Encouragement & Real Stories of Changed Lives

Full of new ideas, insights, and inspiration.

Excited to Announce Our Latest Online Tool!

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We have heard from you! We are answering your request to learn how to begin a Bible study with people around you through a video workshop!
 
Is God stirring your heart?
 
Do you want a plan?
 
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Easter Comes but Once a Year

Easter Outreach Ideas

Did you know 70% of your unchurched friends, neighbors, and family would go to church if someone they knew invited them?  Take a few moments and write down ten people that qualify with these criteria: 1. You know them, 2. They don’t attend or go to church.  

(Polite pause)

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Lent Bible Study Available

Lent Bible Study
Our newest study, the Lent Bible Study, is only available through this email. We desire to have several individuals and a few small groups take part in field testing our materials before we post them to our website. Would you help us by being a part of our “Lent Bible Study” field test? This study is written in the same format as our other 2GO Bible study series. It is a 7-week study leading up to Easter. The following is the introduction. 
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Would You Like to Host a Valentine's Day Gathering for Your Neighbors?

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We know Valentine's is a special time of year and we want to help you know how to use it as an opportunity for loving the people right where you live, work, or connect. I have designed a guide to help! Having a guide helps keep my thoughts organized in one place. It's really just a way for me to stop missing important details when I want to have a purpose-driven gathering for others.  I'm an ideas person, so I put a ton of details as potential considerations. Some may be unnecessary to your situation; just leave those blank and move to something that would be helpful.

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How To Plan An Egg Hunt

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It was spring again and time for the Annual Egg Hunt in the neighborhood. I was searching for motivation to get this one together...again...by myself. Years earlier when I hosted the first hunt, I had been told to call it an "Egg Hunt", not an "Easter Egg Hunt". I was not permitted to use special messages or symbols inside the eggs to represent the Resurrection of Jesus, in other words - no religious talk. I was told there were people of many faiths, and we did not want to exclude anyone. In addition, for the last two years it was around freezing on the morning of each hunt. Only a few brave souls showed up (got plenty of eggs), then quickly left for home to get warm. So this year I was less than enthusiastic about the gathering. After all, what was the point if I couldn't share the meaning of the holiday?

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Thanksgiving: to host or not to host

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Guest post by Karen Guzman

I grew up in a house regularly filled with guests, whether for a meal or for a semester. So, when I joined InterVarsity staff and moved into my own place, it was natural to host students for meals, movie nights, parties, etc. Later, I began working with graduate students who tended to be on campus year ‘round. Work commitments and/or being from out of state or overseas make for infrequent visits to family. Working with international students, I discovered that many come to the states for school and return home without ever having seen the inside of an American home. Thanksgiving, particularly, became a focal point of ministry as I welcomed students into my home for a traditional American celebration.

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How will you answer "the knock?"

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Throughout the year we seek moments with our neighbors to show God’s love and perhaps to invite them into our homes. We may have asked a neighbor several times to come over and they have never accepted. Yet for Halloween, many of these same neighbors will likely walk up to our doors and ring the bells. May we open our eyes to the possibilities…

“Love is the very nature of God, and as believers, we share His nature. That’s why love is so important. Our expression of love is evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. True love results in action.” Janice Mathers

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Meet Aiden, a 9-year-old who caught a vision


Kid’s Back Yard Bible Club Designed by kids, for kids! Want to try something different with your family this summer? Along with your summer bucket list of:*pool time*friend time*vacation timeHow about adding:*neighborhood Bible club for kids!Nine-year-old, Aiden, caught a vision last week to do such. Debbie McGoldrick lead a workshop entitled “how to begin a neighborhood Bible study for kids.”  One such attendee was Aiden. After praying with his mom and dad he told them what he wanted to do. Aiden shared, “I want to teach kids about the Bible so that kids can know Jesus and go tell others about him and can become Christians too.” His mother, Heather, said, “he is so excited. We are truly excited to see what God wants us to do with this.” The plan is simple. Heather discussed they will meet Tuesdays from 3:00-5:00pm in their home. The time will be spent developing friendships and reading from the Bible and talking about it. Their main desire is that their neighbor children know they can come to a “safe” place with their questions about God and they can learn what it means to have a relationship with God. She also shared her boys are running with the idea and they are trusting the Lord with all the details from week to week. This week Aiden and his two brothers handed out rice krispie treats and flyers to the children in their neighborhood. How fun is that? They wanted to make sure all their neighbors knew about the summer Back Yard Bible Club. Heather also said she will have a private facebook group with the parents to keep them up to date with the weekly Bible verses.Aiden’s favorite verse is Psalm 90:2. “Before the mountains were born you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God.” When asked why this was his favorite, his replywas, “it shows how much God knows and how mighty he is. Way to go, Aiden! We can’t wait to hear about all the Lord will do through your step of faith. What ideas have you had to reach out to children? What have you done to reach the children of yourneighborhood? Joan Parsons, with three sons (21, 20, and 17 years old) and one girl (15), is thankful for her large capacity washer and naps.  She loves Mountain Dew, dance parties in the kitchen when all her kids are home, and laughing about anything. She remains bewildered with God's indescribable and constant love for her in the midst of heartaches and plain normal days.
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Be nice to everyone. You never know who lost an argument to a teenager.


