This is an especially important concept for the pastor who might, in the beginning, be on his own, the sole advocate of this new emphasis on reading the Bible: This is a tremendous opportunity for you to identify, encourage, and train for higher service the people in your organization who are currently more passive than active in their ministry participation. This is a ministry incubator.
NO ONE – at least no Believer with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – can long engage in the pursuit of hearing God speak to them personally through His Word without being CHANGED more and more into the image of Christ. The gifts God has given will arise and be noticed. More teachers, more helpers, more witnesses. Your future Sunday School teachers, small group leaders and so on will emerge if you pay attention and provide them the opportunity and encouragement to serve. The burden of the pulpit and church becomes much lighter when borne by so many more shoulders than just your own.
Probably one of the most important factors to keep in mind is that not everyone is in the same place in their walk. Some are more mature, some may have never seriously read the Bible in the 30+ years they’ve gone to church every Sunday. The eggs in this incubator will hatch chickens, so to speak, that are at many different stages of growth. This is a blessing, not a problem. Coordinating the Bible study efforts of all ministries within your organization will allow everyone the opportunity to grow into ministry at the same time they’re provided accountability and fellowship with others. It works both collectively and individually.
To conclude, let’s go back to one of the opening observations of this section, that nearly every activity in your church already provides some kind of emphasis on the Bible. Obviously the sermon highlights the Bible. Lessons for children’s, youth and adult ministries all have a current emphasis on the Bible. If there are already small groups connected with your ministry there’s most likely a strong Bible-emphasis. Missions, outreach, etc., etc. all emphasize the importance of the Bible in one way or another. So the suggestion for your consideration is that these can all be coordinated and leveraged with a manageable-sized effort without huge, massive changes. Can you see the benefits of coordinating the focus of all your ministries’ Bible emphases? Bible teaching will continue in all these activities regardless, so why not tie those separate efforts together to compliment each other? Unify the individuals and groups within your organization into the body of Christ through God’s Word. It’s called “discipleship.”