What is left if our Biblical heritage slips beyond our grasp? We ignore the Scriptures and our Christian faith at our peril.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. — 2 Chron 7:14.
A Global Perspective.
Western exceptionalism is rooted in the Bible. It shaped the very soul of our civilization. America became a shining light to the nations because its founding citizens read, reread and ingested God’s Word.
However, in our current secular, post-Christian culture, the Bible has become such a taboo subject that just mentioning it elicits awkward discomfort or even contempt. Sadly, Biblical illiteracy, even amongst Christians, is now almost universal, not only in the United States, but also in Europe and around the globe.
There are huge dangers ahead. The competing truth claims of other world views cannot provide the hope, significance or value that can replace the rich heritage God has given us through His Word.
We forget the Scriptures and our Christian faith at our peril. We need to recover the Bible before our Biblical heritage slips beyond our grasp.
A Twin Cities Perspective
The graph to the right, from a Church Scouts briefing, speaks volumes about trends in the Twin Cities. Key points to note:
- The city’s demographics are changing rapidly, largely through immigration.
- ‘Nones’ (blue line — people who no longer consider themselves as having any religious affiliation) are increasing fast.
- Evangelicals (green line) are declining. Each successive generation since the Boomers is becoming significantly less and less Christian.
Clearly, it would be irresponsible of us to do nothing, and allow the Christian spiritual climate in the Twin Cities to continue deteriorating unabated.
God is the only solution. The following responses therefore merit consideration:
- Pray for revival – for spiritual reawakening in our communities and cities.
- Get back to God’s Word – which transforms people and communities.
- Multiply – multiply disciples, leaders, small groups and churches to sow the gospel far, wide and deep into our culture in order to share with others the Bread of Life and the Light of the World! (Jn 6:35, 8:12).
At the center of it all is our Lord Jesus Christ, and His Word of Truth (Jn 1:1; 14:6). This is why we believe the Village Schools ministry is so vitally important.
Overview of the Cover-to-Cover Bible Survey Course
Village Schools of the Bible helps people study the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation within a year. The main objective of this course is deep spiritual formation through the entire Word of God. Our mission? Teach God’s Word and Transform Lives. A number of features make this course unique.
- Firstly, this Cover-to-Cover Bible Survey course helps people see Jesus Christ as the central, unifying theme of the entire Bible. We call it the Scarlet Thread of Redemption. When people discover for themselves the thematic unity between the various books of the Bible, they see — sometimes for the first time — how extraordinarily coherent and miraculous the Bible is!
- Secondly, this is active — not passive — study. As founder Monty Sholund would say, what you dig out for yourself, you keep forever! Those taking the course are asked to write each week what they are learning from God as they read the Bible. Guided journaling – writing and reflecting — is an important aid to learning, internalizing God’s Word, and thinking through life application.
- Thirdly, carefully selected teachers or mentors accompany students on this journey through the Bible, providing guidance, encouragement and feedback. It’s no wonder that so many say they’re never studied the Bible like this before — and that it’s life changing!
A High Quality Course for All
Students as young as 14 have taken the course — some alongside their parents. Home schoolers can take Cover-to-Cover to fulfil a High School Bible course. And, because of our cooperative relationships with Crown College and the University of Northwestern St-Paul, students headed for tertiary education can earn up to six credits. These are important independent indicators of the value and quality of the Cover-to-Cover course.
Anyone can take the course. Parents and grandparents take it for their own spiritual formation so they can disciple and mentor their children or grandchildren. Small group leaders, teachers and lay people take the course to be better equipped to reach out with the gospel and invest in others’ lives. Churches find Cover-to-Cover to be an effective tool for developing their lay leadership with the Bible knowledge needed to lead their congregations successfully on God’s mission.
The Great Commission (Mt 28:16-20) calls everyone to be a disciple maker – and not just within the confines of the church building. There’s a world to reach – starting right here on our doorstep!
An Expanding Ministry
The Cover-to-Cover course is being offered at an increasing number of churches in the Twin Cities, as can be seen from our Fall Calendar. The Village Schools ministry is expanding in Rochester, MN and Des Moines, IA, and our online platform enables taking the Cover-to-Cover course anywhere in the world.
In addition, we engage younger people with Cover-to-Cover – an important demographic to reach given the generational decline depicted in the trend lines above — and we’re delighted that Cover-to-Cover will be offered for the first time for a high school cohort at South Heights in Burnsville, MN this fall!
As people internalize God’s Word they grow deep in their relationship with God, become passionate and excited about their faith and witness, and develop a more effective spiritual influence in church, at home, at work, and in their communities.
Watch these short video-clips to see what students from various walks of life say about Cover-to-Cover.
- A joint mother/daughter testimony.
- Brad’s testimony about the quality of the course.
- Why Justin believes this course should be for everyone.
If you want to go beyond the ordinary, this course is for you!
We Need Your Help
Given the decline of Biblical literacy the world over, we need your help more than ever. We cannot do this on our own. Help us spread the Word! Please tell people in your circles of influence about Village Schools. We encourage anyone and everyone to take the Cover-to-Cover course. God’s Word is God’s Power (Is 55:11; Ro 1:16; Heb 4:12). This is part of a dynamic, whole life discipleship course for every vocation, for every age and stage of life.
How You Can Help
This is a significant spiritual battle (Eph 6:10-19). We need prayer support on an ongoing basis, so we deeply value your prayers. For our ministry, for the Village family, for our city and nation and beyond, we pray “Thy Kingdom Come!” (Mt. 6:10).
The fee for the Cover-to-Cover course is $258 for both semesters – 16 weeks in the Old Testament, and 16 weeks in the New Testament. We desire to keep the study of God’s Word affordable. We don’t turn away anyone who cannot afford the registration fee, so we offer scholarships. The ministry is heavily subsidized by our donors, for whom we are very grateful. Donors make our ministry possible.
However, we need to spread the load.
Does this ministry line up with your spiritual convictions and philanthropic goals? Here are two easy ways to make a difference:
- Would you consider becoming a sustaining member of Village Schools of the Bible? Just $5 a month can make a difference to help cover our costs. Click here to become a monthly contributor.
- Consider making a contribution to the Monty and Doris Sholund Memorial Fund named after the founder of Village Schools of the Bible, and his wife. This helps fund core aspects of the ministry such as teacher stipends, textbooks and scholarships to help financially challenged students afford Cover-to-Cover fees.
We are always on the lookout for ways to come alongside and help others fulfil the Great Commission. God’s Kingdom business is urgent. If we can come alongside and help your ministry and mission through our Cover-to-Cover Bible Survey course, please let us know. We’re here to serve. Together we can accomplish so much more.
Questions? Need more information?
See the Village Schools of the Bible web site.
Alternatively, email Contact@VillageSchoolsoftheBible.org, or call 952.540.9460.
(The post was written by Warwick Alcock, Director of Strategic Operations, Village Schools of the Bible.)