Why Does BSF Attendance Drop During the Spring?

This question came up inadvertently when I made a comment in my conclusions about Lesson 22.  I mentioned how I thought one of reasons people drop out of BSF when Spring arrives was because of lessons like Lesson 22 where we are studying the same passage for 3 weeks.

Some of you chimed in so I thought it deserved an expanded forum.

So I’ll pose the question:  Why do you think BSF attendance drops in the Spring?

I’ll give you my thoughts:

1)  A year-long bible study is trying.  It tests our strength, our endurance, and our willingness to be challenged by God.  Some are just not up for the challenge or they need a break so they take one.

2)  Spring fever.  When the days are longer, we want to be outside, not inside.

3)  The lessons are dull and aren’t challenging–the opposite of number 1.  As exhibited in my opinion by Lesson 22 of Genesis.  People feel they are not growing so why bother?

4)  Life gets in the way.  It’s the reason why church attendance waxes and wanes in people’s lives.  Personal events happen be it a health crisis, death, employment issues, kid issues, or what have you that demand our attention more.

I know BSF has people who crunch these numbers and draw conclusions from them.  I’d love to have a report, wouldn’t you?  Would be interesting.

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24 comments on “Why Does BSF Attendance Drop During the Spring?

  1. Ian Jurd says:

    In Australia the attendance remains ok in spring – drops off in winter.

  2. Betty Boop says:

    Wow, I love that you posted this today of all days. My class of normally 20 women was down to 6 this morning & the same thing went through my mind. I myself actually missed class last week because of a sickness in my family, so I tend to think that a lot of women are missing this time of year for the same reason. The flu has really hit hard this year.

    Or perhaps some women are really starting to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This is the time of year when those lessons & lectures really start to deal with us. I’ve been in BSF for many years now & in those years I’ve seen a lot of women drop around the time that the lessons were really getting tough to read & apply.

    Maybe some women just haven’t spent enough time on their lessons & in prayer, so they’re not feeling the presence of the Lord like they had expected. I know my 1st year in BSF I was just kind of skimming over the notes & only answering the easy questions & just giving God a small part of myself; however, I was expecting God to give all of Himself to me. I found myself feeling very disappointed & wanting to just drop out of BSF. I called my lesson “Homework” & I viewed it that way as well. Then one day in lecture our leader told us to think about how much time we spend with God. She challenged us to just sit with God & ask Him to reveal Himself to us in a way that He never had before. That day after class I went home & prayed that prayer to God. I’m so glad I didn’t drop out of BSF because I never would have heard that lecture. It changed my life. I realized that BSF isn’t homework & that God desires to spend time with us every day just like our loved ones do. I love spending time studying God’s word & talking to Him every day now.

    I’m sure there are lots more reasons for the lack of attendance & drop outs & I’m excited to see what everyone else thinks. Thanks for posting this!

    • RunGirl says:

      Exactly Betty! It’s funny our Teaching leader announced Spring break and said “come back afterwards, there is so much more we haven’t covered”.

      People get busier in the spring and make every excuse to not continue, heard them all. But you are absolutely right the Holy Spirit conviction.

      I too looked at as “homework” but now I look at as what is God going to show me!

  3. Cookie says:

    In New York traveling can be challenging
    In a cold winter people come far and just need a break. For me it was health issues.

  4. cmcs says:

    We’ve had lower attendance recently-but it mostly weather, illness and snow-bird related. Genesis is the most repetitive study. it does seem as if we answer the same question over and over. (3rd time through Genesis.. I look over previous lessons when I’m done. Last weeks lessons (Lesson 20) had a major re-work. )
    Glean what you can and know that it is never this easy any other year.

  5. Bob Davis says:

    Lenten activities take priority for some. I have another bible study that is suspended over Lent. I prefer to keep going. I used to be in a bowling league; we had the same problem.