 Mothers need one another. I don’t know how else to say it. We need advice. We need “oh ya, I’ve been there too.” We need encouragement. We need affirmation. We need help, for pete’s sake. Gathering mothers together is really fun. Throw out this question, “tell your worst/best parenting moment” and let the laughter, tears, and connecting begin. How to host a neighborhood Mother’s Day Brunch Choose a day, time and home to gather in. Ask a good friend to share thoughts on Motherhood Send simple invitations Prepare for the details of the day (clean, cook, ask a few others to cook too, etc) Welcome each guest and tell them you are glad they came Facilitate a “getting to know you” time Pray a blessing for the food and the ladies who came Eat! Listen to “speaker” Clean up So simple. So needed. We all desire to build “community” right where we live. Gathering neighbors together is vital to this. Sharing life with one another communicates value, love and care. Hosting a Mother’s Day brunch is a wonderful way to have women in our homes to produce this community! “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42 As followers of Christ may we continually be known for caring for our neighbors, extending a helping hand, welcoming them in our homes and initiating relationships. Do you have an idea for Mother’s Day?  Please share it with us.The NBS2go Team
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5 Simple Ways to Connect with Neighbors at Easter

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5 Ways to connect with your neighbors at Easter   A pastor was recently sharing that his family initiated with a neighbor who lived two doors down. They had the family over for Easter lunch.  As the conversation progressed he asked them what Easter meant to them.  The wife responded, “what do you mean? It’s all about the Easter bunny and spring and such.  Does it mean something different to you?” He thought he would ask the question in a different way. “What significance does Easter have to you spiritually?” The wife responded again, “does Easter have anything to do with God?” Does this story burden you like it does me?  The crux of the Christian faith hinges on the reality of the resurrection. Our team put together a brief list of ideas to connect with our neighbors during the Easter season.  

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Tears Filled Her Eyes: Fresh Idea for a Sweet Valentine's NBS

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As a facilitator of a neighborhood Bible study for nine years now, I am continually looking for fresh ideas. If the Lord is creative enough to design butterflies and the zebra, certainly He can give me creativity with the women in my Bible study! It's a well known fact that for Valentine’s Day, the one book that is read aloud in my home (even to my older children) is "Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch." It's a heartwarming tale that shows the effect of love and tender regard toward a man who lives alone. For a few years now I have also read the book aloud to the women in the Bible study. One year, I decided to change it up. Instead of just reading the book at Bible study, I contacted the husbands of the women of the group and ask them to help me. I sent a quick note to them that said, "Hello! This is Joan Parsons. I am hoping to surprise the ladies around Valentine’s Day with a note from their husband. Could you please take a couple of minutes and answer the question: What do you admire about your wife? I would like 2-3 sentences. You can send it via text or email." The morning of Bible study came and honestly, I was overwhelmed.  The husbands were amazing with their words. They had taken time to be thoughtful and encouraging. I took each of their notes and reproduced them on pretty stationery. "She is the most supportive wife, who is never critical of me to others, always respects my opinions, and honors me without complaint after long hours of work." "She is the most capable person I've ever met. There is absolutely NOTHING she can't accomplish when she puts her mind to it." One by one, I read the notes aloud. We laughed. We cried. We shared a very special and precious moment together. One of the ladies said, with tears in her eyes, "I have never heard him say these things. This means the world to me." And she and her husband had been married for 40+ years! Mr. Hatch strikes again!

