Proposal for Online BSF Study

To the Bible Study Fellowship Board of Directors and Director of New Start-Up Classes:

I am proposing starting an online BSF class strictly for those who are unable to attend a regular BSF class (disabled, elderly, can’t drive, rural communities, etc).  This would follow the BSF four-part model:  lecture, notes, discussion, personal study and questions but be available all online.

A BSF lecturer could videotape himself/herself (like at our class that is videotaped) and post it online.  You listen to the lecture and then can download the notes and next week’s questions.  Then in the forum you can discuss with others your findings.  This forum could be restricted to being open only on the designated meeting day.  Similarly with the notes.

I know this will challenge BSF’s paradigm and maybe financially but the I think the benefits will far-outweigh the costs.

With regards to the paradigm:  Times change.  Think of all the innovations since Jesus first walked the earth:  we’ve gone from camel and horse travel to train travel to cars and planes.  The printing press has allowed us to own a copy of God’s word.  Improvements on the printing press have allowed the Bible to be the biggest best-seller ever.  Now, you can even read the Bible on the Internet and on your phone!

Enrollment can be qualified.  For those who live in remote communities; those who attending a BSF class would be an inconvenience (flying, hiking, snowmobiling, driving over a certain number of hours, etc); disabled or elderly; those with kids in different age groups who can’t attend because they have both school-age kids and preschool age kids; those who can’t afford to pay for the gas to get to the class; and other extenuating circumstances, etc.

My story:  I had a very tiny blog.  Not many hits and few subscribers.  After my first day at BSF, I blogged about how much I loved it and was looking forward to it.  BAM!  87 hits.  So, I thought to myself I may be onto something.  I started posting my answers and my blog has skyrocketed to beyond belief.

Obviously, there is a need of some kind out there.

I have people from all over the world follow my blog.  One lady is going on a mission trip to Uganda.  She “met” a lady who lives in Uganda who is enrolled in BSF who posted on my site and now they are going to meet in Uganda!  How cool is that!

One lady who has severe health problems and is unable to attend classes at times uses my blog as her discussion time.  She swap prayer requests even.  She is just one among many who use my blog as such.  The Internet never shuts down during inclement weather.

One member whose friend lives in Hawaii would have to fly to her nearest BSF class.  When I move (our move has now been delayed), I would have to drive 6 hours to my nearest one.  Think of Alaska:  you’d have to snowmobile up there!

Funding:  I believe BSF could solicit funds specifically for such a purpose.  I for one am willing to donate to such a project.  You could have a designation added to your online giving system fairly easily to facilitate donations.  This money would go to help pay the initial start-up costs.

Someone can be trained to administer the program once it’s up and running.  This could even be a volunteer willing to post the videos, etc.

Please read some of the comments on my site about how much being able to have a discussion group 24/7 facilitates learning and ultimately growing with God means to others.  For some, it could be indescribable (I know it is for me!).

BSF Statement of Beliefs #14 (according to your website) says how BSF believes we are all called to study the Bible personally through the power of the Holy Spirit until each one is matured into God’s purpose for their life.  How better to aid in this for those who for whatever reason cannot physically make it to BSF classes?

I am asking you to please pray about this as with everything in BSF.  A pilot year could be set up to see if this idea works or not.  Limit the number of attendees and see what happens.  She what needs to be improved, changed, or scrapped all together.  A year to work out the bugs, evaluate at the end if it accomplishes BSF’s vision, and go from there.

I can only imagine the number of people who can be reached through the Internet (another invention God gave to someone).  His kingdom can grow by leaps and bounds through this measure.

Part of BSF is community.  Well, I can attest to the fact you can have a community over the Internet.  There are followers of my blog whom I consider some of my dearest friends.  They regularly offer words of sage advice that I appreciate beyond belief.  Even though I can’t see them and they can’t see me, this is vital to what my website has become.  Without them, my blog is empty.

Facebook is the second-highest ranked site (according to Alexa) in the world–a website dedicated to facilitating connections–existing only in cyberspace as this BSF class would do.

Community is what you make of it.  BSF is what you make of it.  I think a BSF online could thrive.  And grow.  But still remain true to BSF’s and Ms. Johnson’s vision.

