called and a sent community of disciples.

 

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.

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