Lucy Twitchell wanted to learn more bout the Bible. She wanted to not just read it, but truly understand it. So she decided to attend the Speaking by Listening Bible conference at Grace Baptist Church held last weekend.
The two day conference held last Friday and Saturday at Grace Baptist’s campus was geared to help churchgoers and educators learn to better understand the Bible.
“This was really important for my personal growth, to continually strive to clearly understand what the word says,” said Twitchell, who has attended Grace for 15 years and hopes to eventually teach in some capacity.
The church’s goal was to offer instruction on how to learn more about the Bible by focusing on the original author’s intention and information about the original audience. Readers can then apply that information to their audience.
“Here at Grace we believe the beginning place of meaning in any piece of literature is what did the original authors intend the original readers to understand from the words they used,” explained David Hegg, senior pastor at Grace Baptist.
Hegg explained it is important to understand the overall context of the Bible to gain a better understanding it.
“Many times people will read a chapter here or there and never see the whole story,” he said. “From Genesis to Revelation there is a progressive unfolding of who God is and what he wants from us.”
This is the 7th year Grace has hosted the conference. Hegg and long-time pastoral friend Paul Brown were interested in launching a conference like this since the 90s. They attended a conference offered by the original creator of the conference, Dick Lucas. Leaving inspired, the two planned to bring it to Santa Clarita.
“I was profoundly impacted by what Lucas said and shared,” said Brown, senior pastor at The Bridge Bible Fellowship in Reseda. “There were things he taught that I didn’t even learn in seminary.”
Something for everyone
Over the years, the church refined specifics of the conference to keep costs low to attendees. Both Hegg and Brown help teach sessions at the conference, alongside other teachers and speakers.
“We really wanted to offer pastors and people in different servant leadership roles in the church a way to learn to be more effective, to study the Bible themselves and teach others,” said Brown.
More than 130 people attended, many from Grace Baptist. Others traveled from Frasier Park, Reseda, even as far away as Honduras. Jon Dragoun and Darren Hopkins attended from Pine Mountain Bible Church. Both are elders at the newly formed church and help give Sunday messages.
“This conference helped me to learn its about the learner not the teacher,” said Dragoun. “You have to gear the teaching to the needs of the audience and make the Bible come alive to people that come from a variety of backgrounds.”
Hopkins said he was pleased the conference allowed him to “step back” from scripture and look at it in a greater context.
“It’s a great way to see a variety of ways people approach teaching the Bible to see what I am missing,” said Stacy Schufreider who came from The Bible Bridge Fellowship and is training to be a Biblical counselor in the lay ministry at her church. She hoped the conference would help complement that training.
Organizers emphasized the conference, which is always held in late February, is for everyone. It can benefit pastors, educators of all ages, and believers who want to gain greater knowledge about the Bible.
“We really just want to give people the joy of being able to say I can understand the Bible and apply it to my life,” said Hegg. “We just want more people to read the Bible for themselves.”