  6. Dean says:

    I think BSF has changed my life in Christ
    a very rewarding experience
    BUT
    (theres that other three letter word)
    there are only Grey hairs in my group in Sacto
    somehow I think and online BSF is essential for the survival of BSF
    to get younger involvement
    to have a more open forum
    to make it easier for me to spend more time in the Bible
    instead of my Car
    about one hour
    in the Dark
    every Monday
    it’s hard
    but I still find it worth it for now

    • RamJet says:

      As a Gray Beard, I hear you Dean and I think BSF is hearing you. Passing the baton on from the older generation to the younger generation seems to be a current focus of BSF. This may take some time, but my advice would be to hang in there! Discussion groups for my class were previously set up based on like-age groupings. I led a group with mostly older gentlemen (50’s thru 70’s) several years ago and they were disappointed there were no young men in the group to share their perspectives on their walk with the Lord and especially their insight in answering the weekly questions! Our groups are now inter-generational, with 20-30 year olds mixed in with 60-70 year olds! Believe me, you are greatly appreciated and needed in BSF! Thanks for your honestly in sharing your response to Atoz Mom’s question!

      • Jeanne says:

        As a younger woman, I had the privilege of attending the young adult class last year and the first part of this one. I appreciated being able to talk about some of these questions with people who were at the same stage in life and getting a sense of community. Our young adult class continues to grow and if BSF is to survive, it will probably be through that method rather than on-line.
        On the same token, I am now in a mixed-age adult class and I appreciate the insights I get from the ladies who are journeying ahead of me.

    • katylh says:

      Wow that is crazy because a majority of our BSF is a younger crowd, so I guess it depends on where you live. I am in Northern Virginia and our BSF group is about 400 woman and I THINK we have almost 200 kids in our children’s program.

      • kalliekaykat says:

        It really would be interesting if BSF gave out demographics of their various classes. Katlh, are you a member of a ladies’ day class? That MIGHT explain why there are younger women and so many children. At the BSF where I live, there are many young moms who enjoy BSF, knowing that their children are learning, too.

  7. Jennifer Christian Haidu says:

    1) A year-long bible study is trying. It tests our strength, our endurance, and our willingness to be challenged by God. Some are just not up for the challenge or they need a break so they take one. My comment – I don’t find a year long study to be trying…I find this study to be a privilege.

    2) Spring fever. When the days are longer, we want to be outside, not inside. My comment: Really? We still should be studying God’s word and worshiping with fellow believers – isn’t there time for both?

    3) The lessons are dull and aren’t challenging–the opposite of number 1. As exhibited in my opinion by Lesson 22 of Genesis. People feel they are not growing so why bother? My comment: I don’t ever find digging into God’s word dull and that’s what these lessons ask you to do.

    4) Life gets in the way. It’s the reason why church attendance waxes and wanes in people’s lives. Personal events happen be it a health crisis, death, employment issues, kid issues, or what have you that demand our attention more. My comment: We are to put God first in our life. Through studying His word we come to know Him so we can apply His word to our lives.

    • atozmom says:

      Noble, Jennifer. But not realistic.

      Being challenged by God can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. It can also be overwhelming. I find “breaks” helpful in the rejuvenation and growth process.

      If you work full-time, getting out in the Spring has limited hours. So, no. There may not be time for both.

      I do find God’s word dull at times. Have you read the list of begats and begots? I understand the reasoning behind it. But reading it is, frankly, boring. You’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise.

      NO ONE said God’s word had to be entertaining. It just has to be read, understood, digested, and followed. Which can be dull at times.

      And I find your answer to Number 4 to be flippant, inconsiderate and frankly callous of those suffering a loss of a loved one, a cancer diagnosis, those who are immobile and can’t get to BSF (I have many of those people who follow my blog), a job loss and they don’t have the money for gas in the car to get to BSF (which is me right now), kid issues (like your kid has cancer, is sick, needs care, is hospitalized, broke a leg, etc), and other life events.

      Our Teaching Leader has recently missed several classes due to a loss in her family. Should she have skipped the out-of-town funeral so she could come to BSF? Should I forward your response to her?

      Life, which God granted us, does get in the way—in the way of attending BSF (which was my question) but never in the way of walking with Him, which attending a BSF class HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH.

      • Bonnie says:

        I come here every now and then to read just how judgmental you can be to those who don’t agree with you or who challenge what you write. ALL of us really have a lot to learn if we want to be more like Christ. You need to get down off your pedestal.

        “Noble, Jennifer. But not realistic.”

        I am happy to let you know that Jennifer’s words are, indeed, reality for many of us who choose it.

