Insiders (that is, anyone who has been a participant with Bible Study Fellowship) call it BSF. For at least the past twenty years I’ve been aware that I’ve had friends who attended BSF. Occasionally one of them has invited me to consider joining them in the venture.
Suzie Booker — when she lived in Iowa City — became a discussion leader for a small group for a morning women’s class. Her engagement with the study may have influenced me more than others because, well, we share some rather strong opinions about things. Still, my life did not make attending BSF an easy option in those days. I did watch the impact that God’s Word was having in her life through BSF and couldn’t help but be intrigued. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have accepted the invitation I finally accepted if it had not been for Suzie.
When I moved to Orlando I was in a place to look for a new thing. I didn’t rush into anything, however. Eventually I was influenced by my new friend Nancy Schneider who also was a BSF’er. This time I accepted the invitation. Let me own right here that I was probably more interested in deepening my friendship with Nancy than in BSF when I drove to my first meeting.
Honestly, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into as I sat through an introduction class and filled out my paperwork to register…and that’s not because anyone was hiding anything from me. I will also say that it was good that I didn’t know or I might not have come back that next week. BSF was not really what I was looking for or what I wanted… BUT, it was exactly what I needed.
I was “new in town” by a year or so and feeling more lonely than most would have guessed. I wanted to find some women to talk to about regular life stuff and to do stuff with. I wanted more of the relational warm fuzzy and less of the rules and structure. (Some of you who either know BSF or have heard rumors are grinning by now.)
My first half year (I joined in February 2003) was way more about obedience than anything else. I went week after week, I did my homework, I followed the rules as best as I understood them. When the study was over in May, I thought that maybe BSF isn’t for me. Still, I signed up for the next year and then sort of hoped they wouldn’t call.
(This is PART ONE of my journey with BSF. I feel hesitation in posting this until I have at least part two written because I don’t want you to only hear this part of the story. It may only serve to confirm your suspicions and that is NOT the whole story. Not anywhere close to the whole story.)