The United Methodist Church is set to debut an online Bible study beginning March 14, where participants will have an opportunity to explore and discuss contemporary topics and how they relate to the Christian faith in response to the call to Rethink Church. Participants who sign on for the Encounter Faith Bible study, available for free at RethinkChurch.org/encounterfaith, will be looking through a lens of faith at timely issues making headlines and creating conversation, such as the demonstrations in North Africa and the Middle East.
The Encounter Faith Bible study is specially designed so that participants with different levels of knowledge can join the discussion. They need not be experts on Bible history or Scripture to participate.
“This is a new environment for dialogue designed to appeal to both long standing Christians and newcomers to faith,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “This study is for anyone who has a curiosity about how faith connects to life, an interest in mainstream topics, and a desire to be part of an online community.”
United Methodist Communications collaborated with the United Methodist Publishing House to produce the online version of Cokebury’s popular FaithLink: Connecting Faith and Life curriculum, which is known for taking hot topics—from headline makers to faith questions—and making them the focus for Bible study. Encounter Faith also complements the theme of the Rethink Church Lenten series, “Fearless: The Courage to Question.”
The Rev. Jacob Armstrong, a dynamic young pastor, will facilitate the six-week study. Armstrong, who is pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., will post guiding questions, as well as respond to many of the comments posted by participants. He will anchor a weekly podcast and webinar that are downloadable for use in local churches, as well.
Local church users should consider downloading these resources as conversation starters for small groups. While excerpts of FaithLink will be available for free online, the complete study is available for purchase at www.cokesbury.com/faithlink and is recommended for local church use.