Joining us in person
Here are links to a calendar of meeting dates and times, and a map of how to get to my house where the in-person meetings are held:
These things are also embedded below for quick reference:
The house should be easy to spot since the house number (101) is in white lettering on my black mailbox – take care not to show up at one of my neighbors’ houses!
See below for info about parking and such.
Joining us over Zoom
The Zoom meetings happen at the same time as the in-person meetings shown above on the calendar schedule; the Zoom meetings are fully tied-in to the in-person meetings.
The link to directly join our Zoom meetings is always visible in the header banner of the forum, and is posted in the common/shared WhatsApp group (BibleDocs: All) before each meeting. (We generally don’t change the meeting room/passcode, but we don’t post the meeting information publicly here so that if our meeting ever gets invaded by a bad actor or ruined by a troublemaker who refuses to leave even after being kicked, it is easy for us to handle).
Thus, once you are active on either WhatsApp or the forum, you will be able to join our meetings over Zoom. You can join us on WhatsApp or the forum (or both) by filling out the signup form here.
We do ask that most people stay muted when not talking, especially if you have noise around you.
None of our meetings are recorded, so nobody should ever feel uncomfortable talking on that account.
The meeting schedule
We avoid Sunday meetings so that people don’t have to make an exclusive choice between our meetings and their other church groups, but can benefit from both, if so desired.
While we do typically give people a few minutes to trickle in, we will actually start reasonably close to the scheduled times, so just plan accordingly. It is least disruptive for everyone if most people are there when we start, but if you do end up running a bit late for whatever reason, just try to slip in quietly while minimizing the amount you disturb others as best you can. It’s alright — life happens.
Our Bible study meetings
Our formal Bible study meetings are currently on hiatus, until things from my ministry launch stabilize a bit more. If you sign up for the BibleDocs mailing list or join our community, you will most certainly hear from me once we start things up again.
Even so, we are still having our other less-formal fellowship meetings. See below for a description of what these entail.
Serious, formal study
Defining terms, when we speak of “Bible studies” within this community, we mean:
- Meetings where I formally teach through a specific topic or passage, somewhat lecture-style
- Slides up on the projector, lots of scripture read, discussion of interpretation and application, and what have you
- Times we intentionally pause to handle questions or clarify any matters from the teaching material that are unclear
And we do not mean:
- Meetings where people mostly just share prayer requests and talk about their struggles in the week, with not so much formal study
- Meetings where a group of Christian friends gather to chat and socialize, with not so much formal study
- Everybody sitting in a circle and sharing what a passage means to them personally (rather than one individual actually formally teaching)
I am not bringing any of this up to try and make our studies appear better or more intellectual than others, or what have you. Rather, I wish to be transparent – this is “how things work” here. If this sounds like your cup of tea, you’ll probably fit in great, but our format and goals may not be for everybody. If you are interested in Bible study meetings following one of the other mentioned approaches, for example, our Bible study meetings are not likely what you are looking for. (Although do have a look at our fellowship meetings, below).
One other point is that the general focus here is not always on the basics. To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with spending time on said basics – Christian self-sacrificing love, God’s love for us through His Son and His sacrifice on the cross – but we are called to learn more of God’s truth than just the very elementary things (compare Hebrews 5:12-14). Our goal should be a thorough understanding of the entirety of scripture – a lifelong task that we will never complete in totality.
In pursuit of such a goal, our Bible studies definitely don’t shy away from diving deeper into things, as appropriate. We do not try in any way to make them unapproachable or unnecessarily erudite or complex (quite to the contrary, in fact), but it is true that the focus is on getting a thorough, complete understanding, rather than staying only at the surface level.
Finding true (rather than only apparent) unity in the truth
The Church (with a capital C) is in fact composed of all people who truly believe – and we are all supposed to be united to such a high degree that we function as one single body, the body of Christ here in the world. However, it is a sad truth that there is much factionalism and us vs. them rhetoric within the ranks of those professing Christianity.
It’s not that we want to encourage a form of ecumenism where truth is the casualty; quite to the contrary, the truth in the Word of God is the very thing that unites us. If we focus our hearts and minds upon learning, believing, and applying the Bible – to the exclusion of most all else – we will find that it is easy to find ourselves running side-by-side with a wide variety of people from all sorts of backgrounds, regardless of such things as race, gender, culture, nationality, socioeconomic status, and whatever else it is we imagine divides us. (Compare Galatians 3:28).
In other words, if we dive deep into the Word of God and keep our focus there, we will see superficial differences fade away as the truth takes front-and-center.
Finding this form of fully-realized unity in the truth (no matter our other differences) can be considered another primary goal of these Bible studies. It is a beautiful thing.
Our fellowship meetings
While the Bible studies embody the more formal side of our community meetings, the fellowship meetings embody the more personal side of things.
In our fellowship meetings, we talk through situations going on in each other’s lives, and encourage and exhort one another in the truth. We do still try to keep the Bible in view as much as possible, but a greater emphasis is placed on discussing it in terms of the specific situations actually going on in our lives. We also often get sidetracked on theological conversations about anything and everything – since there is no set structure or schedule in our fellowship meetings, we freely and enthusiastically follow rabbit trails. You are also welcome to come with questions about whatever spiritual topics you wish, as at least a couple teachers are usually participating on any given week.
We have a wide variety of men and women across ages and cultures represented in our fellowship meetings, and everyone is welcome to come and chat about the Bible with us more casually.
Why Saturday afternoons?
We have our fellowship meetings on Saturday afternoons primarily because this is when the most people globally can make it. Places in Africa and Europe tend to be around ~5-6 hours ahead of EST/EDT, and Australia (depending on which coast you are on) is about 14 hours ahead (so Saturdays for us are Sundays for them).
Saturday afternoons are thus the time during the week when we are likely to be able to chat with the largest group of English-speaking individuals worldwide.
More information related to joining us in person
We meet at my house, which has been set up to handle larger volumes of people.
When parking, try not to block any of the driveways of my neighbors, and try to park somewhere in front of my house rather than in front of someone else’s house (so that we don’t get in trouble with the folks that live around me).
If there is space on my driveway, we do encourage people to park there (it will fit two cars side-by-side for two layers deep – although it’s a bit tight – and then another two single cars after that, for a total of 6), although do keep in mind that you may get boxed-in, which might prove inconvenient if you need to leave partway through or need to make your exit promptly at the end of our meeting due to another schedule obligation. The driveway is pretty steep for some of its length, so parking with the parking brake on may be necessary, depending on where you end up.