The key to a successful close in a Bible study is to never close the study. Back to the Bible is a three-lesson study technique that has a high percentage of conversion. Periodically, I am asked what to do if a person does not obey immediately after the third study. This can be an awkward moment if you are not prepared. Here is a simple strategy that has yielded much success.

The sister study to Back to the Bible is called Does It Matter. It was created by Bobby Bates to be a campaign tool when time would not allow for three studies or if the person was at a point that three studies were not needed. Does It Matter takes the material from Back to the Bible and condenses it to one study. The close in DIM is strong and is some ways even better than BTTB. Over the years we have used this to help dozens of souls obey the gospel.

When conducting a Bible study, it is important to never say, “In our last study. . . .“ The best close is not too close. If the prospect does not obey the gospel at the completion of the third Back to the Bible booklet, do not panic. Use the following technique, “In our next study we are going to see if all of the things you have learned really matter.” Then use Does It Matter. This study booklet an excellent way to help the prospect cross the finish line.

Consider the recent conversion account by Charles Harris (preacher) at the Beattie Road church of Christ in Albany, Georgia. Two weeks ago, he reported the following:

“Our studies through the Back to the Bible series went well. He seemed to be understanding the Scriptures. By the time we got to the end of Lesson 3, he knew he needed to be baptized but was hesitant. The study lasted more than two hours, and I could tell he was troubled and overwhelmed. As the study ended, I encouraged him to continue looking over the booklets. The next church service was a couple of days later. Woody was not there, so I was concerned. I reached out to him through the next couple of weeks, checking in and letting him know we can continue our studies.

Finally, we scheduled a study. I introduced Does It Matter to him as a condensed version of what we had previously studied. We got to the section about baptism, and he was ready immediately. He calls me ‘boss.’ He said ‘Boss, I’m ready.’ The hesitation was gone. I believe using Does It Matter after BTTB helped reinforce what has been previously studied.”

If you finish Back to the Bible without a conversion, you have not failed. Never, and I mean never, give up! There are only two options for the prospect: One, we continue until gospel obedience; two, they walk away from the study. If Does It Matter does not work, use Open Bible Study. If Open Bible Study does not work, use Fishing for Men. In short, never close the study!

Congregational Reports
Subligna Road church of Christ, Georgia: We welcome the Subligna Road church of Christ to the House to House/Heart to Heart School of Evangelism. Prior to starting HTHSOE, we did some training together. Sunday, we discussed a complete soul winning strategy for their local community. This is a talented body with a preacher who evangelizes. Please pray for them as they move forward.

Cowetta church of Christ, Oklahoma: Keno Shrum (preacher) reports, “We started a Bible study with a woman who has visited a few times. She was baptized as a teen but said she never really understood why and has not attended in decades. Our study was interrupted when Jamie and I got Covid. We are better now, but she has now come down with Covid. Prayerfully, we hope the study will resume soon.

“We are nearing a study with a gentleman who fell away years ago. His wife never attended. He has committed to visiting next Sunday, and I am praying they will agree to a study. We also had a visit today for worship from a family in town who receives the House to House/Heart to Heart mailer we send out monthly. They have received it for a little over a year. He said they felt comfortable and welcomed and would like to start worshiping with us, so please pray that this will lead to a study.

“Finally, I would like to request prayers from all the RTL readers for Jerad. He is not a member, but his son Patrick is. We have been trying to get a Bible study with Jerad. He has Covid and has been having a rough time with it. Please pray that he will make a swift recovery and that we will be able to get a Bible study. We will start mailing compassion cards to him tomorrow. Thanks again for all you and your family do for the furtherance of the gospel.”

Jacksonville church of Christ, Alabama: Keith Ritchie reports, “Tesika Smith asked for a Bible study after attending the Jacksonville church of Christ for some time. After going through the Does It Matter lesson, she obeyed the gospel Sunday evening. Meghan Swain, one of our new converts, became an instant bringer. She brought her parents, Keith and Karen Pinkard. All three dates for the BTTB series have been set, beginning August 26. Please pray for the studies. Kali Payne, a university student who has been visiting, will be going through the BTTB series beginning this Saturday. Please pray for this study as well.”

Hico church of Christ, Texas: James and Diana Nash (preacher and his wife) report, “Our neighbor, Cindy, came to me in April and asked to be baptized. She knew Jim was a preacher. She had been ‘saved’ when she was young and had great ‘faith’ in God, but her good friend had told her she needed to be baptized to go to heaven. I told her that would be great, but I would like to study with her first.

