People are discipled by people (not studies) and disciples do what they have seen done, not what they have been told to do.
If our small group members are going to read their Bibles those who lead them are going to have to spend personal time in the study of God’s Word first and talk about it. It’s that simple. Some suggestions to those of you who are leaders in your church…
Senior Pastors… When preaching in the weekend services, speak of what God has revealed to you in your “personal Bible study time.” We often speak of what God tells us through His Word while preparing to preach. That is not the same as your individual time in the Word. Differentiate the two and be the primary model for your congregation.
Elders… When in hallway conversations and leading meetings verbalize what you are learning during your “quiet time.” Tell them what passage you’re studying so those in your meeting get a real-life understanding of your time in the Scripture. If you want to have an even greater impact, use what you’re learning in your personal time with God to lead the devotion before the business part of the meeting starts.
Staff Members… When leading a meeting, a rehearsal, or in conversation with your leadership team, speak of your own daily time in the Word. Also… remind those you are leading that, in order for the ministry area you lead to have its greatest impact, each of us must be walking with God. This creates wise people who then live in healthy, unified community.
Small Group Leaders… You are closest to the people who need to spend time in God’s Word daily. And, in many of your groups you have been given permission to create an environment of accountability. When preparing your covenant see if the group will agree to every person doing her/his best to spend time in God’s Word daily. This will be tough for some and may not fly so, you may consider some of the following ideas.
1. Speak of your own journey in the Word.
2. Every time a study opens the door, remind the group that a daily time reading the Bible is vital to each person’s spiritual growth.
3. Once in a while, allow a small group member to tell the rest or the group what it has meant to them to spend time reading the Bible consistently.
4. Discuss how to prioritize Bible reading in midst of life’s busyness.