Baptists from more than 15 countries have downloaded student guides for a Lenten Bible study offered by the Baptist Center for Ethics free of charge.
About 560 copies of the student guide of Eyeing Easter, Walking Through Lent: A Bible Study With Global Baptists had been downloaded through Tuesday, said Jan Turrentine, managing editor of Acacia Resources, the BCE’s publishing imprint. The eight-week study designed for use in adult Sunday school begins Feb. 18, the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
The resource is unique in that it challenges Baptists to reflect on the 40 days leading up to Easter through Bible studies illustrated with examples of Baptists around the world who minister faithfully despite hardship. The lessons are co-sponsored by the Baptist World Alliance.
Authors represent Baptist communities in the United States, Canada, Lebanon and the Czech Republic. Because of that international flavor, nearly one fourth of the lessons downloaded are from countries other than the United States. Downloads came from places like Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, China and Zimbabwe. Others downloading lessons are from Argentina, Thailand, India, Ghana, Guatemala and South Africa.
Sunday school teacher Julia Vargas said she plans to use the study in her single-adult class at First Baptist Church in Jefferson City, Mo.
“Many Baptists focus on the joy of the Resurrection without mention of the season of Lent,” Vargas said. “This Lenten Bible study will allow us to explore the struggles worldwide of poverty and other forms of social injustice. As we look at these issues, the need for redemption becomes more apparent; and the call for our witness and social action becomes more urgent. I am looking forward to using this Bible study in our class.”
Rebecca Husband Maynard, associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Elkin, N.C., said she planned to adapt some of the lessons for use in 8:30 a.m. “alternative” worship service, where sermons typically are preached in story form.
Merilyn Carey of Canberra Baptist Church in the Capital Territory of Australia said the 250-member congregation would use the studies in small groups and for a sermon series linked to the group studies. “I think this has been a great initiative, and I am looking forward to sharing the studies with my group members,” she said.
Starr Lamarche of First Baptist Church of Capreol in Ontario, Canada, plans to use it for a ladies’ Bible study.