Is the Bible a Hurdle for Unchurched People?
Copies of the bible are everywhere...
(see: every hotel nightstand). Since it’s a “sacred text,” most people—even the staunchest skeptics—would pause before tossing one in the trash. So chances are better than average that every single person who walks through the doors of your church has a Bible somewhere at home—maybe packed in a dusty box in the basement, maybe stashed with old college textbooks, or maybe leather-bound and displayed on the coffee table.
So why would we ask every person in our Starting Point groups to buy another Bible?
Because we are trying to make church, and more specifically Starting Point, the safest place possible for unchurched folks. That means we’re militant about removing the stumbling blocks that would make an unchurched person feel awkward or unwelcome. And navigating the very complicated Bible is one of those stumbling blocks.
All of our Starting Point group members and leaders use the same Bible so when they’re looking at a passage of Scripture, the leaders can say, “Turn to page ___.” This is so much less intimidating for group members. No glances around the circle to see who found Psalms first. No judgment for accidentally looking for Ephesians in the Old Testament. No need to turn to the table of contents.
We use this NIV version because it’s a budget-friendly paperback option. But the specifics don’t matter.
The important takeaway is...
that applying an “outsider’s” filter to everything in your environment is a key step in creating safety. What would a newcomer find confusing? What might accidentally be making someone feel like he or she doesn’t belong? What other stumbling blocks could an easy fix (like a $10 Bible) eliminate?