It's almost been two years since I'm involved in this bible study business every Friday night. Below I will disclose some of the feelings and observations which I have accumulated over the past two years. Bible study, or BS, as the name implied, is the gathering of people for the sole purpose to "study" the Holy Bible. Our intention here at the Victoria Chinese Christian Evangelical Fellowship, or the VCCEF, is to spread the word of God to every Chinese student and scholar, Chinese professionals and families living in the vicinity within the Greater Victoria district. The VCCEF is supported in part by the Emmanuel Baptist Church of Victoria, and in part by the enthusiastic although few volunteers, such as myself, to overlook the weekly human resource.
The most attractive feature of the BS, I can say, is the "free" weekly dinner. Although the dinner always revolves around serving either the plain pizza or spaghetti, the no-string-attached philosophy and the seemingly endless supply of the food are enticing features that drew both regulars and newcomers, especially the frugal Chinese student who would often go great length for a free meal. Apart from that, meeting people of same ethnicity is another great feature of the BS. For those foreign scholars and students, being in their own ethnicity group so to talk in the same language, and share the same culture often reduces the otherwise onset of loneliness and isolation which they often felt after moving to another country. The other attractive feature, my favorite at least, is the "afterward" hangout, which often involves going to the bar, Tim Horton's, or other places which the faithful Christian would often avoid. The "afterward" hangout enables people within the fellowship to weave, bind and grow further. It is a great way to meet other "would-be" Christians, including the potential opposite sex, and relax amongst the "supposed" friends. Finally, the least attractive but the ultimate "purpose" of the BS, is to spread and learn the word of God. Now, this is the hard part, given that most Mainland Chinese, especially students and scholars, are often atheists and evolutionists who take creationist approach to Earth's diversity as a joke, a maniacal and implausible explanation to everything complex.
However, after muddling in the pool for almost two years, I see the future prospects of the BS dwindling, shrinking and dying unless we can preserve the retention ratio and create a steady supply of regular attendees. A resuscitation is almost necessary to bring back its former glory. The method to enable so can't be realized by just volunteers but by energetic young individuals whose sole aim is for the growth of the church and who can connect easier, at the same level, with younger audiences. Who do not bicker over who does what and to ease and resolve the infighting within the fellowship. Despite its meager size, the fellowship must call for volunteers to amass the necessary manpower such that the word of God may be heard beyond the mere boundary of the Emmanuel Baptist.
This should be everyone's concern. Not just the concern of a few, out-of-touch, regulars!