The single most beneficial thing pastors can do for their congregations is help them read and reflect on the Scriptures. Bible engagement is critical for spiritual health and growth. The primary catalyst for developing mature Christians is Bible reading coupled with reflection. In fact Scripture reflection has twice the power of any other spiritual discipline to advance people in their love for God and others.
Bible reading and reflection on the biblical text are two distinct spiritual disciplines. Pastor, if you’re preaching about the importance of Bible reading and provisioning members of your congregation with a Bible reading plan, you’re not doing enough. Don’t assume that Bible reading will result in reflection on Scripture. Reflection must be taught, modeled and facilitated. The best way to facilitate reflection on Scripture is to equip your congregation with resources designed for this purpose.
So what are the resources that help people actively reflect on God’s Word? Not devotional books. Books with illustrations or stories tied to a text are not designed to help people chew on and suck the sustenance out of the Scriptures. Some of the best resources for Scripture reflection are Scripture Union’s Bible reading guides. Scripture Union’s Bible reading guides are published quarterly, take the reader through the Old and New Testaments in 4-5 years, and are available for all ages. Uniquely, the reading guides are built on the Scripture Union Bible Reading Method™ – a methodology designed to help readers actively engage with the Scripture text, get caught up in it, receive it, and reenact it.
Bible reading, together with reflection on the Scriptures, results in strong Christians and healthy churches. According to the Reveal survey there are 25 significant catalysts that help people grow in Christian faith. Of these catalysts, reading and reflecting on Scripture outstrips the other catalysts by a 75 percentile. Pastor, if you could choose only one thing to help your congregation grow spiritually, reflection on Scripture should be your number one choice.
© Scripture Union Canada, 2012