Last week we examined the state of Southern Baptist churches and the denomination’s dilemma in baptizing 7.1 million people in two decades but gaining zero in weekly attendance. While this is a critical moment in which the largest Protestant denomination can own the challenges and embrace a positive way forward, there are additional factors to consider. One of the key factors is Bible engagement.
As presented by Pastor Robby at the convention, Bible engagement is the number one spiritual discipline. It is number one because it impacts every other discipline. More than just “read your Bible more!”, Bible engagement is about applying what you’ve read to your daily life. What good is reading without application? Living out what the Bible says is nothing new or revolutionary but in our media-saturated world, perhaps we have more access than ever while simultaneously having less application.Bible engagement is critically important, and I have yet to find a believer who disagrees with that statement. Yet, the statistics show that less than half of churchgoers read their Bible more than once a month. Click To Tweet
Bible engagement is critically important, and I have yet to find a believer who disagrees with that statement. Yet, the statistics show that less than half of churchgoers read their Bible more than once a month. How can we engage with the Word when we aren’t even reading it? The real reason Bible engagement is so critical is because it is a lead measure. Lead measures dictate outcomes while lag measures show what has happened. Too often we build our ministries and our lives on lag measures. Don’t like how much weight I’ve gained, eat less the rest of the day. Don’t like my latest report card, study harder for a few days. Don’t see the earnings you want in your business, make more cold calls this week. Each of these responses seems perfectly natural in response to the issue. And, for awhile they may patch the issue. The problem is, when we operate off of lag measures, we end up making a short-term change. Because when we look fit, we might work out less. When our grades are good, we might study less. When business is booming, we might just keep things at the pace they are. Letting lag measures drive us, results in temporary outcomes that will eventually catch up to the win/success/growth level we are experiencing.
A wiser way to operate is to determine what creates the results we want to see (lead measures) and invest in those things on the front end. The challenge with this method is it requires patience when the results don’t look like an instant win. Bible engagement is a lead measure. Getting people into God’s Word until the Word gets into them, will pave the way for long-term spiritual growth than manifests in a life lived fully for Christ. These Biblically engaged people will serve more, share the gospel more, give more, and live missionally more. The results of that kind of body of believers will be a healthy church.
As we examine our disciplemaking efforts, one of the critical components is Bible engagement. Understanding the results of that engagement as a lead measure helps us better determine how to press into the opportunities we have to walk with people as we hold each other accountable for living out what we read. As you consider Bible engagement for yourself and your church, take a moment and download the Disciplemaking Task Force response report with links to implement Bible engagement in your church.