This article is from Calvin Simon who pastors New Creation Community Church, GCI’s congregation in Norfolk, Virginia.
As a pastor, I’m always on the lookout for resources to use in discipling people in the way of Jesus. Our congregation wanted a monthly discipleship class, so we started by studying the GCI booklet, The God Revealed in Jesus Christ. After completing that study, we were looking for something that would meet us in our everyday lives.
I had recently been working my way through Cathy Deddo’s book (with study guide), The Letter of James: Knowing the Father of Lights in the Midst of Our Darkness. I knew at once that it was what the congregation was looking for. So we purchased copies for everyone and our monthly discipleship class took off. People were showing up ready to answer the study questions and to ask questions about Cathy’s notes and commentary. Preparation to facilitate the study is easy—one just works through the material in advance. We’ve been using Cathy’s book now for six months, and I’ve seen people grow in their faith, in their desire to read God’s Word, and in their relationships.
Cathy’s book is filled with challenging questions and thought-provoking statements. We’re not only learning about the book of James, but about a right way to study all Scripture. On the days we hold the class, attendance is always high. We don’t have a sermon that day, because the book is filled with the good news, and it meets people in their everyday situations.
We had a visitor attend with us the first time we held the class on James. Afterwards he asked how he could get one of the books for himself. He has returned several times since.
The excitement in the congregation is growing, as people begin to see how God desires to speak to us through his written Word with the Living Word, Jesus, at the center. So often we view Bible Study as boring, or as a chore. However, our experience has been that Bible study can be one of the greatest and most fun things we can do. Cathy teaches us to take time to listen to what God is saying to us in Scripture. If you’re looking for a resource to help members (and visitors) grow in their faith, I highly recommend Cathy’s book, The Letter of James.
Note: Cathy’s book can be previewed and purchased on her website at