We have taken a new turn at my church on Sunday evenings. I preach an expository sermon through a book of the Bible in the mornings, but when we regather that night, it is a less formal, more participatory teaching time. I usually work from an outline I have put together and passed around, teach from a little podium down on the floor, and encourage members to look up and read Scripture, and ask questions. In the future, this hour can be used to learn about church history, basic Bible doctrine, or anything else that would be profitable for our church. Our small setting gives us great flexibility, and has the feel of a family gathering around the Bible at the end of the Lord’s Day together. We have found this already to be a great compliment to our morning service in a number of ways.
Right now, we are focusing on practical matters of the Christian life, what might be called “Biblical Spirituality,” or just basic godliness. I intend for us to look at such topics as how to study your Bible, the importance of Scripture memory, and the role of fasting in the Christian life. I also hope to address several “why” questions that are often assumed in life as a church – why we sing when we come together, why we stand when we read Scripture, etc. Hopefully, we are all learning a great deal about the life of godliness together.
Whereas some of these practices, such as fasting, may not yet be in place for everyone, I decided to begin with something that each person was already doing: listening to preaching. But though all of us were consistently under preaching, few of us probably had given much thought to the vital role it is intended to play in our Christian lives, and how we can make the most out of the sermons that we hear. This afforded me a wonderful opportunity to walk through a brief theology of preaching, and give some practical advice from the Puritans as to how we ought to be listening to sermons.
One of the greatest joys of this three weeks was listening to various members share from their own walk with Christ. In light of John 10, we heard testimonies of when Christ specifically called to them as they sat under the Word. Several explained their own practice of taking notes in their Bible’s margins and how they reviewed them later. Not only was this a great encouragement to me, but it offered a great model for many of our younger members as they listened to our older saints. I am praying the Lord will continue to bless our studies on Sunday nights.