Every Thursday, a group of Central Valley High School students shuffle into Good Shepherd Lutheran Church for Bible study before their school day begins.
The new ministry was the idea of Liberty Lake Community Church youth minister Andrew Fouche, who brought it to Gordon Fitch, who runs the youth programs at Good Shepherd, Christ Lutheran and Holy Trinity Lutheran churches. Fouche said he thought it would be ideal to hold the weekly event at Good Shepherd, directly across the street from the high school.
The Bible study is nondenominational and everyone is welcome. Most of the regulars are members of the youth groups run by Fitch and Fouche, but others have attended occasionally as word of the group spreads. “There’s a lot of different churches represented at the high school,” Fouche said. “Anybody that’s Christian can come.”
The Bible study is held on Thursdays because that is the late start day when classes don’t begin until 8:20 a.m. The youth ministers offer orange juice, cold cereal, fruit and bagels for those who want breakfast.
This week, nine students shook off sleep to arrive at 7:45 a.m. to study the John 1:4. They took turns reading verses as Fouche urged them to read slowly and take their time. “We really do want to meditate on it, we want to chew on it,” he said.
The students debated different passages – what it means to love, what the verses mean in context. After receiving what Fitch calls “food for the body and food for the soul,” the students bowed their heads in a final prayer before dashing across the street for school.
Fouche said the Book of John was selected to start with because it seemed relevant. “It deals with things I think they can relate to, like loving people they don’t like,” he said.
They’re inventing the program as they go and neither knows what book of the Bible they will tackle next. “We haven’t gotten that far,” Fitch said. “We had no idea if anyone would come.”
They are coming, though the group fluctuates from about four to 14 depending on how many students are able to get out of bed early. Senior Dillon Hoye attended this week’s session and says he tries to come as often as he can. He said he’s tried to get some of his friends to tag along, but they would much rather sleep in.
Hoye is a member of Liberty Lake Community Church but he’s still willing to give up a morning for Bible study. It’s his faith that brings him, he said, “just wanting to learn more about God.”
Fitch is gratified that students are willing to give up a morning a week for their faith. “There’s nothing flashy, nothing fancy,” he said. “We’re just reading the Bible.”