Review of BSF Bible Study Fellowship – children’s bible study / ministry

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I’ve heard about Bible Study Fellowship (bsf) for years.  People have TRIED to tell me how great it is, but I thought NO WAY.  (you can’t fool me) . I’ve read reviews and heard people talk about it as if it’s some sort of strict military regime. NO way, not for me. First of all, I don’t like rules. Okay, God’s rules – yes, but I generally get annoyed with too many rules. I know this may be a shocker, but it takes everything in me not to press a button that says “do not press”, “do not touch” or “very hot”.  I’m still a work in progress.

For  years, I’ve heard how great bsf bible study is. While researching online and asking friends, here are some of the rules I heard: “ Don’t share! Don’t look at my answers! Top Secret! Don’t or you’ll get kicked out! No reading commentaries! No skipping class”.  I repeatedly said: “No way, no way, no way, not for me, don’t even talk about it to me.  I am not sitting under someone’s ridiculous rules”. However, as life will have it, I suddenly found myself at a BSF study this past August. I thought – for sure! I’ll be out of here in a few weeks when I find something wrong.

Now, coming to the end of BSF this year, I can tell you I have enjoyed it and I will be back again. I did not intend to end up here,   I was looking for a good weekday bible club for my children. I couldn’t find anything that had something for all ages – all on one night. Awana was nice, but some are good and some are slacking. The good are somehow supernaturally full within 24 hours of signup, wait…. make that 1 hour of sign up. I think it’s hierarchy – you know how that goes. The other good local Awana only had elementary level available. When I found out BSF had a bible study class for grades K-12 –woohoo,  but wait…I had to go too, so there I was.

BSF has it’s good and well, it’s annoying things. Sure! Just like anything else. Just like church- I still haven’t found one that is perfect . Same with other bible studies I’ve been in. I love the Beth Moore studies, but I don’t agree with a few of her teachings, but that doesn’t stop me from studying her books. I don’t 100% agree with other teachers either, but I still listen and study. Sometimes they’ve convinced me, and other times not. I always end up learning something. It all depends on my attitude and my decision to fully seek the Lord in the study through the scriptures. If I blocked out everyone that didn’t agree 100% with me, I’d be stuck in a corner by myself all my life.

Here’s the 411 if your interested:

The basics:

We meet once a week all year (August- May). My group has about 150-300 women and we break up into small groups of 12-15. Each week we begin our 2.5 hour study with everyone from all groups meeting together to sing praises and hear of upcoming events. From there,  the large crowd breaks up into their small groups. Each group has a facilitator / group leader who leads us through the 6 day homework assignment that we were given for the week. People share what they’ve learned and answer the questions. Reading some reviews, I’ve found that some leaders are very serious and strict, but others are normal and welcoming. I guess each experience depends on the people around you. Thank God! I was put in a normal group with nice people.

Initially my leader scared me! She was super serious about the name tags and getting our homework done. I never had my name tag and I was called out until I got my act together. I’m not serious about stuff like that, but I know they have their reasons and so forth….. .Anyways, despite my first impressions, my group was wonderful. My leader is caring, loving and is always there for anyone. The group of women I was with was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed my time with them. I had a good group of friendly women. They all knew scripture well but no one was “the know it all”, the “I’m so much better than you” or “so sorry you aren’t as intelligent as I am” people – you know what I’m saying? I’ve had a few of those in past bible studies and Phew! Those were some memorable moments. That kind of attitude can really take away from the study and why we are there – to glorify God , to seek Him – not to put ourselves on a pedestal. “All hail to me, you paupers” anywhoo……

After about 35-45 minutes of small group, all the groups meet once again together to sing – again – and hear a lecture – or talk – or whatever you call it. Then go home!

 The Good:

The study keeps you in the scriptures daily. Homework takes me 3-5 hours a week, but I go overboard. Maybe 15-20 minutes a day in homework would be all you really need. It’s all scripture based. You read the bible, you answer the questions. My favorite thing about bsf is that my children have an amazing new knowledge of scripture. All my children now know the book of Matthew and other scriptures very well. They’ve studied end times, Jesus’s last days and all the parables in great depth. My youngest can now reason with me and discuss scripture. Being in public school all day, it is difficult to really teach scripture to our children. Sunday school is good, but I wanted my children to learn more. I really believe God gave my children understanding as they read. I would preread some things and thought – Oh no- how can I explain this to them?,  but they got it. God blessed this year as we studied. My children got an amazing blessing of learning the Word. I am so happy about this. Studying the miracles has increased their faith. They now have a new desire to continue learning and seeking. Could I ask for anything more? I am blessed. Getting to homework wasn’t easy with their schedules and work from school. I would read the scriptures each night and at the end of the week we would answer our questions.

