The church does not need more Bible studying; it needs more Bible doing
I was in my office last week talking with a brother in Christ that I love a lot. We were talking about the pandemic and the shut down and how many churches are just now “reopening” restarting Sunday School, Wednesday nights, etc.
Many churches have taken advantage of this relaunching of traditional discipleship methods by measuring their value. Asking hard questions like: Are they making disciples the way Jesus told us to make disciples (Matthew 28:19 - 20). Is the church making disciples that make disciples that make disciples (that’s a mouthful).
Ephesians 4:11 tells us we are to use these tools to “equip the saints for the work of ministry,” and for the “building up of the body of Christ.” Colossians 1:28 says, the goal is that each of us can be presented to the Lord as “mature in Christ.” If what we are doing does not meet those goals then we need to pump the brakes and figure out how to make Jesus happy.
I cleaned out my office a few months ago. I got rid of all the stuff I no longer needed. I only have a few books, a couple of pictures that I don’t have a place for in our scaled down tiny house that I like to think of as our slice of a New York city apartment (the Blonde has done a great job decorating, very chic). That plus they are prints of San Francisco and I walked those streets a million years ago and it reminds me of a good season of my life, but my point is I had a box that is full of Bible Study guides that have not yet made it to the storage building (I’m old therefore I procrastinate a lot), and in my conversation with my brother he mentioned doing a specific study in the past. I picked up that box of study guides from the past and threw it on my desk and pulled out the Bible study book he was talking about. We did that study at a church I served at as well and I asked my friend did it matter? Did it help? This particular study was on evangelism. So I asked, did it make anyone more evangelistic? My fellow church member chuckled and said, “No.” Wait, what? When I did that study it changed my life and it gave me tools I did not have before the study. So why did it impact me but not others?
I have left that box of study guides on my desk and it serves as a reminder the church does not need more Bible studying, it needs more Bible doing. We probably don’t need Sunday School as much as we need Sunday serving. Why does 90% of the work inside the church building get done by 10% of the people?
We have so much knowledge, why would we learn more when we don’t use what we already have? This reminds of a preacher that was new to his church and the first 3 Sundays he preached the same sermon, and finally someone shared with him that the sermon was good but they wondered if he could preach another sermon? The pastor responded by saying, “When the congregation starts doing what I’m teaching, I will move onto another sermon.” Ouch, that hurts but there is a lot of good and truth in that idea.
I was looking at a study the other day that we did several years ago. I was wondering about using it again at some point if I found people that would value it. In the introduction it said that the study was not to be “just information, this material is not meant to just be read”. Again, ouch! You know what I did? I put the book back in the box. Unless what we study creates transformation, it is just information, and hardly anyone in the 21st century needs more information. He told me to tell you that.