Opening More Doors
We could actually be a part of something and watch the church grow.
In Bridgeport, West Virginia, the only Adventist church in Harrison County meets each Sabbath in the local Presbyterian church. Although they don’t yet have their own building, members of the Central Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church are certainly building relationships.
In response to the Discover Bible School mailings, the Central Hills church has received more than 300 requests for Bible studies—just from within Harrison County. Pastor James Volpe and his 30 church members are doing their best to keep up. Some of the most active members include Angela, 21, Heather, 20, and Lee, 22.
“We were driving from house to house,” remembers Heather, “handing out the first two lessons, and asking people if they wanted to have personal visits or continue the lessons through the mail. One of the ladies we met requested that we return, so Angela and I decided that we would do it. We studied with her every week.
“That winter her son committed suicide. We quit doing Bible studies, but we’d still visit her. We helped her around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sometimes she comes to church.” Heather and Angela have since resumed the Bible studies with this student.
While Lee doesn’t give personal Bible studies, he jumped in and organized the mailings. “I make sure the completed lessons get graded and sent back so that person can start on their next lesson. If a month goes by and we haven’t heard from the Bible student, then we follow-up and make sure that we keep in contact with them.”
While the members of the Central Hills church have been supportive, the church’s young people have especially enjoyed being involved.
“Our youth group has gotten a lot stronger,” says Angela. “I’ve always liked to be involved in some way—I just didn’t know how.”
“I think this is one of the first times we could put into practice all of the stuff we hear every week; we could actually be a part of something and watch the church grow,” adds Lee.
Heather believes that giving personal Bible studies is one of the best methods for church growth and spiritual commitment. “All of the youth were together, delivering the lessons. Then once Angela and I started giving Bible studies, I enjoyed it. It made me grow spiritually.
“We had an [evangelistic] seminar coming to the area, but by us doing the Bible studies and getting out—that helped our church to grow. It opens a lot more doors.”