Campus-wide Bible study draws 1,200

Students, faculty and staff will form over 100 groups this fall.

Students, faculty and staff will form over 100 groups this fall.

This fall, over 1,200 students, faculty and staff are expected to participate in a campus-wide Bible study focusing on the Sermon on the Mount.

Now in its third year, the campus-wide study has successfully launched a study on both Philippians and Psalms.

“We are now focusing on the Sermon on the Mount, which is a subset of the gospels,” said Aaron Winkle, Calvin’s associate chaplain. “It’s our way of returning to the New Testament after our study in the Psalms.”

Campus Ministries started Bible studies in the fall of 2010 as a response to a desire to have an opportunity to allow students, faculty and staff members to participate in a shared spiritual experience.

“We noticed there were many studies across campus, but we wanted a study that would be intergenerational and engage the community as whole,” he said.

That desire has created an outpouring of students and faculty leading and participating in studies vastly different from one another.  From a study led by President Le Roy to a study held in the art department where students and faculty will express what they are learning through art, various Calvin communities are hosting studies for students searching for a new ways to connect to their faith.

The response to the original semester long Bible study was extremely encouraging.

“Once the study began, we wondered why we had never thought of this before,” said Winkle.  With that in mind, the campus ministries team has orchestrated a variety of ways in which students and faculty can get involved. These opportunities range  from attending LOFT on Sundays nights to a myriad of studies scattered all over campus, many of which can align with study guides found on the Bible study website.

Through this study of the Sermon on the Mount, the campus ministries team hopes to find answers to big questions about students and how they react to a shared community Bible study.

“What would it mean if we studied God’s word together, and how would it shape us?” Winkle asked.

However, the campus-wide study was inspired by more than desire to integrate the whole community. Campus Ministries’ goals for the study are “to create common spaces for students, staff and faculty to study God’s word in community; and to teach members of our community how to study scripture well,” Winkle said.

Students wanting to get involved can participate by joining a study hosted on their floor or by going to the campus-wide study website and joining a group.