Love the Bible, Love Reading the Bible
Director of Word of Life Ministry
Last November was the time we celebrated the 7th anniversary of Word of Life Bible Study Series with heartfelt thanksgiving.
Seven years ago, a question brought forward by a staff and a board director of CGST, “Why don’t we have a Chinese Bible study class similar to that of Bible Study Fellowship?”, coupled with the vision of President Emeritus Carver Yu: “A seminary must walk together with the churches, help believers to love the Bible, and build up the lives of our brothers and sisters firmly on the Word of God”, gave birth to a program to bless brothers and sisters through studying the Bible – the Word of God. From the first class of 120 people to the enrolment of nearly 18,000 people each term this year, we have students across Hong Kong, USA, Canada and Australia. “Love the Bible; Love Reading the Bible” is the slogan of this ministry.
China Graduate School of Theology (CGST) is a “graduate school”. In fact, she is more than a graduate school— she is a seminary, an organization which walks alongside the churches. She serves churches and cares how the churches are doing. CGST trains graduate level brothers and sisters to enter into church ministry, also trains believers of high school level and above to be church leaders by her “Theological Education by Extension (TEE)”. Previously, CGST had started a full-time program to train grassroots evangelical workers. At the moment, the “Certificate for Homemakers Program” offered by TEE nurtures all homemakers regardless of their education level. The Word of Life Ministry further brings theological education to Christian community in churches and offers them a systematic approach to study the Bible.
This ministry is named “Word of Life,” indicating our deep conviction that the Bible not only relates to our lives, but also brings abundant lives. However, many believers have no idea how to read the Bible properly and thus find the Bible daunting. They often shelve this precious gift from God or would only read it during church worship. Through assignment, worship, group discussion and expository preaching, the Word of Life ministry aims to enable students personally to experience the Word of God as not “just idle words for you – they are your life” (Deuteronomy 32:47) and to nurture in their hearts a love and desire for the Word of God. The assignment is developed on the basis of O-I-A (Observation, Interpretation, Application) so that students understand the structure of the passage and its key message through working on the assignment. The worship and group discussion let students experience the fellowship and mutual support of a group of believers. The Bible exposition in the form of lectures emphasizes the importance of biblical knowledge and the messages they carry so that students can see how the Bible lives in their lives.
We believe in the life transformation power of the Word of God, we also understand human weaknesses and deficiency. Many believers claim to be disciples of Christ but pay little attention to the basic character and decency of a human being such as punctuality, self-discipline, obedience, trustworthiness and a respect for others. We therefore introduce in our program some regulations for students to practice their faith through basic character formation.
”Word of Life” is indeed a program offered by a seminary, we are grateful to be able to cooperate and partner with churches. We hope that this Bible study series can become one of the teaching ministries of churches and can go hand-in-hand with their other nurturing courses to build up the spiritual life of their congregation. The “Word of Life” classes are free of charge so as not to create any financial burden on brothers and sisters and to allow all who have a desire for spiritual growth to attend and enjoy the Lord’s banquet. Our information shows that we are now partnering with more than 180 churches just within Hong Kong.
Commemorating the 7th anniversary, I come with a thanksgiving heart to thank the Lord for this opportunity to serve. I also convey my deep gratitude to all volunteers, including brothers and sisters in the US, Canada and Australia, who have given a lot for this ministry. They faithfully serve in various positions including venue management, core group leaders, ushers, worship teams and so forth. We are also thankful to the church pastors for their participation and support which have given us the opportunity to serve Christ together.
May all glory be to our Father in heaven. Amen.