 

Ask the Lord to give you creativity. He can do what you could never do on your own. How have you marked Valentine's Day in your Bible study? Share your ideas with other leaders in the comments.  
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That babe in the manger

Christmas time is here...well, not yet of course.  But as we prepare our hearts for this time of year we may also want to "put on our gift list" something quite different.  How about giving our neighbors the opportunity to gather, to connect and to hear the life changing message of forgiveness through that babe in the manger.  Listen to Gale Johnson of East Renton Community Church of Renton, WA as she shares a simple idea of reaching out to her neighbors.  You will love this! For more information to set up your own "Christmas Gathering" please click here.As always, please share with us if you plan to host a gathering or any other ideas.  We love hearing from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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The Time I Wore Flip Flops to Easter Sunrise Service

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As we joined the congregation early last Easter morning, our flip flops smacked the aged wooden floor loudly. My children, still sporting pajamas and raging bedheads, had already descended upon the donut holes and hot chocolate. They giggled wildly at their mutual good fortune of extra sugar before proper breakfasts. The pianist played a traditional hymn softly in the background. All the assembled heads turned at once to take in our ragtag crew, and then someone spoke."Happy Easter!" my neighbor said, with a smile."Happy Easter!" we replied. The church was our community pool deck. The congregation consisted of our friends and neighbors. Our Easter finery was "come as you are." The sun rose over our homes' rooftops, while Blossom, the neighborhood cat, stretched out under a picnic table bench serving as a pew.My neighborhood Bible study organized a sunrise Easter gathering last year. Our leaders kept it very simple, asking ladies in the Bible study for help. The result was an informal, joyful way to start a day of celebration of the risen Christ.If you want to try organizing an event like this in your neighborhood, think about these simple steps.1.  Establish a time and place: We chose sunrise at our pool deck, which allowed people who attend a more formal service at church on Easter morning to still take part.2.  Ask people for help providing things like: Music or song sheets. We are fortunate to have a talented piano teacher and some great singers in our neighborhood! Refreshments, like donuts and coffee. Keep it simple and sugary! A children's message or object lesson. Scripture reading of the Easter story. A short Easter message. The offering of opening and closing prayers.3.  Send out invitations.4.  Enjoy a sweet celebration on Easter morning!Happy Easter from NBS2Go!If you've ever planned an Easter-themed event in your neighborhood, share a helpful tip in the comments!Find more Fresh Stories here!Erica Rountree is a freelance writer and the communications director at Action Ministries Inc. She lives and works in Marietta, Georgia, where she’s a member of a neighborhood Bible study and mama to two girls who constantly outsmart her and drive her to drink sweet tea.  
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Friendsgiving: Start a New Holiday Tradition in Your Neighborhood

Michelle Coon
At NBS2Go, we love to bring you fresh ideas that you can use to reach out to your neighbors throughout the year. Remember, a mighty apple tree that produces bushels of fruit came from one small seed! Michelle Coon brings us a "seedling" of an idea to plant during the season of gratitude ...Last year, our son told his dad and me he wouldn’t be arriving until noon on Thanksgiving Day because he was celebrating Friendsgiving on Wednesday night.  We'd never heard of Friendsgiving before, but it reminds me a little of the Peanuts cartoon, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, where Peppermint Patty invites herself and her friends over to Charlie Brown's for Thanksgiving. Along with Linus, Snoopy and Woodstock, he attempts to throw together a Thanksgiving dinner. Our son and his friends gathered in his small apartment, put up a table and shared a turkey dinner. It made me think about my neighbors and how we typically part ways for Thanksgiving to spend the day with our families.What if we celebrated Friendsgiving in our neighborhoods? Roasting a turkey and having everyone bring a side or dessert would be fun, especially if everyone shared their recipes. I love learning about other people's holiday family traditions, especially when they involve food! Our family had a special salad called Titus Salad. Growing up, it was always my job to chop the walnuts for the salad. Now that we travel for Thanksgiving, I bring the family Chex mix. The original recipe was given to me, with the cost of each item noted along with box sizes that are no longer available!If a whole meal sounds overwhelming, how about hosting a dessert? Ask your guests to bring their favorite fall food and have a gathering. A great ice-breaker would be going around and sharing what each person is thankful for this year. It would also be a tender time to share a testimony of gratitude, detailing how the Lord has provided and protected you through a trial. People are earnestly seeking vulnerability and real relationships. Let them know how a relationship with God has changed your life and praise His name.I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. Ps 40:1-3What ideas do you have for a Friendsgiving feast? Share with us in the comments!Find more Fresh Stories here!Michelle Coon lives in Atlanta. She and her husband Jeff have two grown sons. On the weekends, they enjoy exploring the small towns of Georgia, hiking and finding a good farmer’s market. Michelle is an active participant and facilitator in Neighborhood Bible studies, and she is passionate about the Acrostic Bible Study Method.
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Invite Neighbors for Soup on Halloween

