The Church Growth department of Upper Columbia Conference launched its first SHINE Bible Worker Training School in Spokane this year. The four-week course, held at the Upper Columbia Conference office, teaches people the skills needed to be a successful Bible worker, aids in local church evangelism and helps Bible workers connect with churches wanting to fill Bible worker positions.
"We are excited about the potential of this training school," says Dave Livermore, director of the Church Growth department. "We've put together a great set of classes and practical training that will really prepare people to be effective Bible workers in the local church."
Through a series of lectures by experienced Bible workers and pastors, shadowing of experienced Bible workers, and by participation in an actual evangelistic series, the students studied four key areas of successful Bible work. Through course work and "lab" work, students learned how to successfully carry out Bible studies from start to finish, find people in the community with spiritual interests, prepare for and conduct evangelistic meetings, and lead volunteers in conducting these activities.
The training school not only develops skilled Bible workers, but it also directly helps churches in Spokane by generating leads for potential new church members and by saving on advertising costs for evangelistic meetings that are scheduled.
"In the first two days of training we personally invited hundreds of people to the Prophecy Alert meetings, gave out over 1500 brochures and we received at least 24 Bible study interests from people we met," says Steve Rogers, Bible Worker Trainer for Upper Columbia Conference. "The expenses were somewhere around $250 for the flyers, but it could have cost us up to $5,000 to generate that much interest through a bulk mailing."
At the end of the course, the students were also given the opportunity to interview with pastors of churches wanting to hire Bible workers.
"We have really learned a lot of new things," said Maryann Risenhoover of Yakima, Washington. "My husband and I are retired, but we wanted to do something to serve the Lord in our retirement, and when we saw the insert about the SHINE school in our bulletin, we knew this is what God was leading us to do. This kind of training takes all of the guess work out of how you do personal evangelism."
"We were really hoping for a higher attendance for our first training school," said Rogers, "but having just 10 people enrolled worked really well and allowed for more personalized one-on-one instruction. I think God knew what He was doing, and I'm excited to see what happens at our next training school."