I have been praying about this ever since the idea popped in my head.  I only ask you all do the same.

Thanks for listening, considering, and praying with regards to this proposal.

63 thoughts on “Proposal for Online BSF Study

  1. God bless you for following up on your idea – and it’s a great one! I pray for BSF to seriously, prayerfully consider an excellent way to continue the growth of God’s Kingdom.

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  2. This would be such an amazing gift for my 85 year old mother! If she could do the study and receive the Word without leaving the house, it would be such a blessing.

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    1. Lyn,

      I’m unable to find an email for BSF and you cannot comment on their website from what I can find. Their contact info is only an address and phone number. So I’m hoping BSF finds me through the grapevine! Otherwise, I was thinking snail mail? Thanks for your suggestions!

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      1. Mail it… and ask your Administrator if there is an email you could send to. I suspect if the information was given to them, they WOULD/COULD forward it … the suggestion(s) to have an infant day program started the same way.

        …and it is such a positive way to make a suggestion bu putting together a proposal versus what has been seen and commented by some, as a complaint. I could also read your humbleness.
        May God continue to bless you, especially in your new journey… stay open to what He may have in store for you, even if not BSF.

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  3. I think an online BSF study is needed and desired !!! I would benefit from it because I am unable to drive and go to work due to an injury so an online program would be a blessing! Thank you.

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  4. I love this idea and will definitely become a part of it, if it happens. My schedule conflicts with the bsf here. We try to attend whenever we can, but bsf online would make it attendable every week!

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  5. Amen Crystal. I would join also. BSF has a lot of rules. We need to pray. It will be a miracle if it is allowed. I do not drive at night and someone has to pick me up. What a blessing that would be.

    Keep us posted as to what happens Atoz.

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  6. Bless you and all you do for the many of us that seek Him! God has blessed you with the gift of sharing His word and love.
    Have you ever done any Beth Moore Bible Studies? There is a one my friend is doing right now and says it is incredible. It would be a great one to do over the summer as it goes deeper into Isaiah for women.

    this updated version of Beth Moore’s Breaking Free includes 11 new video teaching messages along with reedited Bible study content and testimonies of how women like you have been delivered from their personal captivity. Based on Isaiah 61:1-4, this in-depth Bible study draws parallels between the Israelites in captivity and believers in spiritual captivity. Beth uses Scripture to help identify spiritual strongholds in your life and explains that anything that hinders you from the benefits of knowing God is bondage. There are 11 video sessions with 10 weeks of study. The Leader Kit includes 6 DVDs, 1 Member Book, and 1 Leader Guide

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  7. Hi, I think this idea has merit. I hope you are actually going to send this as a note to BSF Headquarters through the U.S. Mail. Whether or not they could do it given the current economy I don’t know. But, I think it’s an interesting idea for those who are not able to attend a physical class.

    Please post to let us know the response you get after you send your request through the U.S. mail. I think it is not logical to expect BSF to respond to this post.

    Blessings,

    Mary

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  8. I unsubscribed to your blog due to comments made about Bible Study Fellowship. However, someone forwarded this post to me.

    Are you considering offering an online version of BSF without permission of the BSF organization? Surely I misunderstood.

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    1. Hey Patti,

      Sorry to hear you left my site. But could you keep me posted on what happens in Uganda? I’d love to have an update on how it went with Catherine when you get back! Thanks!

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    1. Kallie,
      1) My question was posed to Atozmom.
      2) I read the post thoroughly, twice, before posting.
      3) I am not judging; I asked a question.

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      1. Hey Patti,

        Yep, you definitely misunderstood. I do not have the desire nor the capability. I am suggesting BSF offer an on-line course. I offer to support one, not start one. BIG difference.

