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The Book of Faith
The purpose of the Book of Faith Initiative is to increase biblical literacy and fluency for the sake of the world.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has made a commitment to encourage all members of our congregations, from children to adults, to dig deeper into our book of faith, the Bible. The Book of Faith Initiative recommends a new model for our church—a grass-roots approach embracing a common vision in which all are invited to open scripture and join the conversation. Each community is encouraged to decide how the Book of Faith Initiative will become a vital part of its own ministry.
First, print out and read the information sheet that outlines the purposes, goals, and resources of Book of Faith. Next, read your copy of “Opening the Book of Faith.” This is a core resource. If you don’t have one, order from Augsburg Fortress for $12.99 ($10.99 with church discount).
Register Your Congregation
Book of Faith makes good use of the web and social networking. Start with the Book of Faith site. Click on “become part of the initiative.” Fill out the form. Check off the ideas you would like to pursue and add some of your own. (Already you are moving toward an important goal – to have 75% of the congregations register a commitment.)
Then for something new – and exciting – add your profile to the social networking site. Join the conversation about the Book of Faith that goes on 24/7.
Begin the Conversation at Home
Spread the word to leaders and members. Get them involved. They too can register at the Book of Faith site and join the conversation on the social networking site. Download logos to help with the promotion. Share the vision with the Church Council. Invite their commitment.
Take Some Actions
Unlike other programs, Book of Faith does not rest on a specific course or resource. Rather, it aims simply to make folks feel more at home with and comfortable using the Bible and it language that expresses our faith. There are many ways to do this. New ideas emerge all the time – and the social networking site is the place to share them! What’s your idea?
Consider these starter ideas:
Study “Opening the Book of Faith.” A study guide and DVD are available to facilitate a seven-session study of this key book. Plan to start at least one study group.
Get a Picture of Your Congregation. How do the people feel about the Bible? What role does it play in their life? What are their questions? You can find individual and group assessment tools in the back of “Opening the Book of Faith” or download them here.
Use Bible Bites. Individuals share a favorite Bible verse(s). Then they talk for a minute or two about why that verse has meaning for their life and experience. This could be a way to start all committee meetings. Try it during worship services.
Add Tabs. Many folks have trouble navigating through 66 books. Encourage them to use Bible index tabs.
Pre-mark Bibles. When giving Bibles to children and youth, first have some key people underline their favorite Bible verse(s). This shares the faith across generations. It also encourages them to mark up the Bible on their own.
Pull out Pew Bibles. Encourage worshippers to follow the readings in their pew Bible. Announce the page number, and give time for them to locate the passage.
Promote Starter Studies. Devote the first five or ten minutes of each meeting to a brief study of a Bible passage. “Opening the Book of Faith” has four easy-to-use ways to go about these starter studies.
Expect More to Come
Like an organism, the Book of Faith Initiative grows and evolves. The whole ELCA community feeds in the ideas that shape it from day to day. You can expect:
More information through Conference meetings.
An emphasis at the Synod Assembly.
Leader training to equip people to guide the four types of Bible study in “Opening the Book of Faith” in various settings.
Further resources to help people grow in understanding and appreciation of Scripture.