West Michigan Christians Stay on the Same (Bible) Page

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Every day in West Michigan, people from 15 Byron Center area churches, including five Christian Reformed congregations and two Christian schools, all open their Bibles to the same chapter.

It’s part of an interdenominational and intergenerational Bible-reading program called One Book One Body.

The program is sponsored by the local ministerial association with funding from Calvin Theological Seminary’s Center for Excellence in Preaching to help defray costs.

Jim Heethuis, a ministry associate at Pathway Christian Reformed Church, said, “The goal is to help people who have Bibles read them and to unify the community around the texts.”

Everyone involved reads the same designated passage, and many post observations on Facebook. For instance, for the Jan. 13 reading of Genesis 22, Renee Post Potgeter wondered if Isaac put up a fight when Abraham bound him to the altar, or if he willingly submitted to his father’s instructions, since the Bible does not specify that.

Pastors from seven of the participating churches belong to a peer learning group that meets weekly to brainstorm on upcoming scheduled readings. They collaborate on the background of the passages, surprises, main ideas, and sermon applications.

Heethuis said that although many Bible-reading plans exist, this one aims for consistency. “By the time they get to Leviticus and Numbers, many people fall off the wagon. We’re trying to keep people in the program.”

Participating denominations include Reformed, Baptist, United Methodist, Bible, Catholic, and others, as well as a truck stop ministry. Byron Center Christian School and South Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Mich., also joined.

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