All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
After some 40 years of studying the Bible and some 25 (or so) years of teaching it, I can safely say I am more thirsty for it today than ever before. My prayer is that God will keep me ever more thirsty for it my whole life. So far, so good.
Today’s post begins a Summer Tuesday series on Spiritual disciplines which church leaders should be practicing and fostering. These are valuable habits in making and growing disciples…routines about which the church should be intentional. You should be teaching these disciplines and, in some cases, you should have a system in place for insuring their practice in the lives of your congregants. The first of these disciplines is Bible Study.
At my church, we call it our Re:Verse system. We all study the same passage all week long, meditating on it each morning, reading our pastors’ daily devotional thoughts on it. We study it again in our Sunday morning Bible Study groups, and we hear a sermon on the same passage in any of our Sunday morning worship services. Lastly, in the following week, we look back at the passage in our small accountability groups, gently pressing the truths from that passage into one another. Of course, the details of the system are not the point. Having the system in the first place is the point. It is important that a church’s structure and programming and culture all hold Bible study as a high value. Few spiritual disciplines will have a bigger impact on our people.
But getting our people to study the Bible is not the biggest challenge. In most cases, getting them to WANT to make Bible study a regular discipline in their weekly routine is the bigger challenge. It requires a culture shift…and that, in turn, always begins with leadership. My pastor reminds the congregation often of the importance of Bible study. He tells the children of our church how much he loves the Bible and its stories and lessons. He casts a vision over and over again of the life change which comes from pursuing a Biblical worldview. Our Associate Pastors and second and third tiers of leadership (lay and clergy) follow suit in their lives and in their conversation.
Again, I don’t share this testimony as if to say everyone else should do this just like my church does it. I only mean to illustrate that creating a culture of Bible study in a church requires intentionality. It requires a strong system of training teachers. It requires a genuine love for God’s Word. And, most importantly, it requires leadership who really do believe that all scripture is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
So, what about your church? What ways have you found to raise the standards of Bible Study for your people?