In keeping with the longstanding Women’s Community Bible Study Group, there will soon be a community bible study group for men.

“Community Bible Study is an international organization,” John Vanhoose said. Vanhoose, a Russell Middle School coach and teacher, said the women’s group has been going strong for 40 years, and that there is a growing interest among men in the area to establish a similar group.

“The CBS started in 1975 in Maryland,” Vanhoose said. “And in the beginning, it was just one class for women.”

The program enjoyed a serious interest and quickly grew, however. Today, it has become a global movement that encourages individual study and participation. Trained teachers assist in the study group, and respected theologians assist with understanding historical passages and how those passages apply in the modern world. Those who take part in the program benefit from universal support.

“There are a lot of things going on in the groups,” Vanhoose said. “And one of the benefits is that it is non-denominational. You want to study and fellowship within your own church, but it adds different insights and different perspectives when you study with people from different churches.”

Vanhoose’s wife, Julie Baker is the teaching director for the women’s group.

Vanhoose said not only was the studying aspect gratifying and enriching, but the social aspect was as well. He said the pandemic forced the women’s group to meet virtually, but they hope to meet again in person soon.

“CBS has so many classes to offer,” Vanhoose said. “Of course, there is the women’s class, but they have a lot of co-ed classes as well. And there are men’s classes, and within those there are so many different ministries to choose from.”

Some of the ministries available are the children’s ministries, prison ministries and even ministries involving people with disabilities, Vanhoose said.

The men’s class, Vanhoose said, isn’t simply attached to the women’s classes, but will be its own class.

“And that is in itself a little rare,” he said. The new men’s class is something that doesn’t widely exist at the moment, because most groups are co-ed or had been established as women’s groups.

“When I did a Google search, the closest men’s groups I could find were in St. Louis and North Carolina. But I think that this is a ministry that men could definitely benefit from,” he said.

Vanhoose said the multidenominational groups are designed to encourage study, but with respect to other people’s views.

The classes are inclusive, Vanhoose said, but they try to discourage discussing political issues, and they don’t cross into heavy doctrinal issues.

The goal, he said, is learning and sharing knowledge of scriptures and faith.

One recent discussion in their Impact Group — they have not become an official class yet, but are currently following the process to become one — included reading certain verses and discussing what each of them thought those verses said concerning the value of prayer.

“We were given these questions and verses,” Vanhoose said. “And the discussion was really interesting. Along with that, one other thing was that each man was encouraged to bring a small item from home and then tell everyone how that represented prayer to them. There were men talking about glasses that helped them see better, and shoes, and I brought a flashlight. And I talked about how prayer was like a light, shining on those things we needed to work on. There were a lot of interesting perspectives, and that shows the value of the class. It’s a lot more than bible study.”

Currently the Impact Group meets at Bridges Christian Church on Mondays at 7 p.m. Anyone interested can feel free to contact Vanhoose at (606) 547-8715.

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