Report: Know the Word

December 11, 2023
Mark Kolchin

“I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

Originally founded in 1995, Know the Word Ministries was first known as Honey Rock Ministries, based on the verse from Psalm 81:16: “With honey from the Rock, I should have satisfied you.” These were the words spoken to Israel by the Lord after their forty-year sojourn through the wilderness. As a nation, they should have been satisfied with God’s provision for them. Unfortunately, they did not take full advantage of God’s resources in their journey and suffered for it. In the same way, God’s people today can also fail to take full advantage of the spiritual resources available to them, namely the study of His Word, and the blessings of fellowship with His people. With that in mind, Know the Word was established “to encourage the Lord’s people through the study of God’s Word and its personal application in their walk with Christ.” The name was changed to Know the Word Ministries in the year 2000 to more clearly communicate the purposes and the goals of the ministry.

A primary focus of Know the Word are Bible conferences. The first one offered by Know the Word was in 1995. It was a Bible study weekend at Greenwood Hills (Fayetteville, PA) called Weekend in the Word. It was followed soon afterwards with a similar conference in Lancaster, PA in conjunction with the Monterey assembly. The term Weekend in the Word was coined to designate the purpose of these gatherings, a term that is now used by others, not associated with Know the Word. With the success of these initial activities, we were off and running!

Not long afterwards, a request came from some friends, if we would be willing to hold a fall conference at the Camp of the Woods conference center in the Adirondack region of New York State. After prayer, we went to work arranging for a midweek conference designed for senior believers from New Testament assemblies in the region. The blessings of this initial event are too numerous to list—fabulous ministry from venerated servants of the Lord, deep, rich fellowship with like-minded believers in a scenic part of the country during the fall foliage season. What great memories we have of that opening conference! We called this five-day event our Fall Foliage midweek. This conference went on for more than twelve years before we eventually moved it to New Jersey and began meeting at the Harvey Cedars Bible conference on Long Beach Island in Ocean County, NJ. The name was appropriately changed to Bible Conference on the Bay, an event that continues to this day at the Jersey Shore. It is estimated that from this facet of Know the Word Ministries, over 1200 people have been impacted through the faithful teaching of God’s Word. Despite COVID-19, this conference has remained continuous over its 27-year history for which we give God thanks.

Closely aligned with this conference, is the Weekend in the Word Bible conferences that have been held down through the years. There have been more than fifteen of these Bible weekends held at several venues, including the Bird-in-Hand Family Inn (PA) and Monterey Chapel in Lancaster, PA; Park of the Palms in Keystone Heights, FL and in recent years, Harvey Cedars Bible conference. These weekends were established to provide a weekend option for those who could not attend the weeklong Bible conference held in September. In 2018, a Men’s conference was added in the New Jersey area to challenge men to “Stand Fast” for Christ, the name given to this event. The following year “Devotion at the Ocean” was established to provide a vacation opportunity at the Jersey Shore with a spiritual environment in the historic Christian resort town of Ocean Grove, NJ. The focus is always the same—providing a means of fellowship while beginning the day with the study of God’s Word. For this annual event, the place is Ocean Grove, NJ and its town wide Bible study hour, a 156-year tradition, frequented in the past by Fanny Crosby, Billy Sunday, Dwight L. Moody, Billy Graham, and others. In 2021, a four-day intensive all-day conference was arranged for at America’s Keswick in Whiting, NJ. It is called “Feeding the Flock” with over a dozen speakers—some in person, and some online ministering from the Scriptures to help believers grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord, the result when we study God’s Word.

Another component of the ministry of Know the Word is the community Bible study program. Back in 1998, a woman in our meeting named Esther Carter called to ask if I could meet with her and a friend in a nearby residential community. This friend Vicki did not know the Lord but was interested in learning more about the Bible. She would soon come to trust the Savior from our personal study of the Word. With her newfound faith, she wanted to learn more of the Word. Esther then asked if another friend or two could join us. Not long afterwards, this little group grew, requiring us to move from meeting in an apartment to meeting in the hall lounge. This study has continued to this day more than 25 years later (including on Zoom in recent years) with as many as 30 people in attendance. From this, a Sunday night Bible Class has emerged at the request of those attending to offer a Sunday night study time. The lesson learned from all of this is that there is indeed a hunger and thirst for God’s Word among believer’s (apart from what it would seem outwardly) and that if the opportunity is provided, there will be those that take advantage of the drawing honey from the Rock.

Another exciting ministry that came out of the COVID pandemic, is a bus ministry. In 2020, funds were made available to us from the Lord to purchase a 2010 fifteen passenger Ford minibus. It was an older vehicle, but adequate to shuttle people from one event to another. In some cases, it has been used to transport the saints to local conferences; in other cases, to take those in our Bible study group to a breakfast or lunch to enjoy fellowship with one another as we visit a local place of interest. As a result, new friendships are made that have added to the number attending our Bible study ministry—each event contributing to the other. One tremendous lesson out of this is that much spiritual work can take place during times such as these, complemented by the thorough teaching of Scripture. The bus has also contributed greatly to the luncheon ministry which Know the Word has hosted for over 30 years. These events are moved around the region to be a help and encouragement to the Lord’s people from multiple assemblies, as hymns are sung, and the Word is opened following a meal at a local restaurant. There have been many, many times that waiters and waitresses, and other dining room staff have heard the plain declaration of the Gospel. Not only does it provide a means for believers to invite their friends to attend a “low key” event where the Gospel is faithfully presented, but it also provides a midweek “faithlift” to encourage the saints in their walk with Christ—the focus of this entire ministry. Since we began doing these events, over 200 luncheons have been held, with over an estimated 8000 being impacted by this ministry.

Other projects make up the ministry of Know the Word—webinars, hymn sings, email encouragements and a website ministry—all designed to help the Lord’s people in whatever way we can through whatever biblically-based means that we can. We are grateful to the Lord’s people who have encouraged us in prayer and their generous gifts to help sustain this work and in so doing are workers together with us in the ministry that has been entrusted to us. The testimony of our lips will always remain the same: “Hitherto has the Lord helped us” (1 Sam. 7:12).