“In times of crisis, it is vital to be tuned to His Word”: 7,500 BSFers go online to stay anchored in Scripture
by Geraldine Tan // February 17, 2020, 11:45 pm
"God’s Word is powerful and transcends space and even time. And, however we study it, it is beneficial," said Maureen Law, BSF's regional director for Asia, Australia and New Zealand. All photos from BSF Singapore's Facebook page.
“In times of crisis and uncertainty, anchoring in God’s Word is vital. God alone is our hope and security in unprecedented times,” said Maureen Law, Bible Study Fellowship’s regional director for Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
To help its 7,500 Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) members in Singapore “stay tuned to His Word”, BSF launched online classes across the nation this week.
“We are grateful that God has gone ahead of us to provide all the resources that we need to make this happen.”
“The decision to go online was done in consideration of all our class members, and how best we can love and serve them. And the best way is really to protect them from any potential exposure, especially when 400-500 people come together in one place,” said Law.
BSF’s members span a wide age range – besides men, women and young adults, there are also elderly participants and programmes for infants, both of whom fall into the vulnerable group.
The transition to online classes was smooth and swift, as all registered class members already have access to myBSF.org, and can easily access electronic copies of the questions, lectures and lesson notes. There are even teaching materials that parents can use with their children.
“We’ve had very positive feedback. Many are very appreciative of the fact that we have this alternative and all the resources remain available. So nothing is compromised in terms of the in-depth method of studying God’s word,” said Law.
“We are grateful that God has gone ahead of us to provide all the resources that we need to make this happen, which could now be implemented for such a time as this.”
Given it is still early days, the Singapore team has also set up a feedback loop so that any kinks can be discovered early and resolved.
Going places it has never gone
While the move to a virtual setting is temporary, Law said: “The online world has exploded for BSF.”
In the 12 months that it has made materials available online, its teaching materials have reached places where it once could not – where numbers are too small to start a class, like in Europe or in remotes places such as Japan and Jordon.
She reassures that the online experience is little different from regular classes. To facilitate group discussion, the organisation is using video conferencing software Zoom, which allows the teaching leaders to share their screen and even write notes on a whiteboard for participants to see.
“Our four-fold approach to in-depth Bible study is upheld in whichever form we engage in God’s Word. The connection has been a very pleasant surprise as it happens really quickly and the bonding is often just as good as physical groups. God’s Word is powerful and transcends space and even time. And however we study it, it is beneficial.”
Tweaks have also been made to the Bible study materials for school-going children. Acknowledging that their attention span is shorter, BSF has reduced the screen time for them to just 30 minutes.
Eyes fixed on Jesus
BSF conducted two trainings over two weeks to prepare their leaders for the transition. The first was on how to use the technology and the second was on how leaders can care and guide their class members online.
“The bonding is often just as good as physical groups.”
“We are fervently praying that God will overrule the situation. We believe He’s on the throne, the battle is His and He has already won it.
“So as believers, especially in the BSF community, we stand united with our faces and our hearts fixed on Jesus and we trust that He will bring good purposes out of this crisis that we are all in.
“We will monitor the progress of the situation in Singapore, regroup ourselves and then make the next decision for the next steps,” she said.
BSF classes are also currently being conducted online in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.