In recent years, Bible engagement has attracted a lot of attention in ministry circles — and with good reason. LifeWay Research reported in 2017 that a majority of Americans have read little or none of the Bible. Sadly, that neglect of Scripture reaches even into the Church.
Pastors understandably want to increase Bible engagement, but it can feel like a daunting task. Where do we begin? How can we increase interest in an age of digital distractions?
As with any large project, we need to take it one step at a time. Here are five ways to get your congregation moving in the right direction:
1. Start Early
Prioritize Bible teaching at a young age. That includes using curriculum with a strong scriptural backing, crafts and activities that are Bible-focused, and discussion that facilitates learning and retention.
Another way to increase Bible engagement among kids and youth is through Junior Bible Quiz and Bible Quiz. Team members working together to learn Scripture can keep one another accountable.
2. Preach Through Scripture
Bible engagement should begin with teaching the entire Bible, the scope of the story from Genesis to Revelation. This can take place over the course of one year, starting in early fall. That way, you can align your schedule with Christmas and Easter.
Each week as your people come together, you can know they are gathering around the Word.
If you are already preaching expository sermons, encourage your congregation to read the Bible by pointing out how each passage connects to the rest of Scripture.
3. Talk About It Often
If you are the primary communicator at your church, you have your audience once a week for less than an hour at a time. But you can increase that reach. Stay active on social media. Write a blog post throughout the week. Record and send videos.
By staying connected through email, a blog, social media or even a newsletter, you can create an additional pathway to teach Bible engagement. Use this communication to provide support for your weekend message or to introduce another topic. Either way, keep the focus on God’s Word.
4. Go Deep
Have you ever considered increasing Bible engagement by raising the bar? Invite a professor to present a guest lecture or preach on a weekend. Make it part of a larger biblical seminar over the course of a few days. Or explore hosting higher education classes in conjunction with a seminary or university. These are great ways to help your congregation go deeper in studying God’s Word.
5. Use Small Groups
Finally, make sure your people are encouraging one another to increase their Bible engagement. The best way to do that is by ensuring your small groups are centered on Scripture, not some other topic that has no basis in the Bible. Each week as your people come together, you can know they are gathering around the Word.
Don’t just preach from the Bible; also preach about it. How does knowing Scripture make us better believers? How can biblical wisdom make life better throughout the week? When people see how beneficial Bible engagement can be, they will develop a hunger and thirst for God’s Word.