Thunder in the Holy Land is a series of 26 video Bible studies created to help make every member effective in sharing their faith. The series is young adult oriented, relational based, interactive, lay involved and pastor-centered (meaning a pastor can be edited into the series as the narrator and lead teacher). In this way members can lead Bible studies with the pastor as the lead teacher in the video series. Members can then invite people with whom they are studying to church or to an evangelistic series to see their pastor in person.

Pastor Charles Byrd created the Thunder series, filmed on location in the Holy Land. Printed lessons accompany the series to spark discussion and explore the implications of the truth and integrate them into peoples’ lives.

Three conference pastors have been edited into the Thunder in the Holy Land series: Birger Draget (Wichita Three Angels, Wichita, KS), Mike Fenton (Chapel Oaks, Shawnee, KS) and Michael Halfhill (Piedmont Park, Lincoln, NE).

Chapel Oaks, in the greater Kansas City area, is using Thunder in the Holy Land as an integral part of their evangelism. Pastor Fenton says, “Members are reminded weekly that they have at least eight people in their circle of influence at any given time that they can be praying for and seeking opportunities to share Jesus. Thunder in the Holy Land is a great resource to use with people as God opens their hearts.” Members have witnessed five baptisms as a result of the series.

The Wanamaker Church in Topeka, Kansas has been using the Thunder series with Mike Fenton. Each Thursday for eight weeks, Pastor George Goddard presented the series at the local YMCA. Members and non-members have been using the series in their homes. All this has resulted in four baptisms. “The Thunder series has proven to be an effective tool for individual and small group studies. It’s something that members can use to reach neighbors and friends, requiring minimal training and preparation. Our hope is that as more members see the results, they will be willing to try it themselves,” says Pastor Goddard.

At Piedmont Park Church, 54 sets have been ordered by members who want their own personal Thunder DVD series to use, as well as by several community members who have requested the series for study. Pastor Halfhill shares, “The Nebraska City, Fairfield and Hastings churches have also purchased the Thunder DVD sets for use in their communities. I am planning to visit their churches to train them in using Thunder and then we will have reaping meetings when they have individuals ready for baptism.”

Pastor Birger Draget at the Wichita Three Angels Church feels that the Thunder series is unique because it immediately taps into how people think and feel about the material that is being presented. The study guides open up honest discussion. He says, “After more than a year of using Thunder in the Holy Land at the church, I can attest to the fact that this series has proven to be a valuable witnessing tool in the hands of church members who otherwise would have little interest in giving personal Bible studies. It is amazing in its simplicity and ability to engage people—and so far at least seven individuals have been baptized as a direct result of the Thunder series, with many more studying.” He has seen nonmembers inviting family and friends to participate in the series. One church member has a group of 35 Filipino-American Catholics with whom she is sharing the series.

With minimal training almost anyone can give an effective Bible study using Thunder in the Holy Land. Virgil Covel, ministerial director for the conference says, “I have found Thunder in the Holy Land to be an important tool for reaching our conference for Jesus. It empowers our church members and connects the community to our local churches.”