Best Practices for Church-Wide B90 Program

Summary: So you want to begin a B90 group in your church? That’s where most B90 groups take place, and we’ve been able to collect a fantastic and extensive list to help you excel the group you’ll lead for your church.

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Pilot Group: Begin with a pilot group — say 3-12 staff and/or church leaders — that will start and complete The Bible in 90 Days prior to the church-wide effort. Use all the resource materials to become familiar with them, and meet just as the participants in the church-wide effort will meet. So, a pilot group might do the curriculum from June through August just prior to a church-wide effort beginning in September. This serves several purposes:

  1. For many in the pilot group, this may be their first trip through God’s Word;
  2. Often, the pilot group comes together in a way that provides an incredible foundation for the church-wide effort;
  3. Video, written, or live testimonials from the pilot group can be used to market the church-wide effort; and
  4. Hands-on experience helps leadership understand how the various pillars of The Bible in 90 Days curriculum and resources fit together to undergird participants’ success.

Recruit a core group of Facilitators and Small Group Leaders at least one month before your church-wide start date. See the Leader’s Guide for details.

A church-wide effort should focus on adults. If the child and youth departments want to participate in a church-wide effort, we suggest they offer a parallel program using some of the children and youth materials mentioned elsewhere in this site. While we’ve had youths as young as ten years old successfully complete the program using the resources, this is the exception rather than the rule. Those who are ready can participate along with the adults.  What will make an indelible impression on the youth in the church is that the adults – parents, teachers, staff, etc. – are reading the entire Bible. This will be something to aspire to when they get older.

Market the church-wide B90 widely for at least four weeks prior to the first meeting. Use testimonials from the pilot group or elsewhere in church services, bulletins, newsletters and social media. B90 is a great way to encourage the un-churched to come to your church for a specified period of time — 90 days. Most people want to read the entire Bible, and they’ll even come to your church to do so. Then you have 14 weeks to encourage them to keep coming back.

During the run-up to launch, register attendees so you can estimate what materials to order. However, registration should be limited to getting people to come to the first meeting. period. Let them know that — at the first meeting — they’ll be given all the information they’ll need in order to make an informed decision as to whether or not they can participate in the 90 day challenge. During the weeks leading up to the first meeting, have people register for the first meeting, but do not take money or distribute materials — until the first meeting.

Why? Because…

1. Almost everyone who attends the first meeting will end up committing to the challenge and,

2. A lot more people will come to the first meeting, since their initial commitment only requires them to come to a meeting!

This two-step process may seem unnecessary, but instead is crucial — like courtships starting with a date rather than a proposal. During the course of the first meeting, they’ll be given all the information necessary to make an informed decision. Virtually everyone in attendance will say ‘yes’, and some will encourage friends and family to come with them to the second meeting.

  • Do not distribute the Bible or Participant’s Guide prior to the first meeting. This keeps people from “getting a head start”, then falling victim to the same hurdles that typically thwart people’s efforts to read the entire Bible. The information shared during the first meeting is crucial in helping people approach the challenge in a way that they can be successful.
  • It generally works best for each participant to have some investment in the program. Many churches have participants pay, say, $15-25 for materials (Bible and Participant’s Guide). This investment helps “lock in” their commitment.
  • Be sure the participants are accountable throughout. The two-colored name tag system described in the Leader’s Guide is very effective. It keeps participants accountable while minimizing the burden on leadership. Other methods can be used, if need be.  Having participants report their status (“current with reading” or “a little behind”) is critical in helping many participants succeed.
  • The Senior Pastor and at least one respected key lay leader should both be visible proponents of the B90 effort.
  • For the 14 weeks of the program, have the senior pastor preach a sermon that is drawn from something in the prior week’s reading. This can be of the pastor’s choosing, or can be developed from the outlines provided on this site.
  • Sermons from the reading immediately rewards the participants, and trains them that being in the Word will help them glean more from each week’s sermons. Those people who are not participating will wish they were. They will be ready and willing the next time B90 is offered. There is NO need for the sermons to summarize the prior week’s reading.
  • Consider a church-wide celebration upon completion.

Scheduling

Offer several meeting times. For instance, a group on Sunday evening at 6 p.m., another Tuesday morning at 7 a.m., and another on Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m., etc. Make it as convenient as possible for your congregants and guests to say YES to the challenge.

Winter

  • Unless you must, do not start a church-wide effort on January 1. Don’t start on a day when you know some of the people you most want involved will be out late the night before.
  • For larger churches, it is best to start between late January and late February. This allows time to market the start after Christmas vacation. Starting by late February (1) still takes advantage of a people’s desire to do something meaningful during the new year and (2) typically allows you to finish before school lets out for the summer.

Fall

  • Schedule so that you finish before Thanksgiving. Most people will get caught up in holiday gatherings with family and friends which will simply impede finishing.

Summer

  • Some congregations do well in the summer; many do not. Try to start after school lets out for the summer and end before it begins again in the fall.
  • Prepare people to keep reading if even while traveling. Those who fly find this is a great time to do their reading.

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