DENMARK — Campfires, Dutch oven treats and Bible studies. That’s the outdoor summer menu for members of All Saints Parish in Denmark and St. Mary Parish in Glenmore.
As a way to get parishioners excited about Bible study, Deacon Jim Trzinski started “Campfires with Christ Bible Studies” at the two parishes where he serves at pastoral coordinator.
“My hope was to offer a Bible study program that was not the typical ‘classroom’ type of Bible study,” said Deacon Trzinski. “I shared with the attendees that Christ most likely taught his disciples while sitting around a campfire, so in essence this brings us back to a setting reminiscent of Christ himself teaching.”
He said that the program is modeled after one he began while serving at St. Paul Parish in Plainfield.
The evening events have been held Wednesday nights in Glenmore and Thursdays in Denmark. Attendance has ranged from 12 to 18 people, he said.
“The Bible study begins with a meal, which is cooked completely around a campfire. We may grill brats and hamburgers over an open grate above the fire,” said Deacon Trzinski. “We get as intricate as actually preparing some Dutch oven dishes over the fire, which may include chicken and biscuits, and even fresh cobbler for dessert, all cooked over the fire.”
On Aug. 8, 17 people turned out for the Bible study in Denmark to enjoy a Dutch oven treat and discuss Luke’s Gospel.
Among those in attendance was Mary Vogel, who said she is sorry the sessions were coming to an end on Aug. 15.
“I think it’s gone really good. You’re outside in the fresh air with friends and you learn about Jesus,” said Vogel. “Deacon (Trzinski) is really prepared. It’s enjoyable and it’s too bad more people don’t take it up.”
“Attendees have a chance to build their relationship with Christ through learning from the Bible, and also with each other,” said Deacon Trzinski. “We like to share not only about the meaning of the Scriptures, but how they affect our everyday lives. We have had some excellent discussions this year about how we put the teachings of the Bible into action in our everyday lives.”
According to Deacon Trzinski, the campfire setting is conducive to questions and lengthy discussions about living out the word of God. It is also a way to build discipleship, he said.
“I look at the Campfires with Christ Bible Studies as a way to go out and meet people where they are at, and where they feel comfortable talking about the Scriptures and sharing their faith,” he said. “I have seen a sense of accompaniment with the attendees as they share their stories about their faith life, which is a true meaning of discipleship.”
Deacon Trzinski said the outdoor faith-sharing format has potential for other evangelization initiatives. He helped start “Bow Hunting for God” retreats while serving in Plainfield.
“Some people have shared with me ideas such as ‘Kayaking and Canoeing with Christ’ and even ‘Finding God on Your Four Wheeler,’” he said. “I hope that through these new and innovative ideas, I can continue to reach out and touch peoples’ hearts and accompany them on their journey with Christ.”