Question: Why would someone (me) accept a job (coordinator of Homes of Hope) knowing nothing about giving Bible studies? Answer: Well, Mama and Papa trained you to help if the church asks. Next: You listen to books, take a class from Don McFarlane, pray and listen to Direction.
Bottom Line: Listening is difficult, but it is the most important part of leading any soul-winning job - period. Here are five lessons learned from Sligo's Homes of Hope.
Never Give Up: For over a year Ester and Berilo Bacud's Home of Hope met weekly, but after returning from a two month trip to the Philippines, everyone in their group found other things to do and the group disbanded. Are the Bacud's discouraged? "If they don't come to us, we'll go to them." Mrs. Betty Johnson was re-united with the Adventist church after Ester and Berilo studied in the Johnson's home. Ivybelle Roye has studied with three women for three years and she'll never give up.
Every Home of Hope Works Through Challenges: Groups get creative about meeting times, the curriculum to be used, and whether or not to serve food. Sligo's largest home-based coordinators, Carol and James Hammond, invite friends, family and neighbors to their home on the second Sabbath of every month for Potluck lunch. Then the group spends an hour or two on selected topics. Matthew Daley, because he lives far from Sligo, runs four Bible study groups in different rooms at Sligo Church on Sabbath afternoons. Two of his groups created their own curriculum. None serves food. Elizabeth Abel's free-lance study of John uses Sligo's "John: A Gospel of Hope" as homework. Yolanda Rodrigues and Nilde Landim teach their lively Takoma Park group in Portuguese.
Relationships are the Unifying Priority: Successful groups invite as many non-Adventists as Adventists. The Jeanette Bryson/ Anees Abdelnour/ Alex Joseph team keeps in touch with their group by e-mail, texts or phone. You are definitely missed if you don't attend. Constant reach-out is a characteristic of all effective Homes of Hope groups. In the home setting you'll get to know a person's joys and burdens through prayer and praise.
Wisdom Comes Through Prayer: At just the right time God sends the right help. Norman Martin finds music on YouTube to enhance the study of a Psalm for Douglas Wear's group. Your Prayer Assistant "prays you out" when the discussion gets into rocky terrain. Prayer helps you find the right message, often in Bibles with study notes - like the Andrew's Study Bible, and the SDA Commentary on-line, and Ellen White's writings. Prayer and study help tough topics fall into place. Ask Discussion Leader Fitzroy Thomas in June Germain's group.
Crazy Inviting keeps a Group Renewed: Manuel and Vicki Rosette will tell you - - stretch the imagination and issue personal invitations to non-church members letting them know that, 'This is a safe place to unmask.' It's scary, but neighbors must be invited to learn of Jesus. Groups that last are those that keep new people coming ahead of those that leave.
You are Needed: If you don't know anything about the soul-winning business, come...listen to your heart and join us. There's nothing like a little fear to start a renewed prayer life and to make a lot of new friends. Just say, Yes!