What's New in BSFA new year. A new study. And new ways to engage in God's Word.
I am not a prophet. (You can write that down.)
Several years ago (at the turn of the millennium), when I was a teaching leader in Kentucky, class members often asked me two common questions: “When will BSF release a study of Revelation?” and “When is BSF going to translate its material?” In both cases, my answer was emphatic: “No way! Do you know how hard (translating) or controversial (Revelation) that is?”
Now, here we are. Revelation is in our rear-view mirror, having blessed more than 475,000 men, women, boys and girls three years ago with the wonderful story of God’s consummation of His perfect plan of redemption. Meanwhile, translation has been woven into the fabric of Headquarters’ normal operating procedure. We produce more than 50,000 copies of each lesson in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Spanish. In addition, BSF now has 15 non-English-language classes and hundreds of non-English hybrid and satellite discussion groups around the world.
Look at what God has done!
And look at what He is doing!
As you begin your study of People of the Promised Land I, we are ecstatic about all the new things God has provided to allow current and new members to come and engage with the Lord through His Word in the community of our classes.
If you haven’t checked out your new member website, mybsf.org, go there now! (I’ll wait.)
(Pssssst! If you haven’t created a mybsf.org account yet, now’s the time. If you need help, a leader can help at class. That’s what’s community is all about.)
Are you in? Isn’t it awesome?!
People love their paper lessons, and we have no plans to eliminate the material you pick up at class. But if you want to store your lesson material on your iPad or read the notes on your Kindle or listen – yes, listen! – to your notes on your smartphone on the drive to work or your morning run, it’s all there! In Spanish and Chinese, too! (I’ve overused my quota of exclamation points, because, yes, I am excited!!)
What else is new?
Here are just a few new things in BSF:
- A new blog home: You may have noticed this blog post has new surroundings. This is where you’ll find the latest BSF stories, and we’ll soon load those we’ve posted in the past. We hope you like the place.
- We’re more flexible and accessible. Repeat after me: “The four-fold approach has not changed. The four-fold approach has not changed.” BSF remains committed to the rhythm of 1. Personal study of Scripture. 2. Group discussion of the passage. 3. Expository teaching. 4. Rich study notes. There is no greater transformative power than the Word of God. However, BSF has allowed flexibility and some customization to meet the cultural context of our classes. These include discussion-group options, shorter class nights, lecture at the beginning of class in some classes, immediate onboarding of new members and access to lesson material and lectures to those on the waiting list, to name a few.
- Where did my Home Discussion Pages go? They’re now called the Daily Dive. You don’t have to be a BSF member to download them. Like the HDPs, they follow the same Scripture classes follow each week, with a couple questions for each section and principles. Plus, on the back we have added weekly an Attribute of God and a Basic Truth of the Christian Faith. This material can be downloaded and used for family study in the home, personal study or copied and used in groups, such as Sunday school classes or small-group study.
- Look at all the free stuff! While there is no fee to be part of a BSF class, we have accessible and new free content for non-members: Attributes of God; Basic Truths of the Christian Faith; Preschool Hymns; Basic Truth Songs and our library of Home Training Lessons.
- Online BSF: More than 600 group leaders have been or are in the process of being approved to lead online discussion groups. This means more than 9,000 people who are unable to attend a physical BSF class can participate online, where members have experienced deep, rich discussion with members from other parts of the world. But this new BSF component is still in process. Many are waiting to be contacted or placed while we get final pieces in place. Therefore, we need your fervent prayers that God would provide even more leaders and integration of our technology to handle the increasing demand, so even more people can be engaged in God’s Word through BSF.
- Online registration: We were shooting for the launch of an online registration process for incoming members to all classes, but technology glitches have caused a delay. Please pray as we iron out the details that will make the registration process even sleeker. We hope to have that ready later this fall.
- Giving is quick and easy: We are thankful for how God has provided for this ministry through the years. Our presses, personnel, technology, operations and initiatives come at a significant cost, and we are grateful for those who have given so generously. Meanwhile, the need for financial support continues to grow, especially as we develop dynamic resources and means to reach deeper into the world with God’s Word. Classes will always have a freewill offering plate. But for those who wish to give online, we have made donating easier. Check it out at https://www.bsfinternational.org/give.
- Questions?: While there’s more to come, let me close by turning us back to God’s Word. BSF questions are designed to help shepherd members through God’s perfect Word. No time is more valuable than your personal time with the Lord. Taken to heart, this leads to transformation of our lives, joyful witness and a burning desire to share truths God has revealed to us through the Bible. This leads to authentic, Spirit-led discussion in our groups, with our families and even among those who don’t yet know the Lord. God’s Word is meant to be shared. Deep heart connection with God comes through His Word plus authentic biblical community. Spending time in solitude with God in study and prayer is necessary. But Christian growth accelerates in community. So, spend time in the Word daily, come to class, engage in discussion and see what God does in your life and in the lives of others.
All this change and new things are not for BSF’s sake, but for the glory of God. Join us in prayer as we – Headquarters staff and members around the world – raise our arms in worship of the One who is worthy and then as we reach out and engage a world that desperately needs to know the glory of His holy name.
“The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.”
— Psalm 28:8-9
Your weekly questions. Study notes (in PDF, ereader or audio formats). Class lectures. Chinese and Spanish material. And more. It’s all right here in our new member website.