One Of The Most Important Things I’ve Done As A Pastor
There is an important discovery I made as a pastor that has had a significant impact on all the other areas of my church leadership.
It’s helped people be more engaged with my sermons.
It’s helped our church grow closer to Jesus.
It’s helped our staff become better leaders.
I could go on…
That one discovery is this: the more I help people fall in love with Scripture, the more they adore the Savior!
Adoration of Jesus is the end. It is the goal. It is the essence of discipleship and everything we do as a church.
But it’s also the means to the end.
- Adoration of Jesus helps us grow more like Jesus.
- Adoration of Jesus helps us be more engaged in worship.
- Adoration of Jesus helps us have more unity, care more about our neighbor, and be better leaders at work and home.
And the more effort I’ve put into helping people understand the Bible, the more I’ve seen adoration of Jesus happen in the people of our church.
There is one very specific way I’ve found to help people fall in love with Scripture that I’d like to tell you about because I think if you’ll embrace it, you’ll reap the benefits as I’ve seen in the church I serve.
Every weekday, I write a reading prompt and send it out to people (via email, on Facebook, etc.). It’s not a devotional in the traditional sense. I’m not trying to tell people what Scripture should mean to them. It’s also not a commentary…it doesn’t go quite that deep.
It’s just a little unpacking of what a passage of the Bible might’ve meant to the original audience so that people can choose for themselves how to intersect their own lives with it. It’s my attempt to make the Bible a little less weird and a little more understandable for those who take the time each morning to read the passage and the accompanying prompt.
The feedback and the results have been beyond anything that I ever imagined. When the church I serve began engaging in the Word before engaging in their world, we saw a spiritual maturity and a deepening begin to happen. It has impacted every area of our church life.
If you are interested, here are the mechanics of how I do it:
- Every day, I spend time in the Word. You can’t celebrate what you don’t excavate for yourself.
- I write the prompt for the next day from what I find interesting.
- I schedule it in Mailchimp (my email management tool of choice) and schedule it for my Facebook page to go out early the following morning.
Is it always easy?
Does it take time and dedication?
Are there some days I don’t feel like doing it?
Is it one of the most important things I do every day for those I lead?
Here is a comment I received just this week about the reading prompts:
“This time has been life-giving to me in the early mornings as I sit with my [newborn child]. I am grateful for the effort it takes you to prepare these emails and send them out. Thank you for taking the time to encourage others in this way to begin their day in the Scriptures.”
I can’t encourage you enough to take some time each day to provide a reading prompt to help your people fall in love with the Bible.
~~~ If you’ve read this far, you might find this part interesting. ~~~
I never intended on these reading prompts becoming anything more than just that – daily reading prompts.
I wasn’t trying to write books and didn’t have any future plans in mind. I was hoping to help a small but growing group of people – AND MYSELF! – have a better living relationship with Jesus Christ by opening the Bible rather than social media first thing in the morning.
So, for well over a year, I’d write the prompts (sometimes via email other times on the Facebook platform), hit “send” or “post” and that was that.
However, through the nudging of the Spirit and the advice of several trusted friends and advisors — and through a friend that was cataloging the posts unbeknownst to me — I was encouraged to create a book out of these daily offerings.
Then a publisher approached me and asked me to create a series of books based on the reading prompts and that sealed the deal in my mind.
I cautiously said, “yes.”
The first volume is on the book of Matthew. And we’re calling the series Come Alive: Conversations with Scripture. It releases in just a few weeks and is available for preorder now.
As I mentioned above, each volume is more than a daily devotional. Daily devotions tend to go light on Bible and heavy on thought for the day. That’s fine, but it’s not what I do. Yet neither are these books a biblical commentary. I am no PhD, nor do I excel in the original languages.
It’s a hybrid. More robust than a devotional, not as heavy as a commentary. It’s like Marie Osmond sang! A little bit country, a little bit rock & roll. Or in this case, neither a commentary nor a devotional. It’s a commendotional.
Here’s where I’m going with all of this…
I wonder if you might find these books, particularly the first Come Alive volume on Matthew, useful for yourself or your church?
Here are some ways you might use it:
You might simply want to order a copy for your own edification. Some pastors tend to skimp out on their own “devotional” life because they can’t find devotionals that suit them. Devotionals are either too light weight or they’re too commentary-like.
You might want to order a box of them to hand out to new believers at your church. That’s what my church is doing. The combination of the book of Matthew with the ease of the reading prompts might be just right for a new believer in your church.
It’s graduation season and if you give your graduates a book or gift, perhaps this Come Alive book is a good fit?
It might be fun to provide a book to everyone in your congregation and do an entire series on the book of Matthew. You might be surprised by how engaged your congregation would find a Gospel series where they have a companion book to go along with it.
If you’ve written books, you know there certainly isn’t a lot of money to be made with it, and I want you to know that’s not my goal. My goal is to help people fall in love with Scripture so they come to adore the Savior.
I don’t presume to know about what you or your community needs, and we might even disagree on some of the points I make as I journey through Matthew, but I do know you can’t go wrong by encouraging (prompting even) your people to get into the Word each day.
If I can help with that, I would consider it an honor.
PS If you want to order the book, you can do it here.
If you want to order a big bulk of them, let me know and we can arrange a discount.
If you’d like to sign up for my daily reading prompt email to get a flavor for how I structure those, you can do that here.