Kentucky Bible Reading Marathon Boosts Unity, Witness

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Southeast

By Carl Stagner

With the dawn of a new year comes renewed ambition to improve oneself, accomplish goals, and make resolutions. The buzz has reached a fever pitch in popular culture, as it does every January; gyms are full again, dieticians are booked solid, and self-help books are disappearing from store shelves. Within the church, New Year’s resolutions ring unnecessary for some, but others have harnessed the opportunity the calendar presents to refocus on God’s priorities for both individual and congregation. Just in time to fulfill perennial promises to go deeper in God’s Word, one Church of God congregation in Kentucky tried something new: a Bible reading marathon.

There are 120 counties in the commonwealth of Kentucky. With a goal of partnering to promote Scripture across all 120 counties, the Kentucky 120 United Bible Reading Marathon has been pouring heart and soul into public reading of the Bible for five years. When news of the ministry partnership opportunity reached Pastor Terry Frerichs of Bowen First Church of God east of Stanton, Kentucky, it was a no-brainer.

Pastor Terry Frerichs

“Basically, starting January 1 at 12:01 AM to Thursday 4 at 6:00 PM, there were three-hour blocks you could sign up for, within that block, fifteen minutes of Scripture reading,” Pastor Terry explains. “What ends up happening is the Bible is heard publicly for four days continually—around-the-clock, non-stop. It’s at the courthouse, where there’s a lot of traffic. The local funeral home provide shelter, and heating/coffee, etc., is provide 24/7. Once I heard about it, I thought, Who wouldn’t want their church to be a part of it? There were ten people involved from the Bowen congregation, really helped solidifying the importance of just reading God’s Word, especially with an avenue like this.”

The Bible Reading Marathon’s social media communicates the vision of the initiative: “120 Kentucky counties in one accord, proclaiming and celebrating the Word of God over the commonwealth of Kentucky.” According to their sign-up sheet, Bowen First Church of God was given the chance to read select portions of Numbers and Deuteronomy. The event was successful and, in light of the power of Scripture to always fulfill its purpose, it was surely spiritually potent.

“All who took part were blessed with being able to witness with God’s Word by the simple reading, even with the difficult names [think relatively obscure Old Testament characters],” Pastor Terry reflects. “Everyone did a wonderful job. I’ve always told our congregation that, sometimes when we hear someone else read God’s Word, we learn something different by hearing it out loud. I also encourage people during ‘quite time’ to read out loud. Yes, we need to read, but it’s amazing what the Holy Spirit does when we hear.”

…It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 NIV

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