Article by Teresa Chang
Because my church has such a high value for the study of the Word, our church leaders have made Bible study a major portion of each of our ministry groups. From our toddler Sunday school class to the “moms only” bible study on weekdays while the kids are at school, we have incorporated many programs and structures to infuse our community with the love of the Word. And our emphasis on study and teaching of the Bible has continued to produce many other Bible teachers in our midst.
How do you ignite passion in people’s hearts for the Word of God? Let’s look at a few hands-on, practical ways you can help grow a deep love for God’s Word in your congregation.
1. Offer adult classes that teach the Word.
Some people in prophetic communities dismiss the idea of structure, believing it flies in the face of flowing with the Spirit and being spontaneous. But that isn’t necessarily true. Structure is the vehicle that helps us deliver and produce what we want the church to grow in. For instance, a discipleship class is a structure that can help people learn more about Jesus and begin to walk in deeper intimacy with Him. Though the class is a planned group (something structured), the outcome of taking the class is greater intimacy and understanding how to flow with the Spirit.
You can build simple, “easy” structures throughout your church that help communicate and teach Scripture. Though most transformation doesn’t take place in a classroom, the necessary fuel for transformation can.
Many churches build schools of ministry to communicate God’s Word, a lifestyle of revival and other key elements. With any school you build, however, remember you still need to have real-life contact between parents and children—that is, between disciple-makers and people who are seeking training.
2. Help people own what they learn.
Create within your people a sense of ownership of Scripture. What they are learning needs to take root inside them and be carried out the door with them when they leave each day: “I’m going to this class, and I’m learning these things and I own them; they’re a part of me, and I’m committed to carrying them and giving them away to others.” That sense of ownership is crucial. It should be a goal of every church to have all members ready and trained to equip others with Scripture.
3. Have leaders train up leaders in church small group settings.
Self-multiplying structures such as church small groups disciple people and help them grow in skill, experience and relationship. In whatever ministry, group or class you are leading, train up your replacement (for the purpose of replicating the group and starting new groups). Encourage your trainees; disciple them and let them teach portions of the class as they are able.
Don’t neglect the power of church small groups as a primary delivery system for every aspect of Christ. Make sure your people are invested in small groups, communicating with each other and processing Scripture together as a normal part of their Christian life/community experience.
4. Make sure you’re doing it first.
Living things grow from the inside out. Build structures that begin in the heart and grow out from the center. Make the love and study of Scripture a priority in your own life. Do this at home and with your staff first, and then try to build it in the lives of the next generation of leaders, so they in turn can do it with other people in your church.
Make sure your structures are organic and flourishing from the inside out, so the members of your church can be fully equipped for every good work in Christ. In this way your church can bring transformation to the world around you.