Diverse Opportunities for Biblical Literacy
A mom with 4 kids under 8 years old. A plumber who works a full-time job. An 18 year-old fresh out of high school. An adult who hasn’t been to school in 30 years. A farmer in Kenya. A teacher in Uganda. A former call-center employee in India.
They all have very different day-to-day experiences. Their gathering place: God’s Word. Over the years, our demographics have diversified more and more, and along with that, our logistical creativity to ensure people have the opportunity to be lifelong learners of God’s Word.
I don’t want to take more time than necessary to give a full synopsis of them here, but consider the diversity: Our Institute Online caters to people who don’t live in proximity to our campus but are interested in our educational curriculum. A night class that particularly accommodates mothers whose husbands watch the children at night while they attend class. Early morning classes that people can take and still be to work by 9am. A ‘neighborhood Bible study’ for those who are interested in gaining skills in their study of the Bible, but aren’t able to attend ‘school’. A class for our cooperatives around the world, who can learn the Bible with examples and context relevant to their cultural setting.
John Edmondson, a husband and father of five, recently joined our ministerial efforts at the age of 42. He’s taking one of our early morning Bible classes that allows him to still work a full time job. He reflects, “I think it’s helped me parcel out my time in a more regimented fashion. I wanted my biblical education to take priority while still being able to provide and be present for my family. Having the flexibility to do just that has helped me immensely.”
And the candid testimony of Amanda Aaseby: “I mean, being a mom of six, I don't know how I could take a class any other way. Who would even do a childcare trade during the day with someone who has six kids?! Learning the Word is so important for a mom, as we are responsible to raise the next generation for the Lord.”
Matthew Parker testified to the benefit of his wife's evening Bible class. "I'm so thankful for this class. My wife comes home, we talk about Jesus. It literally strengthens me and gives me so much joy."
When you value the transformative power of education, you accommodate. In the Scripture, we witness Jesus moving about, finding people in their own settings, teaching them, be it standing on a boat addressing a crowd around the sea or in someone’s home. Likewise with Paul, we see that he has a job as a tentmaker and finds himself teaching people at night, when they would have also been done with the day’s labors (Acts 18:3, 1 Thessalonians 2:9). Jesus and Paul, and others like them throughout history, knew it was worth the effort to accommodate for people in need of understanding the revelation of God.
Jeremiah 31 expresses God's desire for everyone to know him. "I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me." Part of getting to the place where everyone knows the Lord is ensuring all have the opportunity to study his Word, regardless of life circumstance or situation. Whether that means providing classes early in the morning, late at night, or online - we are committed to the cause that all would know God.