(Air1 Closer Look) – When COVID-19 forced churches to close and halted even small social gatherings, Christians continued to crave interaction with fellow believers. Soldiers For Faith Ministries launched ‘call-in’ bible studies back in 2012, but stay-at-home orders in 2020 crystalized the ministry purpose and mission. “When the pandemic hit,” says founder Kelly McAndrew, “all of a sudden we understood what God had prepared us for.”
Headquartered in Texas, with facilitators in New Jersey, Florida and Colorado, all Soldiers For Faith bible studies are by-phone only. They deliberately avoid video.
“There’s something about just picking up the telephone, not having that judgement,” explains McAndrew. “It’s just absolutely pure to be on the phone, to hear people’s voices, to hear their hearts.”
While the pandemic forced millions into unexpected solitude, McAndrew points to the millions of people with health limitations or disabilities who live that kind of isolation every day. “One of our early bible studies,” he recalls, “we had a woman who struggled with MS (multiple sclerosis),” an illness that kept her confined to her bed. “This call-in bible study became her lifeline.” There are also current bible study groups specifically led by -- and for -- people with special needs. “Jeffery is completely blind and has other disabilities... he has what we could call trouble communicating .. but in a step of faith he took on that bible study – and that study is thriving.”
Soldiers For Faith currently has about 25 ongoing studies, running one hour in length, all days of the week, early morning to night. The ministry is always looking for new group leaders to add more study options.
McAndrew’s inspiration for the ministry mission to connect people through faith comes from the biblical book of John.
“I think about Phillip, he meets his friend Nathaniel: the only thing he tells his friend is, ‘we’ve found the one Moses and the Prophets wrote about, come and see.’ We just want to tell people Come and See.”