It’s a great study for anyone – even if you’ve never read the bible.  I think this is wonderful.  No one is felt left out or felt like they know more or less than the other person. All are welcome- that’s just the way God is too.  If you have read the bible many times, it’s still a good intense study – it is what you make it to be.  I believe each scripture verse holds a key to deeper and deeper mysteries. The more we study, the more understanding the Lord gives us.

It’s a very controlled environment, so the over-talker can’t take over the entire class . I’ve seen happen many times in other studies. In bsf small group, everyone gets an equal chance to talk and discuss.

 The real:

    Let’s be real. If you think my kids were super happy and my life is a field of daisy’s as I went to bsf all year, think again. Our bsf nights were on school nights- cranky, tired, crazy, chaotic, complaining, whining, fighting – ugh, I’m getting sick just thinking about it. This also made it very difficult with homework. Not only homework, but we do other things after school as well : piano, guitar, soccer, dance, youth group, volunteer hours, drama practice. Yes, life is busy! Somehow, miraculously, we were able to finish the year. We only missed a few scattered days. BSF is not a youth group nor is it similar to awana, it’s a lot more of intense learning. Yes, my kids would complain, whine and roll around the floor telling me they refused to go, but that doesn’t bother me. They go anyway and guaranteed – every night when we all pile in the car to drive back home, everyone is happy they went. In fact, the one that throws the biggest tantrum is the one who says “You know what mom, I know it’s not easy to get here, but I’m glad I went”. Always! Every ride home I always hear how happy each one was to be there.

Secondly –it can be exhausting at the end of a long day. I have to prepare dinner, do homework, look somewhat presentable and I drag myself there. I thought maybe this is good- going tired, because this keeps me quiet. I’m not overly talkative in my small group because I’m about to pass out from not only my day, but the tantrums and the chaos from the car ride there. I think I was almost on the verge of tears yesterday. One daughter threw a major tantrum because she had a lot of homework. I didn’t have the energy to jump to the back of the car and strangle her so I just kept saying  “Jesus!” for my entire 25 minute ride there. Surely he answered my cry. Hey! God commands us:

 So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,21 so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. Duet 11

  No one promised us that this would be easy, but the Lord is always there to help us through. Remember the enemy is out to destroy your children. How will they know right from wrong if we continue to let society, media, and the world shape, manipulate and brainwash our children? It is our responsibility to teach our children God’s word.

 The annoying:

I hate to say this, but I know people want the truth. The truth is, you can find annoying anywhere. These are some things that bother me. # 1 rules. I know you need rules, but in my group, I only ‘heard of rules’ no one actually sat me down with rules at bsf so depending on where you are and who leads – who knows. I only heard of bsf rules through the rumor mill, but no one every told me anything except “Where’s your name tag?”. My rule was to have a name tag, so after a while I finally gave in. I  think they are pretty strict about attendance. I heard if you miss a certain amount of days you need an approval to get back in- otherwise they fill your spot with another person and you are OUT. I think this rule would aggravate most people to running away, but keep calm and carry on….. ( Don’t run away yet)

Occasionally the notes annoy me because I’ve found things that are questionable. That doesn’t happen often, maybe 0-5% of the time. Otherwise the notes are great and full of great information, historical facts and biblical insight. Just throwing that in there – remember God’s word is the ultimate truth. Have a Berean attitude with everything else – that means to search the scriptures tot make sure that what you have been taught is truth.  Ask for wisdom and discernment as you study.  You must seek out the truth yourself as a Christ follower and be careful of every word spoken by teacher and preachers today.

This has been the best bible study my children have ever had. I was able to walk them through the scripture and homework throughout the week. If a question frustrated them for more than 30 seconds, it was time to move on to the next one. Bible study is not supposed to be frustrating, but enjoyable and fun. Like searching for ancient treasures!

**  I heard you can’t do research or read commentaries when answering questions. I think they say this so everyone doesnt come in with the same answer that someone else studied for them. It’s good to read reviews and sermons if you don’t understand- search for your answers if you need to and answer from you heart. I’ve also heard people say we can’t discuss notes outside of class . I never heard that in my study either,  the leader would always tell us to go out and share our faith and what we learned in the scripture with others around us.

Y Ya – as my mom in law says  (or that’s it! in spanish)

And that’s it!  I’ll be back again next year and I’m looking forward to next year’s study. My children have already expressed how excited they are about next years study as well and want to continue. That is a miracle in itself.  If you are contemplating joining bsf , try it out before you judge. I think it really depends on the leaders and the people in your group. It’s been a blessing for me and my children. Truly amazing.

  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)

 

For more information: https://www.bsfinternational.org/

Find a class near you : bsf locate a class

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22 thoughts on “Review of BSF Bible Study Fellowship – children’s bible study / ministry

  1. hahahahahaha, you know you want to join! But you can’t visit anymore because welcoming days are over. Sorry. You have to wait for the next invite and see if you get in.

