Every year we try to assess how well we are fulfilling the call of God. We look at all the possibilities and technologies that are at our disposal and then attempt to utilize them for the Kingdom. As you know, our mission statement is to create, develop, and distribute materials to stimulate, encourage, and facilitate serious study of the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. We have now gone one step further.
The Koinonia Institute
In the past, we would publish materials and hope that they were having the desired effect. One of the principal achievements of this past year has been the successful launch of our think tank for serious Christians: the Koinonia Institute.
One aspect of the Institute"facilitating Small Study Groups"appears to be on the vanguard of a major sea change in Christian fellowship worldwide. It continues to be manifestly clear that we may be riding a spiritual tsunami of new wine being put into new skins.
Typically, there are two frailties with small study groups: (a) they tend to become insular; and (b) they fail to train new leadership. We believe the Institute has productive answers for both of these deficiencies. This is not simply a study series, but a balanced program of individual spiritual growth and personal stewardship, regardless of specific calling.
We are in the process of converting all of our expositional commentaries into courseware, with study questions, discussion questions, weekly quizzes, and final exams. We will also be cautiously exploring the addition of suitable material from other authors and teachers, as well. As the technology (and budget) permits, we also hope to add some video conferencing capabilities to provide student access to panel discussions among nationally recognized authorities on timely (and controversial) topics in the future.
We already have over 600 active students and anticipate a continuing growth rate approaching 100/month. (The quality and dedication of our volunteer Teaching Assistants have been some of the most encouraging factors weve experienced; however, the continuing emergence of effective Teaching Assistants will undoubtedly be our most critical growth factor in the months ahead.)
There are many ways to get personally involved in this emerging enterprise. After reviewing the Handbook (download a copy from www.StudyCenter.com) we would welcome your involvement in whatever way the Spirit leads!
We had the First Annual Meeting of the Institute at the Coeur dAlene Resort on November 17-19, which was sold out and remarkably successful.
Our speakers were nationally known and clearly anointed. The sessions from the conference are available on DVD, audio CD, and MP3. See here for details. We plan to make this an annual event in Coeur dAlene. Next year it is scheduled for November 9-11, 2007. (With the limited space available, we will be forced to give preferential access to registered students ... a word to the wise!)
As you may have noted in last months issue, we have just returned from a most successful and enlightening Insiders Briefing for a group who had visited Israel previously. Each year we plan two trips to Israel: a devotional (Berean) Bible Study Tour in the spring, and an (Issachar) Insiders Briefing for a select group each fall. This year, they are scheduled for April 18-28 and October 8-19, respectively.
Our Washington correspondent, Bill Koenig, is assisting us in organizing a special meeting near the nations capitol in the spring. This briefing opportunity will not only provide timely (Issachar) updates, but will also be a special gathering for our registered members in the eastern region. See upcoming issues of Personal UPDATE for details.
Prophecy 20/20 Book
Our latest book, Prophecy 20/20, was published by Thomas Nelson Publishers this past fall and has been well received. It will also become the primary resource for the Issachar track of the Institute.
The emergence of the Institute opens a number of special opportunities for which we covet your prayers and support. Here is just a sampling:
- Special incentives for exceptional students;
- Internships: domestic and abroad;
- Upgrading video and auditorium facilities;
- Advanced courseware development;
- Advanced Internet software development;
- Media coverage: radio and cable TV, etc.
As the Lord leads, we hope you will choose a specific project to pray for throughout the coming year.
In 2006 we released an abundance of new material that we hope has proven useful to your spiritual growth. As many of you know, we will finish our study of the book of Psalms this year and, with the addition of Lamentations, we will complete our first pass through the entire Bible. What a journey!
In 2007 we are planning to re-teach some of the more critical books of the Bible, recording them on DVD as we continue our development of user-friendly resources. We are also looking to push the envelope with interactive teaching DVDs. Our hope is that we can create a system where you can answer a series of questions via your DVD remote control as you are going through the materials. We are still in the research stage, but hope to have some beta versions available by fall of 2007.
There are many exciting technological advances coming in the near future, and we plan to leverage as many of them as possible for the work of Christ. We believe in using technology to reach the maximum number of people possible. The areas we are focusing on are: 1) personal study; 2) student study groups"the classroom environment over the Internet; and 3) small groups, where people can meet face to face on a regular schedule, while using technology to study and communicate apart from meeting times.
Welcome to the Social
This is a phrase you will hear a lot next year. It is the tag line of Microsofts new portable media player, the Zune. While the iPod is still our favorite player, the Zune has one very interesting feature: it allows you to beam songs and teachings to your friends. You have to be in close proximity and the content expires after three days or three plays, but we think this is a great resource for the Kingdom. We also expect to see this feature in the next generation of the iPod. This will make it very easy to witness or share with others: Here, listen to what Chuck has to say about . as you beam the MP3 file to them. Welcome to the future!
www.khouse.org: This has been an incredible year for our websites. Our monthly visitor numbers continue to go up, which translates into reaching more and more people. The positive feedback we get from people who have just discovered Koinonia House is very encouraging. Due to our large library of articles and radio shows, we come up in the search engines under some rather odd searches. People looking for aliens find Christ and others looking for dirt on some politician find peace and a Biblical worldview that brings understanding.
eNews: Our free weekly publication on current events also continues to grow. Each week, we reach over 65,000 people (email addresses) worldwide.
www.StudyCenter.com: This website of the Koinonia Institute is still in its fledgling stage, but it is being well received. It is awesome to see how God has brought this together and guided the entire process. We feel that this part of the ministry will have a larger impact on the body of Christ than we can imagine. Our staff has a sense of anticipation and excitement about what is going on. Part of our goal is to develop this into a real campus experience for our students, where they will not only be learning, but be part of a community that studies the Bible, understands the world we are living in, and actively participates in ministry.
Online Store: It is obvious we live in a technological age. Our online store sales continue to grow, with the largest segment being downloads. The downloads allow people from all over the globe to get our materials quickly. Before, depending on where they lived, it could take up to several weeks to receive products from us. In some cases, receiving materials from us was impossible due to governmental restrictions, but with the Internet, these people can finally be reached.
Our traditional outreaches have also continued to expand. We have increased our terrestrial radio outreach by over 45% this year. We are also getting many requests to reformat our DVD teachings into TV shows. This effort would require more video equipment and staff, and we are still praying about this opportunity.
The Year Ahead
The coming year is going to be a challenging one. Our needs include adding some staff to the Internet team for programming and KI course creation. Please pray that God will direct the right people to apply for these positions. If we are to create the best Bible school on the Internet, we need: 1) talented people who are committed to making it happen; 2) Gods guidance for direction; and 3) the funds to pay for it all. Please continue to pray that we will hear Gods voice clearly and that our Lord is glorified by our efforts here at K-House.