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Enjoy this repost (with permission) of blogger Kristin Schell of The Turquoise Table.Halloween is a great opportunity to get together with neighbors. Before you go out into the neighborhood walking the Littles door-to-door for treats of chocolate, why not invite the neighbors into your home for a warm bowl of soup.Years ago, my favorite across-the-street neighbor (I call her Mrs. Kravitz), started a Halloween Soup Party tradition. She kept it simple, just two pots of soup simmering on the stove, but all night long there was a revolving door of guests stopping by for a cup of soup and conversation. I loved these gatherings, so when we moved a few blocks away, I stole her idea and started our own soup party tradition.Tips for Hosting a Soup Party Variety. Make two pots of soup. Use recipes that serve a crowd or can be double easily, like the ones I’ve shared with you. Self-Serve from the Stove. Since our soup party is come and go, I leave the soup simmering on the stove and encourage guests to help themselves. Use a mix of bowls and mugs. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough bowls, pull out all your coffee mugs, too. It’s fun to mix it up. Set up a topping bar. Soup toppings are the best part! Put out plenty of versatile toppings like cheese, chips, chives, sour cream, and of course roasted pumpkin seeds. Make it a Pot-Luck. Depending on the size of your party, why not make it a pot luck? Ask your neighbors to bring a pot of their favorite soup.Five Delicious Fall Soup RecipesPumpkin & White Bean SoupBaked Potato Soup {Crockpot}Easy Homemade Tomato SoupMia’s Famous Corn SoupMrs. Kravitz’s (Mother’s) Cauliflower SoupKristin Schell attended cooking school in Paris and Strasbourg, but now cooks mostly for love for her husband and four children. She writes the blog The Kitchen Mission, where she shares her faith as a believer in Jesus. She calls the Kitchen Mission "not a place of high theology, rather my humble ponderings of living daily with a converted heart." She's on an exciting adventure learning to love her neighbors, and her project, The Turquoise Table, has become a thriving community of  Front Yard People who are committed to love where they live. Born and raised in Texas, Kristin is a proud Longhorn, and she's hopelessly addicted to Tex-Mex. 
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To Start or Not to Start? That is the Question!

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Let’s face it, we all have concerns or fears of beginning a neighborhood Bible study. Taking this step requires faith and trust that Lord is going before us. For those of us who have begun, we definitely know how you might feel!  We’ve compiled from our website a list of five of our most Frequently Asked Questions.  1. Who can start a Neighborhood Bible Study (NBS)?

If you love God and desire to share His love with others, then you are qualified to start an NBS!

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Prayer-Walking: Is Your Neighborhood the "Hakuna Matata" Place?

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Can you imagine the place where you live to be problem-free? Worry-free? Jeremiah says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by the water that sends its roots out by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”Of course, life is never problem- or worry-free. But because we have access to an all-knowing and sovereign Father, we can cast our cares upon Him, and He will care for us. We also have the privilege to lift up our neighbors and their cares to Him.Many of us here at NBS2go, are committed to prayer-walking. The plan is simple and has helped many people with their desires to make prayer a priority. The following is a list of ideas from our website to help you get started.Make a plan to begin prayer walking on a regular basis.Pray for people by name when possible, asking God to give you opportunities to serve, give and build relationships with them. Prayerfully follow through.Pray for God’s blessings and protection on each home and family.Pray that God would open hearts and create a hunger to know Him.Pray for homes that are for sale: Remove and keep out all evil Move in those hungry to know Christ Move in and raise up vibrant believers to join your study We are Christ’s ambassadors in our neighborhoods. God has a purpose for where you live! Scripture tells us in Acts 17:26-31 that God not only determines the times we are to live, but also the places where we live, work and play. You are Jesus “with skin on” to your neighbors. Remember, the most loving thing you can do for your neighbors is to pray for them and introduce them to Christ. Find more Fresh Stories here!Joan Parsons, with three teenagers under her roof — and one away at college! — is thankful for her husband and naps. Between laundry loads and fixing beef, you might find her in the McDonald’s drive-through ordering a coke with extra ice and a chocolate chip cookie … because this is her happy place. 
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Remembering what the Lord has done: Fun ways to wrap your NBS

joan.web
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. Psalm 77:11There's no doubt as you read God’s Word that “remembering” is a main theme. The Israelites were told over and over to remember what the Lord had done for them. Even Exodus 20:8 says “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” The Lord wants us to be revived in our minds with all we have learned from Him. As we grow spiritually, He wants us to take time to look back and ponder what He has shown us. When we wrap up our Neighborhood Bible Study year, this is exactly what we do.Recalling what the Lord has taught us always leads us to celebrate!Brunch and encouragement blast

Set aside the last day of Bible study for brunch. Have everyone bring salads or breakfast items for a longer time of conversation. On 3x5 cards (before everyone arrives), write the name of each woman who attended (one per card). After brunch, pass around the cards for each woman to write a note to the person whose name is on the card. Keep it short and simple. I have them answer a question like, "In what way have you seen this person grow spiritually this year?” Or “What do you most appreciate about this person in Bible study?” The ladies in my Bible study still have these notes from five years ago! Who knew encouragement would be so powerful?

