Celebrating the Bible at Your Church
Guest Blog Post By Shara Willming
A mother of three and wife of 26 years living in Missouri
Sometimes an idea will come to mind and it just won’t let go until you act on it. I had an idea to celebrate and honor the Holy Bible–not only its teachings, but it’s uniqueness as a book. Within one short weekend, I had stations and curriculum all planned out. All that was logistically needed was one hall, 10 tables, one DVD player, five station volunteers and two steering team workers.
Next step, take the proposal to my church pastors for “buy in.” My pastors were very encouraging of the event as they selected music and teaching to support the subject.
They really set the tone for the congregation during the worship service so when the people walked into the event hall they were already in the mindset of honoring and celebrating the Bible.
The idea was to create a special area with displays that a participant could walk through. While viewing the displays, participants could also look at a brochure or “display guide” that described every station’s intended meaning. The display guides and stations were numbered for the viewers to make sure they had the right description for the right display.
I added a quick five-question survey to be detached from the guide. Once completed, the survey was placed into a drawing for a new genuine leather ESV Study Bible. (We used the data from the survey to gauge Bible use in our congregation.)
The stations centered around three general topics: 1) How we got the Bible we have today, 2) how to use the Bible we have today, and 3) how to preserve the Bible we have today. Just to name a few, the stations included:
A used-Bible book drive to donate to a children’s home.
A “three-question” Bible study method.
A video showing how a Bible is made in a factory.
A three-minute monologue from an actor portraying a Bible scribe describing how he writes.
A survey map encouraging owners to identify all the features within their own Bible.
We also had a Bible repair station that was a great success–mainly because the participants could “see” the proof of how dirty their Bibles were.
Every once in a while, you could hear an audible “ewww” from a child who used a cotton wipe on their parents’ Bible. We used a solution of three-parts warm water and one-part, fragrance-free natural baby wash in a glass vase. The Bible owner could get their cotton wipe wet to clean the outer cover of their Bible. In most cases, the amount of dirt washed away was dramatic. This station had an attendant to oversee that no one soaked the cotton wipe and got their pages wet.
Poster-sized art paper was given to anyone who wanted to express their illustration of our theme Bible verse, Psalm 119:105 in art form. We also encouraged other art forms such as photography, poetry and essays. The children liked looking around for their artwork to show their parents. Within the church there aren’t many times that those with the gift of creativity can express themselves in art form. So this display absolutely hit the mark for adults as well as youth.
The main focal point of the exhibit was the 24-foot display of Bibles. I asked church members if they had any “aged Bibles” they would be willing to allow others to see in a timeline type of display. There was a great response to that from our congregation. A friend arranged these Bibles using beautiful fabric, pocket watches, and old pens to show a progression of time. We took the oldest Bible (from 1860) first and displayed the others in date order and continued towards the end with a cassette tape of the Old Testament, a CD, a Kindle, a smart phone and an iPad. All the books and electronics were open to Psalm 119 to show the viewer that the medium had changed over time but the Word of God was still the same. I placed an attendant at this station to make certain that no one touched the items on the table in respect to all the Bible owners.
We have lots of programs and events at church that separate us into groups–such as singles, children, and teens, married, seniors, women and men. But this event drew us all into one room with all ages and Bible study levels on equal ground. I felt there was a renewed passion in honoring God’s Word for the future because of the focus given to it on this Bible Celebration Sunday. If you’d like to contact Shara with any questions about these ideas, you can reach her here.