The human body must consume food, digest food, and eliminate waste. Each of those activities has a place in the body of Christ as well. We must feed on the Word of God. But we must do more than that. We must digest what we have eaten. The Christian must meditate on God’s Word. We must seek to understand it better. We must apply it and live it out daily. But we must also get rid of unproductive habits and thoughts.
But what can we do to get more people started feeding on the Word? What can we do to get them involved in reading and studying the Bible? I read a blog post by Lawrence Wilson (no relation) that started me thinking along this path. Wilson’s post was entitled How to Generate Spiritual Growth. In the article, he mentions four ways to help people get involved in studying the Bible. I have listed Wilson’s four ways in all capitals followed by my commentary:
CREATE SPACE. Wow, he makes some great points here. We need to help people make space in their lives for doing Bible study. People are so busy! They plan too much. They rush from one thing to the next. And in rushing they miss the relationship with God that they need and that He desires. (Leaders also need to set the example here!) Challenge people here. Ask them to invest more time in prayer and His Word. Help people to take honest looks at their calendars to clear some space that works. Sunday School and small groups can be positive accountability groups here!
CREATE GROUPS. Wilson is right when he says, “People seldon have success studying Scripture alone.” Invite someone to study with you. Get people in groups of two, three, or more. Make the time convenient. Make the relationships important. Wilson’s suggestion was good: “The more groups you start, the more likely it is that people will join one.” Form different kinds of groups. Form groups at different places and times. Encourage others to invite people into their groups. Again, Sunday School and off-campus small groups can be great places from which these new groups can spring!
CREATE TEACHERS. Multiply yourself and your interest in studying God’s Word. Help new people to risk trying to facilitate a group small steps at a time. You might not even call them teachers since many people think of teachers as subject matter experts. Call them group facilitators, but help these leaders to be serious about spending time with God and about leading others to meet Him in Bible study. Sunday School and small groups are great places for this to happen naturally!
CREATE APPLICATION. How can you help yourself focus more on doing it? What can you do to encourage more application? How about making people accountable to another person, group, or a spiritual journal? What if you asked the group to report what they did about it next week? What if you told them you were going to call them during the week to see how they are doing at applying it? I like Wilson’s question, “How will this truth change our lives if we choose to apply it?” But I agree that it is more than questions and words. You have to do it! Send them e-mail reminders. Do whatever it takes to be an example and to lead others to apply God’s Word. Again, Sunday School and small groups can be great encouragers of application and accountability!
There are lots more ways to encourage others to get involved studying God’s Word. What are other suggestions you have thought about? Stop thinking about it, and do it! What are more suggestions you have tried? Share them to encourage others to take a step toward studying and challenging others to do the same! Be revolutionary!