To ensure that spiritual interest is being cultivated in preparation for a bountiful harvest, a vibrant Bible study ministry should be at the heart of every local church’s evangelistic activities. Vibrant means more than the pastor, Bible worker, and a few eloquent church members giving Bible studies. It means involving every member in some enthusiastic and comprehensive way. The reality is that every local church should be a training ground for discipleship as well as a Bible school for everyone who has a desire to learn and become like Jesus. Here are some practical ways to get this started:
1. ELECT a Bible school coordinator to oversee the Bible study ministry.
2. CHOOSE a Bible study plan or lessons/videos/media for members to use in giving Bible studies.
3. TRAIN every member to be involved in some way—offering, advertising, hosting, giving, and/or inviting to Bible studies.
4. GENERATE Bible study interests using every means possible (ask people you know, ask door-to-door, offer at events, advertise using tracts, advertise online, on social media, by a mail offer, and so on).
5. RECORD and TRACK Bible study interests.
6. PROVIDE leadership support—promotion, financial support, and participation.
7. PRAY for laborers and for the salvation of souls through the Bible study ministry.
The more members are involved in the ministry of Bible study, the greater potential there is for growth. Bible studies are not just another program, but the actual core/meat/essence/nucleus of evangelism. Too often, churches have some ministry that they favor. Some are the health ministry church; others are VBS oriented. While some limit themselves to friendship evangelism, others merely conduct evangelistic programs to get decisions.
Every church is different, and all are wonderful and needed! But at the end of the day, Bible study is the means by which we all start and grow in Christ—through abiding in Him. In the discipleship process, all the other ministries are the funnel by which all are directed to Bible study! The Bible study ministry initiative is more than just another program. It is the stage of fostering, strengthening, deepening, and enriching faith. It is the opportunity to ask all sorts of questions, to receive answers from the Word of God, and to make the teachings of the Bible your own—all through the vibrancy of the local church Bible study ministry.
For more information on the cultivation stage and the Grow cycle, visit https://grow.adventist.org/cultivate/.