      • atozmom says:

        Let’s be honest, “Bonnie”, you come here (probably more than you would admit) cause you don’t like me or what I do and you like to tear me down with negativity (even though you’ve never met me and have no clue who I am and say things to me you never would if I were standing before you–have you read this POST?).

        I stand by my position on my reply to Jennifer. And for one who calls me “judgmental” I suggest you examine your position and your heart towards me first.

        Ye who casts the first stone…

        And if indeed I am so judgmental, why would you come here at all? What “need” are you satisfying by reading what I write? I suggest you take that question to God.

      • Bonnie says:

        I would have no problem standing before you face-to-face and saying exactly what I said. BSF trains its leaders well and I am not new to confronting unkindness. And, yes, I have read the post you linked. I can assure you I have no one in my group who behaves as you do therefore I am not left wondering if you might be sitting next to me (“WARNING”…give me a break!). If you exhibit the same attitudes toward your fellow group members as you did Jennifer above and your group leader has not called you in love to discuss it, she is not using her training well.

        My prayer is that you, I, and ALL of us who desire to study God’s Word would seek the humility of Christ as we share His truth. Blessings to you.

  8. Maria says:

    I am in an evening class. Right now in my area it’s the weather, cold and snowstorms that keep women home, another round of the flu, and, in the last two years particularly, athletic events that are scheduled on a Tuesday evening.

  9. Vanny says:

    I do believe there is an epidemic of parents who let sports take priority over spiritual development. I used to attend a church where young athletes came to service dressed in their sports gear so they could leave for their game as soon as church was over. This year we have students arriving late for BSF because they had games. Not saying it is “wrong” but it does send a message for sure.

  10. Sweet Mama says:

    Our attendance has been running in the low 70% since we came back from Christmas break. We aren’t dealing with snow and inclement weather nor ice or fog. We have just been hit really hard with sickness this year. Our leaders are sick. Our families are sick. Few of the leaders are sick enough to stay home but we’re too sick to feel good if that makes sense.

    I’ve not heard the “it’s too hard” groaning this year about the Genesis study like we did with Isaiah. I don’t think it’s that at all for our class.

    We have a lot of commuters who come from two and three counties away. It is a lousy economy and times are hard around here. I think gasoline is a major issue and I know it has hit hard with our volunteers particularly for childcare for leader’s training days. People who used to volunteer monthly no longer can afford to drive into town two days a week to babysit the leaders’ children. We lost some wonderful, Godly, reliable volunteers because they just can’t afford the gas. I wish we could pay them a token gas card of $5 or $10 each to pay for their gas and expenses coming to serve or to hire them to be there every week so the children had the same caregivers. (I feel the same way about church nurseries.) I don’t think it’s healthy for them, particularly the youngest ones, to have different people every week. We train BSF hostesses but we don’t have a real system or curriculum in place to prepare the volunteers who keep our precious children of the leaders while they train. That is something I pray for in BSF…that we recognize these people who provide childcare for leader’s kids and that we officially train them and recognize them for the truly sacrificial service they give the way we do hostesses! I don’t know many who are willing to drive a long way to spend three hours (ours report at 8:45 for admin kids and aren’t done until we are at 11:30 and 12:30 on Leaders’ Monthly Fellowship Days) with children they don’t know, reading, keeping the wide age range from hurting each other unintentionally, changing diapers and Pull Ups, feeding, cleaning faces and hands, picking up messes, and potty training some every thirty minutes, while keeping the older ones busy and not bored out of their minds all in a tiny nursery room! Our volunteers are saints!!!

    I have heard comments from a few old timers at how much this study has been revised and changed. I would love to compare them, wouldn’t you?

    I have learned a lot in this BSF study of Genesis this year that I did not know. I pray for restored health and clear roads for all concerned and for people to see what they need to see each week in every lesson. May the Lord bless our faithfulness and BSF. Amen.

  11. Nancy Houchin says:

    I am having a hard time with health issues. I have an appointment to see about my hearing, maybe a hearing aid? I can’t hear the lecture. My handwriting is not legible (even to me), due to tremor, so I am thinking I may have to quit, altogether. Any suggestions?

