On July 20-21, over 15 people from various GCI congregations came together at Christ Fellowship Church (one of GCI’s Cincinnati, OH, area congregations) for a workshop led by Cathy Deddo.
Through individual study time, small group interaction and large group discussions, the group studied seven related passages in the Gospel of Mark. The goal was to help each other listen more attentively to the passages so that each person could grow in their understanding of Scripture and their relationship with the Lord, and also grow in their ability to lead interactive small group Bible studies.
Cathy commented on the approach she took in the workshop:
The Bible is unlike any other written word. The Holy Spirit, who inspired these writings for our benefit, can speak to us again today in and through these words. As pastors and small group leaders, we want Bible study to feed people’s actual, real relationship with God and to draw us together in Christ-centered fellowship. In expectation of what the Spirit will do in using these words again, we learned how to tune into the message of the biblical author (Mark in this case). We especially focused on discerning the particular questions Mark raised and the particular answers he gave in his Gospel.
Here are comments from some of the participants:
It was awesome to really dig in. It was like digging for gold. Absolutely wonderful, in-depth study. (Laura Bauer)
I loved doing this study directly from the Scriptures instead of just relying on what someone else is telling us. We should always start at his Word, then move on to reading commentaries and using Bible dictionaries and lexicons. Reading Scripture first really gives us focus and faith in what God is telling us. It helps his Word reach into our hearts when we reach into it and get our hands dirty instead of just standing aside and watching someone else doing the hard work. Thank you, Cathy, for taking us by the hand and showing us how to garden. (Valerie Beverly)
This study in Mark gave me techniques and tools to use as a small group leader in my church. In addition to gaining much insight into the book of Mark, walking through the passages with a focus on ways to engage our groups to more fully connect with God and his message was a treasure. It is such a blessing to have the opportunity to point each other to Christ and see ourselves in light of Scripture. (Carol Bolander)
I enjoyed reading and considering the various Scripture passages and the in-depth analysis of each one. The lectures from Cathy and the comments from workshop participants made the written material come alive. More than ever before, I was seeing Jesus as a real person, living among real people, living a real life, in a real historical setting. The background material and discussions of others helped in seeing the flow of the book, and why Mark wrote in the style that he did. This insight is helpful in comparing Mark to the other Gospels that address the same events. (Bill Roll)