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inVerse relaunches catechesis for young adults in Bulgaria

As in many other countries, catechesis for young adults (EDS for “Sabbath School”) seems to be withering away in Bulgaria. According to a survey conducted by the DHS department of the Union of Adventist Churches in Bulgaria in the second quarter of 2022, among 749 lay people (12% of union members), 142 DHS teachers and 25 pastors, only 40% of young people regularly attend EDS events.

During this same period (Q2 2022), Miroslav Milkov, a youth leader for one of the churches in Sofia and a volunteer in the EDS department, was browsing the resources of the international church for ideas when he came across the inVerse bible study guide . “ inVerse quickly got me hooked,” says Miroslav. “It was unlike anything I had seen before, and I quickly realized that with its fresh concept, this contemporary Bible study could transform the way young adults study their Bibles and even bring them back to life. church and EDS entertainment.”

Miroslav decides to try Bible study with his small group of young people who meet every Friday evening. “At first, some group members were confused by the new lesson section titles. But a few weeks later, I started seeing motivated young people coming to group meetings with their notebooks. My friends were inspired by the truths they had discovered for themselves during their Bible study and were ready to share them with the group. Soon we no longer had to look at the guide, as we already knew by heart what questions to ask in each part of the lesson. A man regularly traveled 250 km to attend our group meetings every Friday,” concludes Miroslav.

Seeing God’s blessings at work among the members of his small group, Miroslav decided that the new study guide was too good to keep secret. To make inVerse accessible to everyone in Bulgarian, a translation had to be made. He shared the idea with his Sabbath School team and won their support. The team had the ingenious idea of ​​involving young volunteers in the translation rather than hiring a professional translation service. In this way, the young people involved would be motivated and would also spread the news to their friends. “Everything – from meeting the team to translating, editing and publishing – had to be organized in a month so that we [could] have the lessons for the following quarter (Q4 2022) ready on time,” recalls Miroslav. “At first, a few people joined the team. Then a few more. The deadline for setting up and running the team was approaching. I had already established the distribution of the lessons: each translator had to translate two lessons. Then, at the last moment, God deeply blessed the project: A young girl sent me an SMS containing 5 names of young people who wanted to be part of the team. Not only did we have a translator for each of the 13 lessons, but we now had more translators than lessons.”

After being translated, the lessons for the fourth quarter of 2022 have been published in the official GC Sabbath School app. The digital version of the study guide has become the preferred medium. After meeting the tight deadlines and making all the lessons available at the start of the term, Miroslav and his team faced another challenge: getting the new study guide out across the country and gaining buy-in from local churches. . The Sabbath School department has developed an original marketing campaign to attract young people. Special inVerse journals were designed and printed. They contained information about inVerse , a space for personal notes and the inVerse methodological guide. Water bottles have been branded with the inVerse logo . One bottle was given out each week – a prize for the winner of a weekly inVerse challenge launched on the department’s Facebook page. A question based on the weekly lesson was asked and the winner was drawn.

All of this, combined with God’s rich blessings on the project, produced great results over the following weeks. “People started texting me expressing their gratitude for the new study guides,” Miroslav recalls. “The Youth Sabbath School group has become the most visited group in our church. People were finally taking part, with animation, in the discussions. The Holy Spirit led a young couple to our services and to the Sabbath School group. Their experience with inVerse contributed to their decision to dedicate their lives to Jesus.” It was time to organize the translation of the lessons for the following term. Other people wanted to join the team, having learned of the existence of inVerseby their friends. This is how the team got started. Many churches have made the decision to adopt the new study guide the following quarter ( Q1 2023 ).

Stoyan Petkov, pastor and director of Sabbath School ministry for the Union of Adventist Churches in Bulgaria, said, “My dream was to rekindle the involvement of church members after the pandemic. I knew it would be through the youth and now I see it happening with the inVerse Bible study groups , not only in our church, but all over Bulgaria. It can easily become contagious across Europe.”

source: actualites.adventiste

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