Sun, 12/23/2007 – 02:00 — David Watson
The study of the Word of God is essential to church planting. The church planter must be a student of the Word, and must be able to teach others how to be students of the Word. 2 Timothy 2:2 is often misrepresented when developing leaders. We focus on teaching or “reliable men able to teach” instead of what was to be entrusted to the men who are able to teach. Timothy was to entrust what Paul taught to the men who were able to teach. Notice that Timothy was to entrust the content to them, not teach them the content. The principle is to entrust the Word of God to reliable people who are able to teach. Teach what? I think we entrust the content, which is the Word of God, and we teach people how to understand and entrust the content to others.
Where there is rapid multiplication of churches and leadership, it is important to recognize that the essential element is the ability to understand the Word of God and teach others how to understand the Word of God. We cannot wait on academic training in Bible scholarship before we place leadership in exponential growth situations. Also, we may in fact keep exponential growth from happening if we insist on formal Bible training.
John 6:44-45 (NIV) says: 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.”
A person’s coming to Christ is an act of God. God draws them. God teaches them. Those who listen to the teaching and learn from God come to Christ. These are Christ’s words. We must understand and act on the words.
The only way I know of for a person to listen to God and learn from God is if that person is directly engaging the Word of God without outside interference. When we are a long way from a cell tower there is often interference and misunderstanding what people are saying. When we are near the tower the signal is clean and clear. When we interject a teacher between God and the learner, we force the learner to be further from God and we cause the interference. We must help people to get as close to God as possible. This happens when people are directly engaging the Word of God for themselves.
I struggled many years to understand how I could get people directly engaged in the Word. Much of my ministry I taught the Word but saw little fruit. It was only when I began to teach people to study the Word for themselves and hold them accountable for the Word that I began to see replication.
The Simple Inductive Bible Study is a group approach that helps anyone to better engage and understand the Word of God. It can be done by oral communicators or print communicators. The process is the same, but how it is done is a bit different.
The first step is to listen to the passage until one can understand it and say it in one’s own words. In the print communicator’s situation the learner can write the verse out and in the process of copying the passage read it several times.
The second step is to say and/or write the passage in one’s own words. It is only when understanding comes that a person can say or write the passage in his or her own words and accurately include the essential information in the passage.
The third step is to say/write in one’s own words how one will obey the passage. In the case of those who are not yet Believers, this step is modified to ask what was learned about God or man from this passage. The learner then formulates a series of “I will…” statements that are shared with the group. This establishes accountability to obey the passage.
I often ask husbands to turn to their wives and commit to obey the passage. Then I ask wives to turn to their husbands and commit to obey the passage. Then I ask the parents to call their children and commit to the children that the family will obey the passage. Then I call on the children to commit to obey the passage and their parents in leading the family to obey the passage.
This has revolutionary impact on the family and on the church. It puts the commands of the Bible in front of all and asks for public commitments to obey the passage to our highest ability.
This kind of Simple Inductive Bible Study revolutionizes the church planting process. Families come to Christ more quickly when they see the impact the Word has on families and their lives in the community. Churches replicate more quickly as families lead transformed lives and commit to obeying all the commands of Christ. God is listened to, and people are drawn to Christ. Result = more disciples and more leaders and more churches.
I challenge you to try the Simple Inductive Bible Study process on your own. Do it with your family and/or close friends. You will no longer be reading the Word and then a few minutes later wonder what your devotion was that day. You will engage the Word, and find yourself convicted by how little we so-called Christians really obey our Lord.
Check out http://www.cpmtr.org/?q=node/25 for more about Inductive Bible Study.