by Eric Barfield
For the past few years Shandon has provided men of all ages a unique opportunity to connect with God and each other through the Men's Morning Bible Study. These 10-week studies are built around in-depth reading, analysis and discussion of a book of the Bible and include self-study, small-group discussion, and great teaching (frequently by Shandon ministers).
Sure, Thursday mornings at 6:30am come early...but here are 8 reasons why I've come to love getting up early on Thursdays (and why you will, too!):
1. I love this Bible study because it is indeed a Bible study.
No spoon-feeding allowed! During the week, I’m expected to read for myself and reflect on the assigned passages, then answer some questions that really make me think. I know I’m supposed to be meditating on Scripture like this anyway, but having the specific class structure really helps with accountability. And the reference-packed study guide serves as an excellent resource for future study and review.
2. I love this Bible study because I get so much out of the small-group discussion.
Hearing another man’s viewpoint on a Scripture passage often adds greater context, wisdom and insight than my own limited experiences, circumstances or comprehension allows. Frequently, I’m adding comments and ideas from the morning’s collaborative discussion that I simply would not have picked up on my own. God's Word is meant to be studied in community--not in isolation only.
God's Word is meant to be studied in community--not in isolation only.
3. I love this Bible study because of the phenomenal master teaching.
Each week master teaching follows the small-group discussion and is often provided by one of our Shandon ministers. As enlightening as the self-study and small-group discussions are, I always gain additional insight and inspiration from the expert teaching of staff and laymen alike.
4. I love this Bible study because it allows me to meet other men.
Let's face it, we men are not known for being as chatty and social as our female counterparts. The Men's Morning Bible Study gives me the opportunity to meet men that I would not otherwise have an opportunity to get to know--particularly men from the other worship service or another Sunday School class, as well as men in other age groups and life stages. This Bible study is the one place where I can guarantee weekly, cross-generational discipleship will take place in my life! On top of that, I’ve built some lasting, meaningful friendships directly from this study.
This Bible study is the one place where I can guarantee weekly, cross-generational discipleship will take place in my life!
5. I love this Bible study because it has built-in accountability.
Knowing there are other men who expect me to be there bright and early each Thursday morning helps on some of those days when the snooze button beckons. Knowing they also expect me to participate with them in the weekly small-group discussion motivates me to complete the assignments throughout the week. (Well, okay, most of the assignments.)
6. I love this Bible study because it has a fixed beginning point and a fixed ending point.
That might not sound very spiritual, but with a super-busy, dynamic schedule I am more likely to create space on my calendar and truly commit to be there each week for a finite period of time.
7. I love this Bible study because it happens first thing in the morning.
With that super-busy schedule, it’s important for me to “get the big rock in the jar first” while still leaving ample time to get to the office. Carving out time early, before the rest of my day begins, ensures that I am prioritizing time with God and in His Word. Sure, those extra minutes of sleep can be tempting, but I never regret sacrificing them for this investment in my walk with Christ.
8. I love this Bible study because it encourages and challenges me.
When I’m in the company of other men who are just trying to live their life for Christ to their utmost, it inspires me to be steadfast in my own commitment to Christ. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” says Proverbs 27:17, and that’s exactly what happens during our Thursday Morning Men’s Bible Study!
I invite you to join me this fall as we study the books of 1 & 2 Timothy. Yes, it means getting up early, and yes, it means weekly "homework." But I promise you that if you commit to making the weekly investment, the spiritual returns will be well worth it.
Sign up now, and join me starting August 27.