As Melanie wrote last night, I was able to launch “The Daily Reader – Reading through the Bible together in 2009” at church yesterday. This is an exciting but simple concept. Let me explain more.
Many Christians have never successfully read through the whole Bible, although a good number have started (often on January 1st!) Often the concept of reading through the Bible is viewed as a burden, a duty, a pressure. At Oakhall Church this next year we want to make it a blessing, a delight, a privilege. We want a guilt-free approach to reading God’s word and we want to try and encourage one another through the process.
So we have four elements that will go toward encouraging one another as we read through God’s Word in 2009. First, a “Daily Reader – Reading Plan.” This will take us through the Old Testament and the New Testament during the year. I enjoyed skimming through the Bible recently and working out every reading for the year. We will be using the Hebrew Bible order for the Old Testament, and the New Testament is rearranged to avoid reading four gospels back to back. Second, a “Daily Reader – Monthly News.” This is a monthly news sheet that will go out just prior to each month containing motivating mini-articles, brief testimonies, and one paragraph introductions to each book that will begin during the next month of the reading plan.
Third, we are urging people to find encouragement partners. I deliberately avoid the term “accountability partners” because they tend to make us feel guilty. Instead, we want people to connect with one person for mutual encouragement. Perhaps a phone call, an email or a chat once a week or every other week. Some may get together and read highlights, others may just “check in” and encourage. Also, as people pray before they read their daily reading, perhaps they will also pray for their encouragement partner. This should add a personal element to the church-wide ethos of encouragement. Fourth, we will hold several special events during the year. I’ll tell you more about these when the time comes.
We’re excited about The Daily Reader. Whether it is the first time people will read through the whole Bible, or the fiftieth time, it is exciting! What about you? Do you have Bible plans for 2009? Perhaps you’d like to enjoy God’s Word all the way through? I estimate 10-15 minutes a day will be adequate for most of the daily readings. If you are an “Oakhaller,” more reading plans will be available next Sunday (they went like hot-cakes yesterday!) If you are not at Oakhall, I’m sure no-one will mind if you want to join in too – I can email the reading plan, and maybe I’ll put the book intros on this site each month. But you will have to find your own encouragement partner and plan your own special events (although you are welcome to copy ours!)