Bible Study Resource Stirs Massive Response

Parish

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Hastings, Minnesota
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis
United States

More Info

For more information, email Fr. Jim Perkl.

Jeff Cavins's adult Bible Study material made Scripture and Church teaching relevant, satisfying, and stimulating for over 800 participants in a 24-week program.

The need it meets

This structured, dynamic Bible study program respects and taps into the unvoiced doubts, questions, and hunger of today's adult Catholics. It also provides fellowship for parishioners and a forum to attract inactive and non-parishioners.

Where it came from

Jeff Cavins's experience as a fallen-away Catholic who became a Protestant minister and then returned to the Catholic faith is the inspiration behind this incredibly effective tool.

How it works

The first 12 weeks are dedicated to studying the Book of Revelation, and the second 12 weeks ("Catechism 101") focus on Church teaching. Participants are divided into small groups of about 10-13 people.
They answer "homework" questions by reading Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and other materials. During the first hour of the two-hour weekly meeting, each small group discusses the study questions. During the second hour everyone gathers for a lecture from Jeff Cavins. When Jeff Cavins is not available to deliver the lecture in person, a recorded video/DVD is used instead.

The results

More than 800 people attended in a year long study that was split into two parts.

65% of participants were parishioners
35% of participants were from surrounding parishes

  • Increase in Mass attendance (and in active participation in the Mass)
  • Marked increase in confessions
  • Significant increase in volunteers for parish ministries
  • Deep, faith-based friendships among participating parish members and between people from different parishes
  • Contagious enthusiasm for studying Scripture
  • Passionate and informed love for Scripture and Church teaching

Key elements

Ideally, having more than one person on staff to handle tasks that would include:

  • Registration
  • Ordering Materials
  • Corresponding with participants
  • Training small group facilitators*
  • Organizing small groups
  • Facility set-up and clean-up
  • Marketing**

*Training facilitators is critical to ensure that they are aware of Church teaching and other group dynamics. The study materials provide basic guidelines for this training.

**Marketing the Study effectively within the parish and surrounding communities is essential for maximum participation. Support of the neighboring pastors is very helpful.

How to implement it

  1. Lead up to Super-Sign-Up-Sunday with announcements at Masses, on the radio, in church bulletins (several area churches), local newspapers, Catholic newspapers, and through fliers on bulletin boards.
  2. On Super-Sign-Up-Sunday surround the sign-up tables with balloons, door prizes, and experienced personnel to field questions.
  3. Appoint a detail-oriented, organized individual who cares for others to spearhead the study, and encourage a team of committed volunteers to support that person.
  4. Visit www.ascensionpress.com and www.jeffcavins.com for more information on a variety of Jeff Cavins's studies, including The Bible Timeline and Adventures in Matthew, Acts, or Revelation.

Fr. Jim Perkl is pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

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