People are more likely to follow through with reading the entire Gospel of John during Epiphany if they formally commit to doing so.
What is the Good Book Club?
The Good Book Club, from Forward Movement, is an invitation to all Episcopalians to join in reading scripture. During Epiphany 2020, we are invited to read the entire Gospel of John. The Gospel is split into daily readings and everyone is invited to follow along! Here are four ideas for getting people of all ages in your context involved.
Four Ideas for Getting Your Congregation Engaged
Asking for a Commitment
Once you have explained to your community what the Good Book Club is, the first step in getting people involved is asking for a commitment. People are more likely to follow through with the concept of reading the entire Gospel of John during Epiphany if they have formally committed to doing so. Be creative about celebrating those who commit!
– Give out stickers (here’s a template you can use to print on Avery template 22806) or bookmarks (available in the 2020 Good Book Club Toolkit)
– Add people on a weekly email list and send out encouraging emails
– Make a bulletin board or graphic to post on social media that tracks how many people have committed
– Make personal invitations to key leaders in the congregation and ask them to invite others
Offer a Weekly Bible Study
Having some accountability can be really helpful when taking on a task like reading an entire book of the Bible over the course of seven weeks. To keep folks moving through the readings, offer a weekly Bible study to discuss the sections read in the past week. The format could be as simple as asking a few discussion questions and offering a few tidbits from a commentary. It could take place in person or online! Discussion questions might include:
– Did anything from this past weeks readings surprise you?
– What questions did these readings bring up?
– Did you have a favorite passage from this weeks readings?
Utilize Social Media
If your church has a Facebook page, Twitter handle, or Instagram account, use it as a means of encouragement, keeping interest high, and providing additional resources. Here are a few ideas:
– Post the reading for the day (or week)
– Post videos of people explaining why they decided to join the Good Book Club this year
– Post a weekly reflection from a parishioner
– Post a weekly trivia question or “fun fact”
– Start a Facebook group and ask people to join as soon as they commit (as a question to gain entry to the group, you can ask for their email address so that you can also let them know when it’s time to start via email)
– Ask specific people to engage with the content you are posting in order to feed discussion
To build excitement, consider offering a Good Book Club kickoff celebration. In the Gospel of John, Jesus makes a number of “I am” statements. You might consider using these images in your celebration: bread (6:35), light (8:12), shepherd (10:14), and vine (15:5). Alternatively, or in addition, you could celebrate the end of the Good Book Club on February 25th (Shrove Tuesday). You could challenge folks to a jeopardy or Bingo game to see how well people remember what they read. There are many Gospel of John jeopardy games available online for ideas (here’s one example).