by Matthew Meyer with Elizabeth Bajema in Michigan, USA
My friend Elizabeth is a member of the Friendship Ministries board of directors, and she is also part of our Friendship Class at First Evangelical Covenant Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our class varies in size from 10-15 members every Sunday. Most come from two group homes sponsored by the Evangelical Covenant Church but it is open to everyone in our congregation. I have been involved in this class for the past 5 years and have worked with special needs students for over 20.
Our class has learned from Friendship Ministries a number of important truths. We have completed the content on prayer and gifts as well as courage. We were just beginning to dive deep into The Road to Jerusalem, but due to our current situation we have been unable to meet together. What our group has found is how much what we are learning in class overlaps with what our pastors have been preaching about during the service.
Regarding Choose Courage, our class met this head on. We discussed at length what it meant to have courage. Each member had their own challenge they encountered that required them to have courage. When we looked closely as to how they handled their own journey, they responded that God was always with them. One member said he doubted his own courage because some of the things he encountered seemed to be out of his control. He said he forgot that God is always with him. This had a calming effect on him and he then said as he looked back at times he was courageous, he sensed God being there with him.
We talked about trusting God when going through a challenging time – going through the water. Many times our group went through things together, which made it easier. I shared with them times when I witnessed their courage – by greeting on Sunday morning, by helping in the nursery, by praying for one another. All things that many of us take for granted but for them require courage.
We talked about having courage for a lifetime. I shared a story about one of our members who has a twin brother (not with special needs). Sam had encountered in his school someone who was being bullied, someone with special needs. Sam immediately confronted the bullies, put himself between the bullies and the other student and told them to back down. Sam never mentioned this incident until asked during a sharing time when he was in senior high (I was one of his youth leaders). When I related that story to our class, each of them had their own story about a time they defended someone else or acted courageously.
My entire class has learned so much this past year using the Friendship Ministries curriculum. I look forward to being able to complete The Road to Jerusalem because I know there are going to be a lot of real life examples of staying on the path to Christ.
Get access to digital Bible study curriculum from Friendship Ministries at togethersmallgroups.org. Online resources like take-home papers, videos, and music are perfect for virtual ministry during this time.