As with everything else in 2020, CHC’s Bible study classes have gone online.
Bible study is an important element in helping a Christian grow in the understanding of God’s Word. That is why every City Harvest Church member is encouraged to attend lessons after they’ve received salvation in Jesus. While some Bible study lessons are taught by cell group leaders in small groups, the church also organises mass Bible study classes.
“In the past, our church members grew in the Lord through Bible study because it helped them understand the Word of God,” says Kelvin Tan, a pastoral supervisor who teaches the mass Bible study classes. “At the end of the day, it is the spiritual discipline that matters when it comes to growing spiritually. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and the more the members are grounded in the Word, the more they are able to apply it practically in life.”
In pre-COVID days, members would attend Bible study classes before service on Saturdays or after service on Sundays. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused church gatherings to move online and the weekly Bible study classes followed suit.
TEACHING ONLINE CLASSES
Just the thought of online lessons might bring fatigue to some but it’s not all bad. Ee Zhen Ying, a pastoral supervisor who has taught both on-site and online classes assured me that there are values both online and on-site. Both types of lessons can be fun and engaging, as long as the members put in the effort and stay hungry for the Word of God.
Zhen Ying’s attempt to help her students overcome Zoom fatigue was to break the lessons up into smaller parts so that the members could digest the lesson more effectively. She also got her students to read the Bible verses and planned breakout rooms in order to have interaction among them. All these steps helped the students stay attentive in the Zoom lesson.
“Although we may not be able to sit together physically, we are still together corporately. We are still gathering together virtually via the Zoom platform,” she explained. “The Bible says for where two, or three are gathered in His name, He is in the midst of us.”
The main difference between the two platforms that Zhen Ying observed is in the interaction. While the members were able to have physical interaction on-site like holding hands in prayer, they can only send in prayer requests via the chat box in the online class.
Kelvin also missed the physical interaction he had with the students when he was teaching on-site. He felt that he was able to engage the students better face-to-face since he could see their facial expression and gauge their immediate response.
“Although we may not have the best circumstances, God can fill us if we are hungry,” Kelvin shared. He added that he would try to make his lessons captivating and precise so that the students would be more engaged. His goal for his classes is to bring clarity and understanding of the Word through the lessons he teaches.
One memorable lesson Kelvin had was on worship in the Christian Lifestyle 1 module. In that lesson, he had to teach the members how to relate to God in their daily lives. He felt that the best way to teach worship is to actually worship God with the members. So Kelvin spent 15 minutes, playing the guitar and worshipping God with his students online.
“Good worship is not just about feeling; it’s ultimately about Jesus, and glorifying Him. The goosebumps, tearing, and feeling touched by the presence of God are only one part of good worship–it’s what we feel. Not that it does not matter; but at the end of the day, it’s about Jesus being high and lifted up,” he shared. After the lesson, many members shared in the chatbox how blessed they were by the worship session.
ATTENDING ONLINE CLASSES
“It’s actually very hard to sit still as there are many distractions around me at home,” one of the students, Ow Yong Weng Fai admitted. Weng Fai had attended both on-site and online lessons and one thing that he struggled with was having self-discipline during the online class.
However, Weng Fai felt that because the lessons were on Zoom, the students were more open to asking questions on the topic. During the lesson, students can choose to unmute themselves to ask a question or type out their questions in the chatbox. This was unlike on-site lessons, where the members needed to stay behind after the lessons to ask questions, taking up more of their time.
Weng Fai also shared that the online Bible study classes he attended inspired him to come up with different ways of sharing the gospel.
“There is no better time to do it and waiting for a physical meeting to resume will take too long,” Weng Fai remarked. Zhen Ying encores his sentiment. “Just give it a shot, it’s online and it’s so convenient. God transcends the Internet that His presence is evident and tangible even in the midst of every lesson.”