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  9. AtoZ,
    That is a great idea. It would be a boon to shut-ins, elderly, etc. I know of a couple of men that would be interested, but just can’t go for three hours on a Monday night and at some distance. BSF is not known for being very flexible or innovative, but your idea is great! Everyone needs to pray for a pilot program this Fall!
    DLB

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  10. Wonderful idea, and what a way to reach out to others who are not as fortunate as we are, who can drive down the road to attend BSF.. You are so thoughtful to reach out and take the stand to bring this about on the internet…. Prayers are with you as you take this on…… Blessings….. Jane

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  11. I BELIEVE IN THIS DAY AND AGE YOU NEED TO DO THIS TO REACH THE WORLD WITH GOD’S WORD. TIME IS DRAWING CLOSER AND THERE ARE SO MANY YET WHO HAVE NOT HAD THE CHANCE TO LEARN OF THE LOVE OF JESUS. I AM A BSF LEADER FROM INDIANA. I LOVE ISAIAH AND LOOKING FORWARD TO ACTS NEXT FALL. KEEP ALLOWING THE HOLY SPIRIT TO GUIDE YOU. WE PRAY EVERY WEEK FOR BSF HEADQUATERS.

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  12. I currently attend a BSF class and feel very fortunate to be able to do so; however, I do see the possibilities of what this could mean for the shut-ins, elderly, and caregivers. We are also a society taking care of our parents which happened to me before Christmas and I was unable to attend BSF class. I was so sad but had a wonderful leader who mailed me the notes since it was the last class before the holiday. Please consider this suggestion!! This is a wonderful blog!!!

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  13. i am not sure if BSF will allow this, they need financial aid from the members to carry on their mission. i like the idea though.

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  14. I think suggestions are in order, but I do not feel one should careful about aggressively trying to change a Ministry that has been very successful. This ministry is not your vision. God may give you a vision to start a Ministry separate from BSF.

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  15. You go, girl! I have had to miss only a couple of times due to work schedule and I know missed out on so much. I can’t imagine now not being able to attend due to availabilty, illness, distance…whatever. So for those who could be reached via the internet…ideal! God gives the “idea” and it is for us to act on it. Love your blog!!! Nancy

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  16. We can all pray that the Holy Spirit will prepare the way and the hearts to be receptive to internet classes amoungst the BSF leadership. As we learned this week in our study that everything is to make His name great and bring praise to Him.

    It would certainly be helpful to me because I have to drive such a distance. My only concern is if people would answer their questions without knowing their group was depending on them.

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  17. What a great idea. I have a sister in MO who can’t get out due to health issues. She would love to do BSF on line. I had to miss a whole month of BSF in 2010 because of taking care of my Dad, I missed so much! I will pray that the BSF people will consider your wonderful idea. God Bless you! PLRL

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  18. I think that is great idea because there are women who dont have BSF in their cities, or unable to attend a class because of health issues.
    I also thinking that if you missed a class you could
    go online and hear a lecture.

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  19. It would be wonderful if this proposal goes through. I have not managed to attend the evening class due to work committment.
    It will be such a blessing if we could learn and discuss it through e-learning and still able to Praise and Glorify His Great Name. Amen.

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  20. Hi Atozmom,

    …from your lips to God’s ears!

    One thing that really stood out for me in the study of Isaiah was that our awesome God is compassionate and merciful. What a great blessing an on-line study would be for so many people who are unable to attend BSF meetings. Over the years, I have seen so many dedicated students have to drop out due to illness or care giving responsibilities. There was nothing in place to help these individuals, even though they wanted to continue on in their studies. And I can attest from personal experience that it is during these times of crisis when the need for spiritual nourishment is the greatest.

    Since discovering BSF, I’ve told so many people about BSF only to learn that there was no BSF in their area. Needless to say, I found this very discouraging, since I want to see everyone blessed and coming to know our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Okay, Jesus said that if we just have faith as a grain of mustard seed that mountains can be moved and that nothing would be impossible. Even though I have little strength, I pray with all I got!

    Thanks, once again, Atozmom for all that you do. You have been a blessing to so many of us!

