HOUSTON -- Beth Moore continues to break new ground.
The best-selling LifeWay Christian Resources author had just finished teaching "Believing God" to more than 30,000 women through an online study offered through lifeway.com, a first for the Houston-based Bible study leader and teacher.
Then, on April 26, high school to senior adult women gathered to participate in Moore's first-ever simulcast event from Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston. Moore led the women through of her "Beloved Disciple" Bible study, highlighting the koinonia -- or intimate fellowship -- that God desires to have with His people. More than 13,000 women and 38 other churches from across the country participated. Champion Forest hosted 2,500 women for the four-hour program.
It also marked the first time LifeWay has used simulcast technology.
When Moore took her place on the stage, she welcomed the women in the 38 satellite locations to her hometown of Houston. Speaking about the simulcast, she said, "I have absolutely no clue how this happening. But, I know it is happening. Sounds sort of like the Holy Spirit of God, doesn't it?"
As she led the study, she encouraged the women to discard anything in their lives that could come between them and the Father. "God sets a passion in anything he consumes," she said. "He burns with a holy fire. Anything we give up to Him, He will consume."
Extensive preparation was needed to host the event and Champion Forest was the easy choice.
"We chose Champion Forest because they have just completed this marvelous new facility," said Gary Aylor, director of LifeWay's central operations area. "They not only have the equipment and technology to handle an event of this scope, but they have the staff with the skills to make this happen."
At the simulcast locations, the audiences watched the event from Houston on large screens.
"It may sound funny to someone who's never attended an event like this, but from what I have observed, people at the remote sites get completely involved in what's happening," said Greg Flessing, producer and director for the event. "They sing, clap, laugh and pray just like the people at the live site. The satellites give such great relays that the people really see everything clearly."
When people attend big events at convention centers, arenas and stadiums, they are accustomed to watching the big screens to see what is happening on the stage, Flessing added. "Sometimes it's easier to feel connected with the big screen when you can see the speaker close up than when he or she just looks like a tiny speck," he said. "The screen reduces the distance between the speaker and the participant."
"We're so glad to be a part of this first Beth Moore simulcast event," said Brent Johnson, Champion Forest's minister of media. "It's all being done for the glory of God and we're humbled to be a part of it."
In developing the simulcast, LifeWay contacted some of the churches that recently participated in Bible studies based on Moore's resources. Within just a few months, 38 churches signed up. While Champion Forest is a large church with the facilities to host a simulcast, the only technical requirement for a church to be a satellite location is a satellite receiver dish. To ensure a large enough crowd at each location, the host church was required to purchase a minimum of 1,000 tickets, and 200 for each satellite church.
Moore's Bible study workbooks have sold more than 3 million copies. She has written nine trade books, published by Broadman & Holman, the publishing arm or LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Several of her books have been on the Christian best-seller lists for many months. Moore speaks to thousands of women annually through her "Living Proof ... Live!" conferences, sponsored by LifeWay. For more information, go to www.lifeway.com, click on the events tab and on Beth Moore.
By Albert H. Lee