December 13, 2014“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:3-11 ESV)
Looking Back into 2014
2013’s Goals for 2014
-Suggestions for improvements in 2014 included the use of visuals in studies, sword drills, shorter study lengths, and better ability to follow cross-references in studies.
-Goals for 2014 included the use of a prayer document to keep people connected in prayer, as well as handouts to be used during studies for note-taking.
-Some of the goals that were not verbalized and not implemented in 2014 were a recognition and rewards system, as well as the formation of a leadership team with quarterly analysis of the state of the group.
-2013 saw the completion of the longest study series at the time in the 42-week 3:15 Defenders Series, the 14-week Equipping Young Adults Series, the 12-week Walk Through the Word series, and other intercessory studies.
-The longest study in 2014 was Philippians Week 13-Joy in Discipling Others at 86 minutes, and the shortest study was Jesus-The Great I AM at 58 minutes. The average study length was 72 minutes.
-ICBF studied 44 studies in 2014, compared to 37 studies in 2012 and 49 studies in 2013. The bulk of the year was spent in 35 weeks in Philippians 1-2.
-ICBF spent 16 weeks in Philippians 1, with the studies Recipients of the Joy of Salvation, The Joy of Thankfulness, The Joy of Christian Affection, The Joy of Godliness, The Joy of Glorifying God, The Victory of Suffering, The Victory of Proclaiming Christ, Joy in the Midst of Conflict, Parts 1 and 2, Joy in the Face of the Future, Joy in Life and Death, Parts 1 and 2, Joy in Discipling Others, The Call to Gospel Worthiness, The Call to Gospel Courage, and The Call to Gospel Suffering.
-ICBF spent 19 weeks in Philippians 2, with the studies The Call to Gospel Unity, The Call to Gospel Humility, The Call to Gospel Service, The Example of Christ, The Incarnation of Christ, The Humiliation of Christ, The Exaltation of Christ, The Coronation of Christ, The Glorious Lordship of Christ, The Sovereign Responsibility of Salvation, The Shining Examples of Salvation, The Word of Life of Salvation, The Joyful Sacrifices of Salvation, The Concern of Timothy, The Testimony of Timothy, The Example of Epaphroditus, The Illness of Epaphroditus, The Return of Epaphroditus, and The Commitment of Epaphroditus.
-ICBF had three Q and A evenings, with such questions as, how does God work through evil but not tempt us at the same time? What was the chronological order of the OT kings and prophets? How do we live with hypocritical Christians? What was the timeline of key Messianic prophecies? What were the kingly requirements in the Pentateuch, and how did Jesus fulfill them? What 5 doctrines should every Christian study? Should we be obeying everything in the OT today? How do we live with other Christians who disagree with us?
-ICBF had three interlude studies: Rebellion, Repentance, and Redemption: The Omnipotent Grace of God, Salvation through the Shepherd-King: The Deliverance through the Lord’s Anointed, and You Have the Words of Eternal Life: The Divine Power of Christ and Scripture.
-ICBF had three special studies: Eating, Error, and Edification—The Mindset of Christian Liberty, Jesus—The Great I AM, and The Unfolding of Your Word Gives Light: The Bible of the Reformation.
-The favorite studies in Philippians in 2014 were Philippians Week 2-The Joy in Thankfulness, Philippians Week 6-The Victory of Suffering, Philippians Week 8-9: Joy in the Midst of Conflict, Parts 1 and 2, Philippians Week 11-12: Joy in Life and Death, Parts 1 and 2, Philippians Week 17-The Call to Gospel Unity, Philippians Week 21-The Incarnation of Christ, Philippians Week 25-The Glorious Lordship of Christ, Philippians Week 30-The Concern of Timothy, Philippians Week 32-The Example of Epaphroditus, Philippians Week 33-The Illness of Epaphroditus, Philippians Week 34-The Return of Epaphroditus, and Philippians Week 35-The Commitment of Epaphroditus.