“Based on our conversation, I knew she only owned a very large family Bible, so I got her a smaller one, and we set up our first study. By the second question in the green book, I realized she had never opened a Bible, ever. So the first study we spent just getting to know the book and how it works. Then we backed up and did the first two Believe the Bible booklets. She was anxious to be baptized, so we then moved on to the Back to the Bible booklets. We studied at least once and sometimes twice a week from April until August. (We were much slower than the one hour per book time. Some of our studies were three or four hours long and took multiple weeks to finish a book.) However, when we went through the red booklet, a lightbulb came on when she realized she needed to be baptized because she was lost. On August 5, she was baptized into Christ. She still has much learning to do, and we are continuing our weekly study with Brother Bates Growing in Christ book. She is so excited to be a new Christian.”

Corinth church of Christ, Portland, Tennessee: On Saturday, we conducted our three-month virtual meeting. It was productive as we tweaked a few things the church was doing and added a couple suggestions. The periodic virtual meetings with elders/preachers are highly productive.

Beattie Road church of Christ, New Albany, Georgia: Charles Harris (preacher) reports, “We are sending cards to 60 contacts. We have organized our New Movers baskets and will begin delivery this next week. I am going to do some follow-up visits this week for those who have already received baskets. We have handed out Welcome Bags a lot lately. A couple of studies got pushed back because of covid exposure. I will be studying Does It Matterthis coming Saturday with a soul. We have gone through BTTB. Through that series of studies, we have been able to schedule a study with his brother. We will begin this week. Studies by other members of the church are starting to take place. Next week, two members will be studying BTTB 3 with a soul.”

Oak Hill church of Christ, Rome, Georgia: An elder reports, “Oak Hill had a very good week. Steve and Rita Murdock, along with Ted and Gale Goss, met with Lawrence Harvey, the Goss’s neighbor, and held a personal Bible study. At the end of Book 3, Lawrence decided to be baptized. We rejoice with him, giving all glory to God. The Murdocks also met with Erica Thomas, a Christian who had fallen away, and after the first book, she went forward Sunday and rededicated her life to Christ. There were at least five other personal Bible studies during the week, 137 pulpit trainings, and 50 compassion cards sent. Great strides have been made in the organization of the contact list by Ron Vick, the card ministry by Andrea Sorrells, and the pulpit training by our minister, Michael Farris. We feel that in the next few weeks the whole congregation should be prepared to go forward and spread the word in Rome, Georgia.”

Siwell Road church of Christ, Mississippi: Derek Broome (preacher) reports, “Our card care groups are sending out about 120 cards each week. These cards have helped open so many doors for the gospel. We are continuing to add new names to our congregational contact list, and we continually look for opportunities to have Bible studies. We are excited to announce we had another baptism this week. Trinity Freeman was baptized into Christ on Wednesday. It has been a great week.”

Lafollette church of Christ, Tennessee: Ben Shaffer (preacher) reports, “We began distributing new-movers baskets in the community. We have over 30 members involved in delivering. The congregational participation has been encouraging beyond description. One new convert, an 18-year-old babe in Christ, is currently in three Bible studies. He thinks one of the students will back out, but the other two want to continue. He is almost through Book 1 with one study and will begin on Book 3 in the other. Currently, six Bible studies are being conducted by various members. We are finishing up the Back to the Biblelessons on Sunday night, and then I plan to teach a series on common objections and problems and explain select illustrations in the Evangelism Simplified book. Please continue to pray for our success in God’s work.”

BCS church of Christ, Texas: Wes Mangan (deacon) reports, “Tammi Hudson sent this. It is from the Delion lady who was involved in the wreck that claimed her husband. She is not a Christian, but, as I understand it, her mother is. The banner everyone signed and the cards have had an impact. Guess what? She said when she gets out, she wants to ‘come visit your church.’ She gets lots of cards from here. I think they really make her feel good, and she loves the prayers.”

Beloit church of Christ, Kansas: Dustin Doughtery (preacher) reports, “We are rejoicing in Beloit, along with the angels in heaven, for two lost souls who put their Savior on in baptism this evening. We completed Back to the BibleBooklets 1 and 2 over the past two weeks and completed Booklet 3 this evening. The study went absolutely great. They were both extremely engaged and wanted to be obedient. At work one day, Taylor started asking my wife questions about where we attended worship services. She let me know, so I initiated a study with him and invited his mom to come too. Taylor and his mom, Kay, are now members of the Lord’s Church, and we could not be happier.”

East Homer church of Christ, Alaska: Steve Cannon (preacher) reports, “East Homer update:
I preached on the first book of Back to the Bible, emphasizing how to engage the student and walk through the material. The congregation started filling out the bookmarks with ten families they would like to reach. Our men are discussing signing up for House to House/Heart to Heart.”

Torch Hill church of Christ, Columbus, GA: Matt Walling recently sent the following report on this congregation who is actively using House to House/Heart to Heart. “The Torch Hill church of Christ, a small but eager congregation in Columbus, recently began mailing House to House/Heart to Heart around the area. They had a baptism yesterday, the second in a month, with prospects for more studies. The work is looking brighter. Another couple and child visited today from the HTH mailout. They had 24 for Sunday a.m. This is the first time this year they have had more than 20 on a Sunday morning.”