I love Bible study. I have always loved to study the Word of God and have done so since I was a child. In fact, Bible study in confirmation as a middle schooler compelled me to go on the path to be a pastor. I believe strongly that pastors should deeply teach God's Word to their people. The Word of God never returns empty or void (Isaiah 55:11). Yet pastors often miss a key aspect of Bible Study: leadership development.
Bible study is great. Pastors should deeply teach God's Word to their people. The Word of God never returns empty or void.
As they are reading through the Scripture, they neglect to include leaders in their studies. Yes, they may have a few people around them who are reading along with them and commenting on their notes and insights. But this is not enough!
Pastors need to intentionally include leaders during their studies by asking them questions about what was just read. Once you have finished studying through a book, ask these leaders what stood out for them in each chapter or section of the Scriptures that you just studied together. Ask the leaders what application or implication the reading has for your church body or ministry team. This step will help your next group of leaders learn from each other as well as from God’s Word!
I have heard members talk about "going deep" in Bible Study.
I have heard members talk about "going deep" in Bible Study. I love deep word searches, understanding biblical context, and digging deep into the original languages of Scripture. This is wonderful! Keep doing it, pastors! Yet intentionally developing other leaders should be considered one of the "deepest" benefits of Bible study.
Many churches try to develop leadership internally but struggle to leverage what is right in front of them - Bible study.
Developing leaders requires a special approach that focuses on helping them grow in their biblical understanding, rather than simply teaching them more about what they already know well.
Give those whom you are training opportunities to co-teach. Those who learn and teach, learn twice.
I have hosted a Sunday 6 am future leaders Bible study for the past 7 years.
I love it because it is a great opportunity to fellowship with others who are committed to growing in their faith, but also because it is a time when I can pray for each person in the group individually. It’s also an opportunity to ask them about their week, and what challenges they may be facing at work or home. Most important, it gives us a chance to converse and internalize God’s Word.
This weekly gathering has changed the culture of our congregation. We exist to multiply disciples, and arriving at 6 am on Sundays shows an incredible amount of commitment.
I often wonder if pastors struggle to see the leadership development potential of Bible study because they then wonder, "What will I do?"
Some pastors may be wondering, “What will I do?” The answer is simple — you'll continue to multiply disciples to do what you do. Please ask the Holy Spirit to shift your heart from a "doer" to a "developer" of God's baptized people.
Bible Study should intentionally include leaders, future church planters, future bi-vocational leaders, and future elders or board members. This requires pastors and Bible study leaders who are intentional about developing these individuals' gifts for leadership within the local church's context.