Making up for Lost Time
A retired FIEC Pastor says reading the Bible one-to-one with another Christian was never part of the job description during his ministry. But he would definitely recommend it now!
When I answered the call to what was called ‘full time pastoral ministry’ 40 years ago, none of my ministerial colleagues were holding ‘one-to-one’ Bible readings either with non-Christians or as a means of discipling new believers.
In fact, in the circles I moved in, I can’t ever remember the idea being mentioned. Consequently it wasn’t something I ever thought of doing and I retired a few years ago having never tried it.
Then, a couple years ago, Don (name has been changed) got converted. Don’s wife became a Christian over thirty years ago through the ministry of our church, was baptised and became a member. However, though Don would come along to special events, including Christmas and Easter services, he never showed any personal interest in the gospel message.
Don spent his working life on the factory floor as a highly skilled worker. On reaching retirement he became very depressed, feeling that all his experience and expertise was no longer of any value. It was during this time that, in the Lord’s providence, I had an occasion to meet and pray with Don. As a result of sharing the gospel with him he came to faith in the Saviour, which you can imagine, was a great encouragement to me as well as his wife. Immediately he started attending our church services and has done so ever since.
However, following his conversion, the question arose in my mind: what I am I going to do with Don next?
I had become aware of younger men in the ministry and some of our church members having regular one-to-one Bible reading sessions with students, friends and neighbours. So I thought I ought to give it a go and asked Don if he would be interested. His response was so enthusiastic that we decided we would get going straight away.
I found a suitable Bible reading guide and purchased a couple of copies and we began a once-a-week hour together in a local café. The only snag is that we always have to debate whose turn it is to buy the drinks!
I ought to explain, that Don had been a member of a Boys Brigade group in a Baptist Church in his teens, but had well and truly forgotten almost all of what he had been taught. He had never attempted to read any of the Bible and only had a smattering of ideas about some of the well-known Bible characters.
It is with this background that we started our week by week get-togethers – reading a section of God’s word, asking and answering questions, trying to work out how it applies to our day-to-day lives and finishing off with prayer.
It has been so exciting to see the light of truth steadily dawning in Don’s mind. I have learned so much myself through trying to explain, in a down-to-earth way, what Scripture is saying.
Recently, after a couple of years of our weekly meetings, I asked Don’s wife if he really did want to continue to meet with me. I was concerned that he might only be doing it to please me and not because he truly wants to. His wife told me he so looks forward to what he considers to be the highlight of his week!
I realise that one-to-one Bible reading is something I ought to have done years ago, but as they say – “better late than never.”
Don and I are still meeting and I’ve no idea how long we will be able to go on for but I think it’s called making up for lost time!