Why Start A Home Bible Study Ministry in the Local Church?
By Ben Favel
When I was appointed an outreach minister I asked myself several questions. What can I do that will most effectively help growth in my local congregation? How can I encourage others to get involved in soul winning in a meaningful way? These are all important questions that every pastor and outreach leader struggles with. We often look for the exotic answer when all the while the real answer has been staring us in the face. I came to the conclusion that the best way to help a congregation to grow is to have an active Home Bible Study Ministry in the church. There are several excellent reasons for starting a Home Bible Study ministry but I want to focus on the three that I feel are the most compelling.
My first reason why you should consider starting a Home Bible Study ministry in your church is; Home Bible Study allows you to offer the gospel to people in a non-threatening way. Let’s face it, in the world that we live today the reputation of the church has been tarnished and trashed. Our society and especially the media have focused on those that claimed to be Christians but later were found to be hypocrites. Consequently, the world at large has started to reject church as false and non-relevant. With that being said, the Bible is still the number one bestseller of all time. People may not like the examples of these so called church people but they still want to know what Jesus said. There is a desire in mankind for something solid to anchor their lives to.
The Bible provides that anchor for them. A Home Bible Study allows you to leave all of the bad feelings and thoughts about the church behind and just focus on the Bible. Instead of having to deal with a person’s negative thoughts about hypocrites that they have seen we can help them focus in on what a Christian is supposed to be like, through the example of Jesus Christ. In addition to that a Home Bible Study is less threatening than a church service where the guest is outnumbered by the saints. In a Home Bible Study the students can often outnumber the teachers and helpers. The students feel secure that they are in control and so will be more likely to pay attention and actually get what you are teaching them.
The second reason I would tell you for starting a Home Bible Study ministry in your church is; Home Bible Study helps to build the relationship between new converts and saints which is vital for discipleship. We have all seen the revival services where ten, twenty, and even thirty or more have been baptized and received the Holy Ghost. We point to those services and say, “How awesome that was!” It is awesome to see someone turn their heart over to God. But from those revivals how many have stayed? If two-hundred people got the Holy Ghost and only two stayed in the church was it an effective revival? While I agree that one soul is worth whatever price we have to pay, I also think that a true harvester is concerned with keeping as much as he can.
Home Bible Study will help you do this. The number one reason that I have found why people leave the church after a salvation experience is because they do not feel connected to the rest of the people of the congregation. So they decide to go back to their sinful lifestyle because they know that there are friends waiting for them. But a properly done Home Bible Study will help bridge the gap and build the relationships between saints and new converts. By having teachers interact with students they can build the relationships that will keep the new converts solid and steady in the church for years to come. A church with an active Home Bible Study ministry will see the retention rate for souls begin to climb upward.
The final reason why I think you should start a Home Bible Study ministry in your church is; Home Bible Study encourages spiritual growth in your congregation. In order to be a good Home Bible Study teacher you are going to have to know the Word for yourself. You cannot rely on the pastor or other ministers to know it for you. So you have to get into the Bible and start piecing things together on your own. Your church attendance will go up as you invite your students to every service. Your prayer life will deepen as you begin to feel compassion for those that you are teaching. Your burden for the lost will increase as you see more and more people whose lives have been shattered by this world. Your excitement at seeing new souls and new converts in the church will rise as more and more of those lives are restored and regenerated by the Lord. A person that is active in Home Bible Study is growing spiritually in every way that God expects.
A church that has an effective Home Bible Study ministry is a growing congregation. They are growing in numbers but they are also growing in their walk with God.
There are many other reasons for starting a Home Bible Study ministry that I could mention. If you do not have a Home Bible Study ministry active and running in your congregation let me encourage you to start one. Take time and start one by getting it organized. Find the people that will be the kind of teachers that you need. Train them and get them ready to go. Then watch as your efforts and the hand of God takes your church to the next level.
From: www.benfavel.com web site. June 2009