    • Betty Boop says:

      Nancy,

      Our BSF group accommodates people with hearing issues, etc. by allowing them to hear the lectures online. Perhaps you could talk to your BSF leader & see if they would be willing to do this for you. I’m sure they can work something out for you so that you don’t have to quit. As for your handwriting, you can also go online to Bsfinternational.org/lessons, get your lessons there & type in your answers. These are all just suggestions because I hate to hear that you’re considering quitting altogether. If you’re still wanting to quit BSF, I would suggest you pray about it first & make sure that’s what God wants you to do. Best of luck!

    • Roselady says:

      Hang in there Nancy. Find the best place to sit in the auditorium/sanctuary. I have a hand tremor also, but if you get yourself to relax and write slowly, it will come. Or type it on the computer. Do not quit please. God will bless you to stick it out.

    • Jess says:

      Hi Nancy!
      Sorry to hear you are having health problems. I know the BSF has a place where they provide a way to online write in your notes. I have tried to use these in the past and have found them difficult to use. So, now, I basically retype the whole lesson on my computer. I would be glad to email them to you. Just trying to help. Email me at hyperjma@gmail.com and maybe we can work something out.

  12. Mamagg says:

    I am an old grey hair type(actually white- some of us do not gray, we just go straight to the white) and have been involved in BSF for 37 years in different roles of leadership and just being a student which I am presently. In all those years of attending BSF, towards the end has always dropped off just like any other organization that I have been a part of that requires a long term committment. I think if we all look at activities that occur in our lives we will see that for lack of a better term “it is the way it is”. Young mother have children issues, many parts of the country have weather issues, sickness, death etc are a natural occurance in our lives.

    God and I are in a relationship, I have a relationship with my husband of 44 years, my children, my mother, my siblings etc. Each relationship grows with time, The time I spend with each relationship and the time that passes naturally. I choose the amount of time i want to spend with each relationship in my life. I also choose to drive 40 miles one way to BSF each week.

    I have chosen to spend 37 years in BSF because I know myself well enough that if I do not have accountability in my life concerning studying God’s word, it will not happen. I was raised in a minister of music home and understand that even being involved in a local church many times activites of the church get in the way and I did not always get the indepth study I needed in God’s word. I also know that just like the human relationships I have, they grow for better or worse based on the amount of time I spend in it. And that there are times that some of my human relationship can be boring and not fulfilling. But when that happens I have to really get down and be honest with myself as to what part I played in the reason it is that way. We make many choices in our lives and if we are really honest most of the choices we make have to do with the comfort of me.

    I too do not really enjoy reading all the begots but I do realize that from a historical point this give validity to the scripture and each time I read it, I realize that I know a little bit more about this part the creation of God.

    The reality became clear to me during my breakfast time. I love reading the newspaper, I love current events, always have and always will. I would read the newspaper front to back. It hit me one evening when I was frustrated because I just could not get my BSF lessons done for several day. Then God hit me with a 2×4 with well you seem to be able to spend the time reading the newspaper. I can tell you that I really did not want to give that up but I also knew in my heart that God’s word probably have better news for me than the newspaper. Now when I eat my breakfast I read God’s word first. This all to say if we truly examine ourselves we will see where we are and what needs to change. And yes I raised two sons and understand about small children. I had to get up eariler in the mornings to have this time when they were small. I also have seven grandchildren that I have been able to help my daughter-in-laws in this principal and they get up 30 minutes before everyone else to get their study time in. It means they have to go to bed earlier, not watch that TV show at 9:00 p.m. that their friends are watching. God does not ask us to give up anything that we will not be abundantly blessed for doing. And yes it may be boring at times but I think God looks upon it as a desire to spend time with him. For me it takes a lot of repetition at times to drive the point home. And he still makes time for me to read the newspaper but it is on his time table not mine. And as the scripture says “Steady plodding brings prosperity”(Proverbs 21:5) We prosper from God, boring, dull etc. when we keep putting one foot in front of the other. It is not always glamorous or exciting.

    As a side note I started learning to play the harp seven years ago and trust me there are many lessons I do the same thing over and over but it is part of the learning curve necessary for me to automatically do the right thing. I think we see how the same mistakes are made over and over again with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It we get the same lesson over and over again maybe we will automatically do what is right without thinking about it. Think about the number of times we tell our children the same thing over and over again and they keep repeating the same mistakes.

    My prayer is that each of us keep plodding.

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