The ‘Why’ Behind the BSF Discussion Group
By Susie Rowan – Former BSF Executive Director
In the Acts and Letters of the Apostles study, we learn from 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” This chapter teaches us that the Body has many parts, and we desperately need one another. In fact, we grow and are built up in love as people in the body of Christ come together. To be built up in love is the antidote to loneliness and withdrawal.
“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:6).
We Grow Together
Christian growth accelerates in community, not in isolation. That’s why we are part of a body – the body of Christ, His Church. It requires immersion. We must embrace small-group attendance in our churches and in BSF groups, whether online or face-to-face.
As C.S. Lewis wrote, “He (God) works on us in all sorts of ways. But above all, He works on us through each other. Men are mirrors or carriers of Christ to other men. Usually it is those who know Him that bring Him to others. That is why the church, the whole body of Christians showing Him to one another is so important.”
God uses Christian community to get us off the wrong path and onto a path of righteousness and peace
God also uses Christian community to heal our deep hurts. In community we are forgiven, we are loved, we experience grace. As my pastor said in a recent sermon, “It is through life-giving relationships that God heals the wounds of our hearts.”
The ‘how’ behind a thriving group
At BSF Headquarters, we begin each day in Bible study, sharing and prayer. We gather at tables of six to seven and share what’s going on in our lives – at home, in our families and at work.
In this safe place, I’ve shared my joys, my brokenness, my victories, my defeats. And my colleagues, whom I love more and more each day, share theirs. And we pray for one another. It is a precious time that has allowed each of us to draw closer to God and to one another.
My hope is that deep, transparent, honest and open sharing would happen in every BSF group across the globe. Together, we can find a deeper relationship with God, who heals the wounds of our hearts and compels us to “increase and abound in love for one another and for all …” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).
I pray we would find friends who speak truth to one another in a way that builds us up rather than tears us down. We need to be loved, and we need to be challenged.
So, what is the cure for loneliness and isolation? Christian community! It’s essential for spiritual growth and maturity. When we focus on Christ’s righteousness in place of our shortcomings, we can build caring, encouraging and loving friendships.
What must we do? We must refuse the temptation to withdraw. Yes, questions, notes and other BSF materials are available without regularly coming to class. But what do we lose? We lose one another. My challenge to you is to show up and open up.
Together, let us experience God through one another for His majesty and our maturity!
BSF Former Executive Director
Under Susie’s leadership as executive director, BSF membership has grown to serve more than 385,000 adults and 66,000 children worldwide, and the ministry has introduced BSF Online and WordGo Bible study platforms, and four new studies – Isaiah, Revelation, and People of the Promised Land I and II (Part II coming in 2022). Susie and her husband, Roger, have been married for 45 years and have two children, Jerry and Sally, and four grandchildren.