    • Study at DD sounds cool. let me know. Oh boy, so I can’t visit now? what a shame… I missed it. I’d like to know what they look for to let you through the iron gates, I mean doors. 70% attendance eh? hmmmm I think that automatically disqualifies me. I can’t even commit to a movie tonight. It’s okay, I’ll live. but thanks anyway 😉

      • commitment is no fun! we can agree on that. Hey! speaking of gates, I just read Hebrews 11: 13 with word gate in it and I didn’t understand, I was just about to look into (sss-sudden subject change) We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

        11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.

        12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

      • I read it in The Message translation, check it out:
        13-15 So let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is—not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This “insider world” is not our home. We have our eyes peeled for the City about to come. Let’s take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring out sacrificial praises from our lips to God in Jesus’ name.

        There is probably more in the KJV translations to gather from but I like the message for a general understanding of what it’s saying… good verse.

  2. I’m in my first year of BSF and it’s been good so far. My boys are 3 and 1, and attend the children’s program. Personally, I’m OK with not a lot of play time because he gets that everywhere else (the 3 y/o specifically). I like that he has more structure, and he obeys and functions better under that model. As far as our small groups, I agree, not a lot of time to talk or get to know one another. My group leader is really cool about things like name tags and homework, but also communicates that it’s important. The thing that gets me is this— today I was at our first outside-BSF small group get-together, and just asked where everyone goes to church. I didn’t mean it in a judgy way, just curious where they went, maybe we have friends in common, etc. I was immediately shut down, told that we can’t discuss that. Really? She said it is a rule to prevent divisiveness among each other. It got me thinking, though. If we’re non-denominational, then where do we draw the line in certain issues? Just sweep them under the rug? If we all believe in the same Bible, then can’t we talk about things and come to an agreement? Are scriptures addressing issues gay marriage, divorce, etc ignored? Sorry, that just really turned me off. I don’t know if I want to be a part of an organization that doesn’t stand up for the scriptures IN THEIR ENTIRETY.

    • I know! Things like that annoy me too. Church congregation has slipped out a few times in my group and whoa! can’t do that. There’s got to be good reason – maybe it keeps people from cutting down other religions and local churches because I’ve seen that come out a few times and it’s awful. I personally have no problem telling people where I go and I’d like to know where others go -because maybe they go to my church and we can talk. I’m glad you shared about the classes for the little ones. Ive heard good things about those classes – music, snacks, and good stuff….

      I hear you, I hear you– they’ve got it all strictly locked down and things annoy me too, but it’s a good study. Give it some more time, you might be surprised to know your entire group may think just like you. You’re not alone, but keep on for a while and see if you can endure because it’s really about you and your family walking with the Lord, learning His ways and staying close to Him. If you can’t take it anymore, I understand, just find another good study for you and your children to stay in the word 🙂

      • The purpose during discussion and fellowships is exactly what you guessed – to avoid any negative discussion and putting anyone on the spot to defend their denonomination. Group members are welcome to discuss such things privately, just not during discussion and group fellowships. And, to be clear, BSF does stand up for Scripture in its entirety. By avoiding these kinds of conversations, we are able to focus on what the Bible says rather than how any specific denomination interprets Scripture. Group members who belong to denominations that interpret Scripture incorrectly have the opportunity to see the truth of Scripture rather than hear someone’s judgment concerning the church they attend. I sincerely hope this helps.

        Soooo looking forward to the study of Revelation!! We have our first discussion tonight.
        -Shari, Group Leader and long time BSF member

  3. I am the mother of a leader in BSF and wish my daughter had never started attending. She has let this position go to her head. She is disrespectful and hateful toward me and has kept my grandkids from me for three years. I was always needed for babysitting and love my grandchildren, but now she has filled their hearts with lies and they acted afraid of me when I went to see them. She refused to let me visit with them and sent me away in tears. Gods word says many things about how to treat others and she doesn’t seem to read those verses. She may say the words all right at BSF, but she is nothing but a clanging cymbal to all my friends who know how close I was to those precise kids.

    • I’m so sorry to hear this.I don’t know how this happened. Pray for your daughter and for discernment. She may be feeling completely overwhelmed. Being a leader takes a lot of time away from family and responsibilities, its a huge commitment – I know I couldn’t do it. Pray for her ask God to fix this situation, there may be other things bothering her as well that you don’t know about. Be patient and pray about it.

  4. I have read some of the reviews and some are false and some are true. Try BSF for yourself and make up your own mind, as for me I can digest the figs and throw away the bones.

    • I think a lot depends on the group and the leaders. It’s also important to keep doing other bible studies whether it be a Sunday small group or reading the bible through the year. I’ve read the good, bad and ugly about bsf too.

