I Dream of a Church (#10)

10 03 2011

This is the next installment of my “I Dream of a Church” series – a collection of thoughts, ideas, and questions from the last several years about what a church might look like. I don’t claim for any of these to be original, ground-breaking, or otherwise amazing. You can find other entries in this series by clicking here.

#10. I dream of a church where…

We are actively engaged in studying the Bible together.

Together. Many of us study the Bible on our own (though I would venture a guess that the majority don’t actually even do this), which is good… but do we study it with others? Do we sit around a dinner table and discuss the words of Isaiah? Do we talk about the letters of Paul as we ride in a car with a friend? Do we spend our fellowship hour after the worship service conversing about Jesus? I think – for the most part – the answer is no. We don’t spend a lot of time even talking about the Bible, let alone study it together. It’s not a book that was meant to be studied alone. The stories, laws, teachings, prophesies, and letters that are found in the Bible were addressed to communities – communities that heard them read out loud; communities that reflected on them together; communities that would have asked questions like, “What does this mean for the way we live?” and “What does this mean for the way we see the world?”

Many churches offer Bible study groups that meet each week at the church. …and, I’d say, most of these Bible studies are sparsely attended. (I know I’ve only attended them a few times in all of the churches I’ve attended). Many churches also offer in-home Bible studies… these are also good… and also often sparsely attended.

So how do we change this? How do we get people excited about and interested in: 1) Studying the Bible; and 2) Studying the Bible together? Because it’s a fairly significant book, right? It ought to inform and shape how we live and how we see the world, right?

How do we create an atmosphere in which people want to study the Bible together? …one in which during the fellowship hour, the first thought on someone’s mind isn’t, “Let me tell you what happened on Friday…” but, instead, “So I was reading Ezekiel the other day, and I was wondering what you thought about…” How do we create an environment in which people can’t wait to go to their house church, because they know they’re going to have an amazing conversation about Job? How do we create an environment in which Bible study groups at the church are eagerly and expectantly attended?

Because studying the Bible together is important… isn’t it?

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