By Jennifer Perrow, Contributing Writer
Throughout Autumn Quarter 2010, we've looked at different types of ministry at SPU — from the various ways faculty and staff guide students, to how students meet one another's spiritual needs. With this final part in the series, we explore SPU's innovative take on biblical literacy, and how it's blessing more than just the University's campus community.
In just seven weeks, SPU's newly launched Lectio: Guided Bible Reading program has inspired nearly 2,500 people from more than a dozen different countries to study Scripture "together."
An innovative, online, and free weekly reading resource, Lectio allows participants to explore God's Word under the guidance of outstanding biblical scholars who have a deeply personal Christian faith. It was born out of SPU's signature commitment to be a place that embraces the Christian story, becoming biblically and theologically educated.
"We live in an age of growing biblical and theological illiteracy," says SPU President Philip Eaton. "We think this commitment to growth in understanding the Scriptures — for faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni, parents, and the broader community — is critical if we are going to embrace the Christian story and engage the culture with good news."
More than 40 SPU faculty members have already joined Lectio study groups, and staff members are forming groups as well. SPU students are studying the Lectio through weekly gather (Chapel) and group events, as well as individually and in small-group Bible studies. And people from the broader community have begun using this resource in a variety of ways, from small groups to personal study to church-sermon series and more.
"The response so far from those who have connected with Lectio has been overwhelmingly positive," says Celeste Cranston, director of the Center for Biblical and Theological Education. "People are engaging in rich dialogue around the text, and they are enjoying great fellowship with each other as they gather to study."
Cranston is quick to point out that Lectio is not an end in itself; rather, it is a tool that must be put into useful practice. It's a mechanism, she says, to get the SPU community — and the broader community — literally onto the same page of Scripture each week, providing a platform for dialogue around the text.
Are parents welcome to join Lectio? And can people still sign up even though the program began in September? "Absolutely," says Cranston. "This is a great opportunity for parents to participate in what their students are learning and join this journey with the SPU community as we go deeper into God's Word together."