The Baptist Magazine in New Zealand seems to have stopped posting their articles online. Therefore, I will post the ones I’ve written over the past few months here.
Trained to Study the Bible
For most of my lifetime the church, in general, seems to have been stuck in a revolving door of faddish trends. Jumping from one exciting program or book to another.
Many have recognised that most of these fads over the years have slowly moulded the church into the image of worldly culture rather than the image of Christ.
The irony, of course, is that more often than not when the church gets excited about a fad it is just about the same time as the broader culture is losing interest in the same thing.
Take the use of PowerPoint in sermons. Since the late 90’s business and academic publications have recognised that PowerPoint, at least the way it is generally used, is a poor communication tool. Yet, for more than a decade it has almost seemed like one cannot preach unless one uses PowerPoint.
Sadly as the church has poured so much money, time, and energy in chasing after the next fad and trend we have often neglected to train and equip our people to study the Scriptures for themselves. (I’m not saying PowerPoint is to blame for this, I was just using PowerPoint as an example of chasing after fads.)
I wonder as 2013 is still just getting started, how have you as church leaders deliberately planned to train and equip your people to study the Scriptures for themselves?
Are most of our Home Groups studying other books as opposed to the Bible? Are we offering workshops or seminars for our folks, equipping them with the tools necessary to handle the Word of God accurately and faithfully? Are we doing this in such a way so as to encourage them to see that knowledge of God’s Word, leads to knowledge of God, which flows into a love for Christ and a life transformed by grace.
I am no fan of the “just do what we did last year, there’s no need to change” approach to church. Nor do I think that is what Christ has called us to do. However, I am concerned that in seeking to do the new, we have left behind the old. By old, here, I mean the old, faithful practice, of pastors and local churches training and equipping our people to read, study, interpret, and apply the Scriptures themselves for their own edification, and their own pleasure.