    God bless,
    Trudy

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  21. I think it would be a true blessing. I am blessed with BSF being only 3 minutes away at the church I attend, But in the past 2 years my health has been failing me. I started the class this year and last year, John and Isiaih and was not able to continue. I felt so alone in my bible sutdy just doing the guestions on the website without the notes and group. You have been my only fellowship with BSF and I so appreciate you and your walk with our Lord. If there was BSF on a website it would most certainly be a blessing to me and I am sure millions of others – this is something we can all pray about. I thank God for BSF and would love to have others have access to this wonderful teaching. My thanks for your postings, you have been a God sent to me.
    Very greatful
    Denise

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  22. I stumbled across your site a while back and my first thought was “oh my, I think this would be considered a violation of BSF rules” but having never been in leadership I didn’t feel it was my place question it. I’ve followed you off & on since then but not subscribed. Then today I came across your proposal for an on-line class and subscribed as a show of support for your idea. I drive 50 minutes to attend a class & enjoy every minute of it. I have had to take time off over the years due to financial restraints of driving that far and finding childcare for children that were outside of the program limits. Looking forward to becoming on-line friends with you & others. Also hoping you get a positive response from BSF leadership.

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  23. This is awesome, as a matter of fact I was going to suggest something like this to you. It works for online classes it should work for BSF and so many more people would benefit from it. I’m so happy that you have contacted the right people and I’ll pray they can make this happen. :}

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  24. I love this idea!! I live in a rural area and it is about 1 1/2 hour commute to BSF each week. On top of the drive with small children the cost of diesel is exploding and making it very difficult financially to drive so far. I am sure this is the same for others in my area if they attend BSF.

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  25. Another though of the benefits… in my area the only daytime classes are for those who have children under the age of 6. I am a homeschooling mom and coming close to the cutoff. Which means that my oldest wont be able to attend day classes and my youngest won’t be able to attend the night classes. I am hoping to work it out so that I can still attend night classes with my oldest but I know that my attendance will probably be sporadic because my husband’s job. This would really benefit people who have this or similar situations. Also, I have wondered why BSF doesn’t provide for Homeschool families? I don’t mean teaching a whole class but our church always has a “Homeschool room” for daytime activities where the homeschool kids can hang out so mom can go to her class. Just a thought because, at least in our area, the number of homeschool families is growing rapidly.

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    1. Nickie,

      I’m with you on both the gas and the homeschooling. I’m the same as you: kids in different age groups so what do we do? And homeschooling as well. There should be a room where older homeschool kids can go and do their work while Mommy gets a break to do her study if the need is there.

      I don’t see gas prices going down anytime soon. I do a lot of shopping online because I don’t have to drive! Sometimes shipping is cheaper than driving (especially if you get free shipping and no sales tax!). I think the price of gas is going to be a big deterrent to those like yourself who commute to BSF. I think it’ll lead to sporadic attendance or no attendance. The world and our economy are changing so fast I think BSF needs to keep up in order to continue to succeed in their mission.

      I do most of my work in the mornings when my kids are asleep. I just can’t concentrate during the days with my kids constantly demanding something. So the idea of being able to watch lectures and do a discussion group when I’m able to concentrate is awesome for me. Something to pray about for sure!

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  26. Your request for an online BSF community group is worded very well, your points are strong. I’ll be praying that if this project is in line with the Lord’s will, there will be nothing to thwart it’s progression. God Bless You.

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  27. I think there should be an online BSF class. I am attending one in Raleigh, NC, yet my mother, who lives in a fairly decent size city-New Bern, NC–this city does not have one. When I asked a local pastor there to start a BSF class for women because she wanted to attend one, he stated that they have bible study at the church on Sundays and Wednesdays for everyone. He was not interested in having a BSF class for men or women.

    The nearest class for my mother is over an hour’s drive away, too far for someone in their 70’s to drive. She does however, have a computer. I think it would be an outstanding idea to have an online BSF. The whole world is linked through computers these days, so BSF should keep up with the technology of today !

    Thanks for putting the idea out there. I hope BSF agrees with you and starts an online course soon. I am sure that enrollment would be in the millions!

    I live in a rural area and have to drive an hour to class. With the price of gas and so many today with limited income, I think an online course would be a true blessing to many !!

    Thank you for challenging BSF with this inspiring idea!

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  28. Thank you for proposing online study. I have a friend that has not been able to go to BSF for the last year due to health problems but she would have loved to do the online study, instead I have been sharing what I have learned over the last year. She is a graduate or whatever you call the ladies that have completed all the studies until Isaiah.

