The Roots of Faith – in a Local Church
The Roots of Faith Old Testament and New Testament courses – will they work in a local church?
The response has been tremendous, as many people who had been Christians and regular church attenders for many years eagerly joined in along with folks who had had little Bible teaching. During the first 40 lessons the Sunday school attendance increased and people regularly commented on how much they were learning.
Dave Southwell, recently-retired ABWE Executive Director for Latin America, moved to his home area in northern Michigan and quickly became engaged in the ministry of his home church, Calvary Baptist Church in Kalkaska, Michigan, a church which now averages in attendance approximately 120 on Sunday mornings. Dave recruited his nephew, a highly respected public school elementary teacher, to assist him in launching The Roots of Faith Bible courses in the church. Here’s their story:
When my wife and I retired from active ministry with ABWE, it was our desire to give back to our sending church. One of the ways we thought we could do that was to offer them The Roots of Faith Bible courses, both Old and New Testaments. It was to be a two-year project. I wanted a team of teachers so Mike Southwell traveled to Harrisburg, PA and took The Roots of Faith Old Testament course in June 2015.
We started team-teaching the Old Testament “Roots” course to a combined adult Sunday school class in September of that year. In the spring of 2016 we brought another church leader/teacher into the team. We finished the Old Testament that September and, after a couple weeks off, we started the New Testament course in October 2016, finishing the end of October 2017. Over the two years we took some Sundays off for special days (Easter Sunday, July 4 weekend, etc.)
We set up one-third of our multipurpose room with round tables and chairs for the adult Sunday school time. Nearly everyone joined in to remove the tables and rearrange the chairs for the morning service. We were able to produce the large wall maps used in the course and had them strategically placed on the walls. Flip charts were placed in the room and used some weeks also. Some people took their notebooks home, but mostly they left them at the church during the week.
The attendees participated eagerly and our total adult attendance grew from an average of about 27 to about 38. The adults eagerly participated and over the years we heard regular, and many, comments on how much they were learning and enjoying the course.
We certainly would encourage all churches to consider teaching this course in one of their regular programs, whether Sunday School or other Bible study time. It should be considered not only for adults but also for junior high and high school ages where it could prepare younger minds early on and before leaving home for work or further schooling.
Church leader: “What has the Roots of Faith meant to Calvary Baptist Church? We started the Roots of Faith class for all our adults just as our pastor left for another ministry and over two years we studied through the OT and then the NT course. It was a key factor at that crucial time to establish unity in our church and provided continuity through the calling of a new pastor. The number of adults attending SS increased to nearly double over the two years. I have heard it stated, “I hate to miss a Sunday and miss a lesson.”
I have been attending church since a child, but the Roots of Faith class reinforced my past learning and taught many new things. The chronological approach to teaching really puts the Bible stories in a context to help our understanding of them. The interactive approach really helps in learning also. This course was a game-changer in how we teach as a church.
New and growing church member: We learned a great deal about the lineage of God’s chosen people. We also learned how God set his plan from ages past and Jesus knowing he would perish for or sins and that he was persecuted, yet was without sin.
Long-time members: We found the Roots of Faith very interesting and informative. The history in the OT helped us understand the reason for what’s happening in the world today and it also ties into the NT clearly. So much information is packed into each lesson and we had to move on a little too fast to digest all of it, but we are glad we have the lesson notebook to go back to.
We never knew Abraham’s family worshiped the moon. I can understand why God told him to move away. I always thought he knew the truth about the one true God. That tells us why so many people are so confused about salvation.
We continue to hear positive comments on how much people have learned as well as how it has helped create a fun and positive atmosphere in the church body that has carried over to other areas of the church’s ministries.
The Roots of Faith Bible Courses
Learn more about The Roots of Faith courses and how you can be equipped and certified to teach them in your ministry.