  5. I was in BSF for three years. I loved the fellowship and knowing that the women in my group were praying for me each week, just as I prayed for them. But as time passed, I became increasingly bothered by the “rules.” There seemed to be a new one each week. “Don’t wear perfume or scented lotion because some people are allergic to strong smells.” “Don’t click your pens or zip your Bible covers shut at the end of the lecture because it is distracting to those who are still writing.”

    At the monthly socials, we were not allowed to mention or show pictures of our families or pets. We were given ten minutes to meet-and-greet, then the discussion could only be about topics pertaining to the study.

    I’ve been in many Bible studies but never one that required all prayer requests to be approved in advance.

    There’s a lot more I could tell you but in the end, there were just too many rules. After I finished my third year I didn’t go back.

    • That is horrible!!!
      I would like to add- please don’t eat your fingernails to the point where I can hear spit noises in class.
      I’m serious but joking ! I don’t like rules either, I always click my pen and Zipper my bible during prayer and that’s only bc were so rushed to leave , pray and clean up room. We had to mulitask.
      I’m see each group is different. Find a new small group study or maybe you can form your own if you are no longer in Bsf. Never stop studying Gods word- don’t let people’s rules change your walk with Jesus
      😀

  6. I appreciate all the posts and completely understand that BSF is not for everyone. Relationship is suppose to come before rules, people before procedure. We are all a work in progress, all learning together, brothers and sisters in the Lord. Loving each other and showing mercy just as Christ has shown us, is so important. Nothing is perfect this side of eternity. Please keep seeking the Lord through his word and hold on to what is good. Peace

  7. I went to BSF for 5 years. I found the study was so good that the irritating, “has nothing to do with spirituality or scripture study” aspects of the study worth tolerating. There was one, though that even now makes me furious. It is a completely absurd, super annoying “rule.”

    And that would seating rules during the lecture. BSF leaders aggressively forcing attendees to sit where they wanted them to — going so far as to actually rope off seats in the back of the sanctuary. Verbally abusing and embarrassing anyone who dared not to sit where they wanted — i.e.: using public humiliation to manipulate individuals into doing what they wanted. Unspoken suggestion that they were not spiritual enough if they said, “No. I’m sitting where I’m comfortable.” I’m serious. I’m not making it up. This actually happened. They wanted us to be so jam packed together that you couldn’t even bend your freaking elbow without jabbing it into the person next to you. Like sardines in a can! I’m sorry, this is absolute, utter nonsense. I hard core rebelled against that MAN MADE law that served no purpose whatsoever. It does NOT bring people emotionally or spiritually closer. It just is a freaky, pointless, obsessive, uber-control thing by BSF.

    No apologies offered: I insist on my space bubble of at least 8 inches on either side of me. I am not “unspiritual” or unfriendly because of it, either. It is a really bad rule, it is wrong, it is dumb, and completely creepy that BSF has made it an issue.

    It’s been a long time since I was involved with BSF. As I say, the study was absolutely worth it, and the group leaders I had were all pretty good about respecting personal space in the small groups. It was the seating during the lecture that I absolutely loathed. Sorry to pop your bubble, BSF, but that is a “rule” you need to get rid of if you haven’t already. Encouraging people to sit forward in the sanctuary is one thing, but forcing the issue the way you do is about as far from Godly as you can get.

    • I so agree about the seating, that’s the way it was in my class. Once I sat next to a woman who had a cold. She sneezed, coughed, and blew her nose all through lecture. No room to edge away from her. Not surprising that I got sick a couple days later.

  8. I was in BSF for three years. I loved it but the rules pretty much ruined it for me. I have never before or since been in a Bible study where prayer requests had to be approved in advance. The teaching leader came up with some silly rule nearly every week. Don’t wear perfume or scented lotion, don’t click your pens or zip your Bible covers at the end of the lecture as others are still writing and find it distracting. Everyone had to sit in the middle section of the sanctuary. We were crammed into the pews so tightly that we were practically sitting in each other’s laps. My small group leader grilled me like I was on a witness stand, asking personal questions that were none of her business. The last straw came when, toward the end of my third year, I volunteered to host a group fellowship in my home. I was given a list of rules. No candles, no mood music, pets had to be shut in a room, all other occupants of the house must be gone. I decided that I could not allow these people to tell me what I could and could not do in my own home. I finished out the year, only a few weeks, and never went back.

    • How horrible and what a bad representation of Christ to the world . So sorry you and others had to go though that but I see that you have a heart for others. Keep your ears open to wherever God calls you. Thank you for sharing your experience, those are some of the craziest rules I’ve heard of yet-and I can’t stand when they make us move squished into one area – so pointless. I need personal space – I probably would have left just at that
      Thanks again for stopping by and commenting

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