“Let us not give up meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25 NIV84) is a directive that the Wednesday morning Bible class at Good Shepherd, West Bend, Wis., has taken to heart. Not even a pandemic could stop this group as they transitioned to online class until they could gather in person again.
When retired pastor Richard Lauersdorf took over teaching the class in February 2003, attendance clocked in at 32. By early 2020, it wasn’t unusual for attendance to hover around 150. Even now, despite COVID concerns, the group averages about 115 attendees per week as they safely spread out in the church sanctuary.
In this time of flagging attendance at in-person gatherings, what keeps this group coming back each Wednesday?
Family is the key, says Lauersdorf. “We function as a family. We study the Word, pray, laugh, cry, and have sweets together.”
And like a true family, members of the group care for one another—both inside and outside of class. The group has formed five teams of pairs that visit and encourage those who are sick or homebound, which includes sharing with them a monthly devotion written by Lauersdorf. Mem- bers meet outside of class, further strengthening their bond.
Another key to involvement, according to Lauersdorf, is the interactive nature of the class. Each week he puts out a question box and brings answers to the next gathering. The group also isn’t afraid to challenge him with tough questions as he is presenting.
Longtime attendee Mark Frank shares why the class is so important to him: “Not only do we learn about the apostles and dig into many books of the Bible, but Pastor Lauersdorf is able to relate to each and every one of us the grace that God has bestowed on us by giving his Son to be our substitute.”
Lauersdorf considers the Bible study—and his role in it—a gift from God. “I fully enjoy the week-by-week teaching and growing together in the Word,” he says. “We have that camaraderie that only Christians can have because it has been built on a love given to us by the greatest lover of all, our Savior.”
Volume 109, Number 03
Issue: March 2022