You Want Me to Read What?

That was the question many people asked as we launched our Summer Bible Reading Challenge where we read through the entire bible – cover-to-cover – in just 90 days. Our staff was looking for something that we could focus on over the summer to attempt to avoid the sense that we were taking the summer off. I suggested that we read the Bible in 90 days using Zondervan’s program. To reinforce the reading our sr. pastor conducted a through-the-bible sermon series and I facilitated a Sunday morning class using the video series provided by the Bible In 90 days people. Someone who reads very little might feel overwhelmed when attempting a reading regime of this magnitude. Most people would need 30-45 minutes per day to complete the readings. Still, we had dozens of people indicate that they would try it and I had an average of 50 people in my class. I encouraged people to keep on reading – no matter how long it took them.

One of the most gratifying aspects of being a second chair leader is the opportunity to influence these seasons of discipleship. I heard from several people – many of them well into retirement – who had never read the entire bible until now. Others appreciated how reading the bible over a condensed time period helped them understand the bible better as they recognized unifying themes and saw the connections between books and stories.

If you are sitting in the second chair you can bring added value to your church or organization by being aware of various programs, training opportunities, or trends. Often, the first chair leader is consumed with managing the operation and lacks the opportunity to conduct much research in these areas. This is one place where second chair leaders can play a significant role as they keep a variety of potential resources at their fingertips. Over the past year I introduced the Activate small group concept by Nelson Searcy. As a result we have just entered our first semester of groups. This semester corresponds to a sermon series with each group studying the same material. In the next two semesters groups will choose from a wide range of study topics. Last spring we had a month-long emphasis on marriage that we called “The Marriage Project.” We encouraged people to take Prepare-Enrich’s online Couple Check-Up and included a Sunday morning message by Jason Krafsky, author of “Before I Do.” The feedback from that emphasis led to a Marriage Partnership class this fall that my wife and I are leading along with another couple to provide couples with tools to strengthen their marriages. These two emphases (Marriage Project and Activate) along with the Bible In 90 Days came about as a result of my first-hand experience and knowledge of these resources. I use both Prepare-Enrich and Before I Do in our pre-marital counseling and have previously taught through the Bible In 90 Days.

I find two of the best ways to keep informed about new and old resources as a second chair leader is to be active on Twitter and to subscribe to a variety of online blogs. The referrals that are made through these outlets point toward a variety of resources. I have been able to refer various staff members to several of these resources that have added value to their ministry. What are some of the ways that you stay informed about resources that help your church or organization?

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