Posts Tagged engagement

Bible Engagement + Scripture Reflection = Spiritual Growth

I ask you: how are you equipping, encouraging, and empowering your people to engage the Bible and reflect on Scripture’s meaning in their life?
The Reveal study carried out by Willow Creek Community Church almost a decade ago still provide crucial insights for how we are leading our people. THE key factor in spiritual growth is engagement with and reflection upon the Bible.
The authors argue for three major movements as one progresses from unbelief and spiritual immaturity to a life that is centered upon Christ. The KEY spiritual catalyst that appears in all three movements is, you guessed it, Bible engagement and reflection. They write that “‘Reflection on Scripture’ is the number one factor across all three movements.” (41) They proceed, “But that’s only part of the story. When we statistically compare the power of these factors, ‘Reflection on Scripture’ (‘I reflect on the meaning of Scripture in my life’) is much more influential than any other personal spiritual practice.” (41)
I love to teach, most of you know that, but this study was humbling when I first learned these truths. The fact that Bible engagement is the KEY for spiritual growth shows that the primary growth of the individual does not occur during my 40-minute lesson, rather it occurs as the individual reflects on the Scripture in such a way that it impacts their day-to-day experience. To that end, I shifted my mentality so that my goal was not to give them a “point” or “idea” per se, rather I began to equip people with the tools to engage Scripture on their own. My measure of success became their independence from me.
So, I ask you again: how are you equipping, encouraging, and empowering your people to engage the Bible and reflect on Scripture’s meaning in their life?
Here’s some quick helps:

  1. Send them away with 1-2 strong application questions to reflect on each day that they will share with someone from the group by text, call, email, or lunch.
  2. Send them away with a reading plan that intersects with your weekly teaching.
  3. Use the Brentwood Baptist reading plan online or have them download the app:
Greg L. Hawkins and Cally Parkinson, Follow Me: What’s Next for You (Barrington, IL: Willow Creek Association, 2008).

How I STILL Think of You

By Paul Wilkinson

You may recognize this article from December 2016. I wanted to update it and reinforce that I still believe Adult Discipleship through Groups ministry is the most strategic ministry in the church. We must be the engine, producing disciples for all other ministries to utilize: preschool, children’s, missions, church plants, . . . . I pray that you adopt this mentality and calling.
Who knows what the Spirit will do with us when we allow our limited imaginations to get out of the way!!
In a book by Sunday School guru Allan Taylor titled Sunday School in HD, he makes this bold declaration, “At this point I want to make a big statement. The adult division of the Sunday school is the most strategic area of ministry in the church! I did not say that it was more important than these other ministries; I said it was more strategic.”  I wholeheartedly agree with Allan Taylor.
God has great plans and great work in store for the members of Brentwood Baptist Church. The preparation of our members to serve – on-campus, locally, and globally – occurs in large part through your LIFE groups. As I walk the halls of the church throughout the week and see mission trips on our CCTV’s and posters, I realize that those who are doing the missions trips are coming out of adult groups. When the Student Ministry, Children’s Ministry, and Preschool Ministry need volunteers, they seek them in the adult groups. The great music ministry provided by our talented choir and orchestra is comprised of many adult group members and adult group leaders. When we launch new campuses, like the Nolensville Campus, with more to come, adult groups are siphoned for launch team membership.
No doubt exists for me that Adult Groups Ministry is the most strategic ministry in the church. And that ministry falls at the feet of each one of you, LIFE Group leaders, and us, your Adult Discipleship team. Our work, together, provides the manpower to do all the wonderful evangelism and service God has planned for our people. (Ephesians 2:10) Your faithful Focus on the Word each week paints a biblical picture of who our God is and what our God demands. Your Engagement in your communities builds within your people a desire to be servants and to see people come to know Christ. Your Involvement in the life of your people through biblical community creates a space for their sanctification to mature as they begin to understand their calling in ministry. And your Love for your people, your prayers, your preparation, your visits, your phone calls, and everything else you do demonstrates to your people how much God loves them.
How do I think of you? I think of you as the engine and core of all the hopes I have for what Brentwood Baptist Church can be. Everything we feel called to do as a local fellowship is contingent upon reaping from the harvest that you have nurtured in the power of the Spirit through your groups. “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37) And you are the leaders that have been called to grow those workers, “For the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
What an honor it is for us to serve you. Thank you for heeding your call to shepherd well the people of God. May we all rejuvenate over the holidays in order to lead our people well in 2018. In Christ, we love you.