2006-09-01 / News

Prayer group changes lives

By Mimi M. Maddock

On August 15, 2006, nine downtown businessmen met at Carolina Continental Insurance Company on Devine Street. Around the table eating box lunches from the Mediterranean Tea Room were Bill Higgins, an attorney; Joe Berry, an attorney; Robert McLeod, president of Heritage Landscaping; Michael Schraibman, president of SPM Resorts; Butch Jones, a vice president with Palmetto Health; Jack Wolfe, an owner of The Wolfe Company; Gary Schraibman, vice president of Smith Barney; and Bill DeLoache, president of Shealy Electrical. These men meet weekly to study the Bible , an endeavor that has "changed their lives." According to the men, Dr. Bill Jones is the major influence in getting the group started.

Dr. Jones, who is interim senior vice president for academic affairs at Columbia International University said the purpose of the Bible studies is to bring men of like minds together "not just to try to master the Word of God; but to let the Word of God master us."

According to Dr. Jones, the influential leaders of the movement are Cubbie Culbertson, Tobin Cassels, Bill Metzger, Bill Short, Gary Schraibman, Det Bowers, and Justice E. C. Burnett.

In the fall of 2000, several men got together, each bringing one spiritual question with them to discuss. Out of this group came The Round Table which started in January, 2001. The purpose was to invite men who "desired the challenge to be the person God wants them to be and to deepen their relationship with God."

The first phase of the challenge was to be fed spiritually by studying the Bible together. The second phase was for the men to learn to feed themselves, and the third challenge was for the men to feed others.

In August 2001, there was one Bible study group. Today, there are 18 different Bible study groups in Columbia. Not only do men meet weekly with their original groups, but they also meet with other groups they have started.

Jones says, "We look deeply into the Scriptures to find how to bring more honor to God and to find answers. We hope our lives reflect a little more closely what God would want us to be. The more we know the more we realize what we don't know."

Men in the group say because of their participation in the Bible studies, their priorities are different. Now they put God first, family second, and work third. They say they love their wives and children more and spend more time with them and their businesses are flourishing. Jones says, "First change the heart of man, and that changes everything else."

The Bible study groups are interracial and transdenominational centered around Christ. For more information, please call Bill Short, an attorney, at 540-7823.

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