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  29. Online BSF would be an incredible thing for people who, for a variety of reasons, can’t physically attend a BSF class. I am a working woman (an attorney running my own law firm), and the only BSF I can attend locally is on Tues at 9:20. I am in my second year of BSF, and I only make it to about half the classes, due to the schedule conflicts with my job. I would propose an internet forum which would allow people to download the lecture and notes for that week, and enter the forum, during select times during the week (such as Tues a.m. and Wed. p.m.) That would solve a problem I believe many people have, which is scheduling. I am unfortunately considering not signing up for next year due to missing so many classes and not being able to have access to the missed lectures and notes. BSF online would reach so many like me!

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  30. I love that your heart is being called upon by God to pursue this idea. I don’t think you are trying to change BSF as someone suggested, but rather, trying to improve the possibility of reaching more people, who are currently unable to attend sessions in person. I for one would love it. I attend BSF sessions but I have multiple sclerosis and arthritis in my back. There are days I cannot attend. My attendance, therefore my knowlege, would increase with an online BSF session. I currently take a theology class online and paid $100 for a semester. Perhaps BSF could make this optional plan a paid plan, or strongly suggest donations. I currently pay $5 a week, voluntarily, for my lesson notes. I would happily pay that or more for an online session. Thank you for being a good and faithful servant. I recently heard a quote that stated at some point silence is a form of betrayal. I think God is clapping his hands over your forthrightness and compassion for others.

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  31. Not sure if you noticed this on the back page of the BSF Magazine: 210-492-4676. I know they are looking for IT volunteers as well…maybe you could help & visit with staff. Good luck! I’ve really enjoyed your blog & hope that you are able to continue with Acts.

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  32. I hope BSF listens to your idea and starts an online BSF class. Many people do not have BSF in their area, yet have a computer in their home. For instance, my mother is in her 70s and would love to attend a class but one is not offered in her area, even though she lives in a big city. I asked several pastors there to start a BSF group but none were interested. The closest class to her is over an hour’s drive away, which she cannot make. I live in an area where BSF is offered but it is a long drive for me, and sometimes, due to weather, etc. I cannot always make it to class. It would be great if the course was offered online so I wouldn’t miss any classes.

    Nearly everything is offered online these days. BSF needs to keep up with the culture of our times and offer classes online. By going online, it would spread God’s word even more.

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  33. Are you going to BSF this year? And will you post your comments again like you did last year. I realy hope you do, I enjoyed every comment on every question.

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  34. I am so glad that you are willing to do God’s work online. BSF could reach so many people who are unable to attend a class for many reasons. What a great vision you are providing for BSF.

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  35. Hope you and your family are doing well in your new home town.
    Thank you for doing this, last year I looked forward reading your answers and getting another point of view into God word. I hope you can continue doing this.What a great vision the Lord has giving you. Have a great week and look forward to great year studing the word together

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  36. Atozmom I’m praying that this would go through. I wish to do this study with my husband and that is something BSF don’t offer either.

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  37. This is a WONDERFUL idea. I was in the BSF program in Houston, TX for 3 years. We moved to another state in a remote area and when we returned to Houston, I started BSF again for 2 years. Now we have retired in a rural community and are involved in our small church there. We are not close to a large city and some people have never heard of BSF. IT WOULD BE GREAT if we could have BSF on line to study in our small church.

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  38. Thank you do doing this, this year my husband and I have missed BFS due to the schedule of his chemo. This will be great thank you for doing this God blessed you for your hard work.

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  39. I attend BSF and love it, I have a cousin with reading disabilities. His mother also attends BSF. She says he would not attend because he can not read very well ( possibly at at a 3rd or 4th grade reading level) He does attend church sometimes but has never been in a small bible study group for his disablity has held him back. He is getting older now ( age 53 now) is there anything out there with BSF that would work for him? thanks and God bless your efforts

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  40. Great idea! This case seems to be closed.
    Can Main Bsf open it up again or reply me. Pls pls have Bsf online. A string of reasons. Lord pls help if it’s Your will. Thank you. Amen.

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