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Who Doesn't Love a Party?

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Did you know that the Christmas season is the No. 1 time when people are most open to consider matters of faith? Among adult Americans, 47 percent of people are OPEN to matters of faith. There is no better SOCIAL season ... and no more open time in people's lives. Christmastime is a perfect time to DREAM dreams for the Kingdom of God!Little did I know, when I spoke for two Christmas Gatherings in 1981, that it was the beginning of a lifelong adventure that would be used of God to touch lives literally all over the world! Today, through Christmas Gatherings, thousands have indicated that they have received Jesus Christ, and numerous follow-up Bible studies have been started. Not only have the Gatherings brought exciting changes in people’s lives through a relationship with Jesus Christ, but they also foster incomparable growth opportunities for Christians who want to reach out and share their faith with others.What is a Christmas Gathering?Christmas Gatherings are holiday parties! They feature seasonal goodies, sharing of Christmas traditions and a brief, non-threatening talk on the meaning of Christmas. They provide a time for people to invite their neighbors or other groups into their home to hear about the love of Jesus Christ. About one out of every three Gatherings causes enough interest in a Bible study to start a study for that group right in the neighborhood!What are the benefits of a Christmas Gathering? An opportunity to reach out to others and build loving relationships Learning to share the Gospel clearly and with relevance Modeling the simplicity of prayer - talking to God about the desires of our heart Providing your home as a safe environment to not only hear about Jesus Christ, but also to learn about Him in His Word Counteracts the trend of isolation. Many people are never invited into someone’s home, and they are honored to be included. Requires only two people to initiate – host and speaker The privilege of experiencing the joy of trusting GodHow does it work? Create an invitation that includes the phrase: “a friend will share some inspiring thoughts about Christmas.” Present a 10 to 15-minute talk by someone other than the host that includes the following: A Christmas theme A clear non-threatening presentation of the Gospel An opportunity to receive Jesus Christ An opportunity to respond to the host and speaker An opportunity to attend a Bible StudyThe best part is that this is a simple idea that anyone can do! After reading the manual or attending a training session, people say they feel prepared to share Christ in their home or workplace. Our prayer is that God would create in each of us a heart that loves and cares enough about the people around us that we are compelled to lift Jesus up and share Him in a way that brings Him glory and moves people toward God.The essence of the ministry of Christmas Gatherings is found in I Thessalonians 2:8: “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God, but our lives as well.”Merry Christmas!Find more Fresh Ideas here!Joyce BademanFounder and National Director, Christmas GatheringsFrom the website Christmas Gatherings ... Visit the website for a free download of a Christmas Gatherings manual in English, Spanish and Chinese! Like Christmas Gatherings on Facebook here.
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How My Daughter's Hatred of Tights Gave Birth to Cookie Tuesdays

Figuring out effective ways to connect with our neighbors doesn't have to be labor-intensive and full of angst. Sometimes it just happens! Jeanette, a blogger and busy mom of three in Franklin, Tenn., writes about how her daughter's hatred of ballet tights led to a burgeoning weekly gathering that allows neighbors and friends to connect and find a little sweetness in the midst of ordinary life.Read Jeanette's blog post here.To subscribe to the NBS2Go blog, enter your email on the right, then click “subscribe.”
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What is NBS2GO?

NBS2GO = Neighbor Bible Studies 2GO - nbs2go.com is simply the packaging of ideas, resources, and inspiration to equip believers to launch and multiply Bible study groups.


What's the big deal about a Bible study group?

Like a one-room schoolhouse, a Bible study group brings together a wide range of seekers and Christ-followers to study, discuss, and encourage one another toward life application of God’s Word. This blending of spiritual maturity levels creates a dynamic, life-transforming community. Friendships are formed, and group members are equipped to minister to others where they do life. Life transformation and multiplication!

NLT Scripture references on nbs2go.com and in publications, unless otherwise noted.

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