Why are “professing” followers of Jesus not being a major part of the solution to our broken and divided American culture? I have been thinking a lot lately about where we have missed it over the years in training up believers to worship the person of King Jesus, and to delightfully be “all in” with His mission to bring God’s glory to the nations. A short article will not answer this huge subject, but I am coming to believe that we have over-complicated the matter. In a life-on-life relationship, if we helped a believer know how to pray, study their Bible, share their faith—and then reproduce that in others, I believe we would be way ahead of where we are now in the body of Christ.
This came to my mind again today as I was looking at some curriculum that part of our church was using for small groups. While commentaries and curriculum certainly have their place, it hit me that curriculum has gone from an option to almost a necessity, because our people have not been discipled on how to study their Bible. If even our small group teachers were correctly trained in Bible-intake, then they could train their classes, who could then train their family, friends and co-workers—you get the idea. Then churches, many of whom struggle financially, could actually use God’s Holy Word as their curriculum, instead of spending thousands on curriculum. Let me be quick to remind you that we are not there, but I think it is a worthy long-term goal.
There may be a group in your church that has “always done it” the curriculum way, and they may never get on board, but if you are willing to take a “crock pot” approach instead of a “microwave” approach, I believe it can be done. What if children and students at your church were taught at the appropriate level how to pray, study their Bible, and share their faith—to the point where they could reproduce that in others. What if their curriculum was the Bible? Since they are not dragging the weight of “curriculum tradition” around, a child coming up with this type instruction could thrive in this environment through adulthood. They would also be much more equipped to reproduce that in others who they would eventually disciple. As a self-feeder in God’s Word, they would also be more likely to see the majesty and splendor of Jesus and His glorious Good News.
Can a child or student be taught to look at context, examine cross-references, see what the text tells us about God, mankind, and what points of application and obedience they can pray into their own life? Can they be taught, as Spurgeon said, to “plow a trough back to the Gospel” in their study? Watch their amazing brilliance with technology, and how many songs they have memorized, and countless other things that display their God-given capabilities. They can absolutely learn to handle God’s Word accurately. The tougher question is will we take the time, and even the complaining, that comes from doing things differently—for our good and His glory?
An army of this type of believers would be prepared for persecution, loss of religious freedom, and to make disciples who make disciples in any environment. That type church will work in China, Iran, a virus quarantined America, or even an America hostile to the Gospel. Lord Jesus, please give us wisdom and faithfulness.
Jimmy Meek is the Pastor of Parkview Baptist Church in Decatur, Alabama.