-Jesus—The Great I AM was the most favorite study outside the book of Philippians.
-7 individuals invited people in 2014, but none of the invited people stayed. In 2014, two regular members had little attendance, as had happened in 2013. The average is currently that of losing two members a year.
-1 individual visits the blog daily, 2 individuals visit the blog weekly, and 7 individuals visit the blog monthly.
-90% read study notes on the blog in 2014.
-80% referred the blog to people outside of ICBF in 2014.
-50% downloaded study recordings.
-60% had not referred anyone to study recordings.
-Out of 1-5, 50% rated the handouts in usefulness at 4, 40% rated them at 5, and 10% rated them at 3.
-Out of 1-5 in terms of listening and remembering study material, 60% rated the handouts at 4, 30% rated them at 5, and 10% rated them at 3.
-Out of 1-10 in understanding study lectures, 50% rated them at 9, 10% at 10, 10% at 8, 10% at 7, and 10% at 6.
-50% of people said study lectures should be 60-70 minutes, 40% said 50-60 minutes, and 10% said 40-50 minutes.
-50% said discussions should be 20-30 minutes, 40% said 10-20 minutes, and 10% said 5-10 minutes.
-40% said the questions are usually helpful in applying and analyzing study material, 30% said very helpful, and 30% said somewhat helpful.
-Out of 1-10 in terms of understanding discussion questions, 30% rated them at 7, 30% rated them at 5, 20% rated them at 8, 10% rated them at 9, and 10% rated them at 5.
-Out of 1-10 in terms of discussion questions being relevant, 40% said 8, 30% said 10, 20% said 9, and 10% said 7.
-From 1-5 in terms of the prayer document being helpful, 40% said 3, 30% said 4, 20% said 2, and 10% said 5.
-50% referred to the prayer document between studies, and 50% did not.
-50% said 8:00 PM exactly would work just fine as a start time for studies, 40% said it would work but not be ideal, and 10% said it would not work.
-60% said they could take on additional weekly responsibilities in ICBF.
-70% did not memorize Philippians 1-2 this year.
Looking Forward to 2015
-Short activities for people to do during the week, such as assigned reading or short quizzes when studying Philippians.
-Discussion questions that have more application would be desired.
-Sword drills and visuals during studies were brought up again, but these will not be implemented for the time being.
-Greater group interconnection and involvement so cliques are not too prevalent and more openness and sharing becomes prevalent.
-Less unneeded talking and interruption before studies start, as Collin is unable to start teaching on time at certain times because of this.
-The ICBF blog will have bi-weekly posting: a blog post of study notes every Thursday, and a blog post written by an individual in ICBF on Tuesday.
-70% of individuals in ICBF volunteered to write blog posts for the blog, and 30% declined.
-Study recordings will be utilized more in 2015, with a featured recording posted twice a month. 50% had downloaded and listened to recordings, and 50% had not. 60% had never referred anyone to study recordings.
-ICBF studies will hopefully average 60-65 minutes in 2015, instead of 72 minutes like 2014.
-Discussion times will be revamped in order to have questions with greater clarity.
-ICBF study times will begin promptly at 8:15 PM with invites sent out approximately 8:00 PM.
-ICBF will utilize a main G+ and Gmail account for invites and administration.
-ICBF will hold quarterly community nights that function to review studies and community activities and progress.
-G+ communities have been created in response to suggestions of people and needs of people.
-Kaleigh Stroink will be the leader and moderator of the Scripture Reading Community, which will be intended to foster daily Bible reading habits and the completion of the entire Bible in a year.
-Schuyler McConkey will be the leader and moderator of the Prayer Community, designed to foster daily and weekly habits of prayer and greater sharing among members.
-Carrie-Grace McConkey will be the leader and moderator of the Scripture Memorization Community, designed to foster weekly memorization and the memorization of Philippians by the end of 2015.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me. (Philippians 2:12-18 ESV)