Bible Engagement + Scripture Reflection = Spiritual Growth

I ask you: how are you equipping, encouraging, and empowering your people to engage the Bible and reflect on Scripture’s meaning in their life?

The Reveal study carried out by Willow Creek Community Church almost a decade ago still provide crucial insights for how we are leading our people. THE key factor in spiritual growth is engagement with and reflection upon the Bible.

The authors argue for three major movements as one progresses from unbelief and spiritual immaturity to a life that is centered upon Christ. The KEY spiritual catalyst that appears in all three movements is, you guessed it, Bible engagement and reflection. They write that “‘Reflection on Scripture’ is the number one factor across all three movements.” (41) They proceed, “But that’s only part of the story. When we statistically compare the power of these factors, ‘Reflection on Scripture’ (‘I reflect on the meaning of Scripture in my life’) is much more influential than any other personal spiritual practice.” (41)

I love to teach, most of you know that, but this study was humbling when I first learned these truths. The fact that Bible engagement is the KEY for spiritual growth shows that the primary growth of the individual does not occur during my 40-minute lesson, rather it occurs as the individual reflects on the Scripture in such a way that it impacts their day-to-day experience. To that end, I shifted my mentality so that my goal was not to give them a “point” or “idea” per se, rather I began to equip people with the tools to engage Scripture on their own. My measure of success became their independence from me.

So, I ask you again: how are you equipping, encouraging, and empowering your people to engage the Bible and reflect on Scripture’s meaning in their life?

Here’s some quick helps:

  1. Send them away with 1-2 strong application questions to reflect on each day that they will share with someone from the group by text, call, email, or lunch.
  2. Send them away with a reading plan that intersects with your weekly teaching.
  3. Use the Brentwood Baptist reading plan online or have them download the app:
Greg L. Hawkins and Cally Parkinson, Follow Me: What’s Next for You (Barrington, IL: Willow Creek Association, 2008).

LIFE Groups on Mission: Gracewalk LIFE Group

Eddie received a call from a Rutherford County Foster Care Ministry asking whether there’s any group who could help a family who just welcomed into their home 3 foster kids a week before Christmas. The family was overwhelmed to provide a joyous Christmas experience at the last minute. Eddie reached out to the Gracewalk group, and here’s what happened:

Paul, Steve and I wanted to reply to you regarding the testimony requested. I’m not sure it’s much of a story. Due to the urgency and the very short time frame that we had to respond (people going out of town, etc.) three of us kicked in the money and then John Matlock went shopping with her at Target getting presents the kids wanted along with things the kids needed. They got tons of presents.  I think it meant a lot to this foster Mom. John really did the lion’s share, meeting her after work and going shopping with her. We were made aware of the need on the Wednesday before Christmas I think. The money (about $500) got pulled together on Thursday and the gifts were bought on Friday night with John’s sweet help.  It was a blessing to the four of us who participated. I am sure our class would have responded in a big way if we had had the time to do it that way. Our class loves getting to minister to orphans and foster kids. It is a primary focus of our class and we are blessed to be able to participate in loving on these young ones in name of Jesus! 😀

Blessings, Karen and Steve

We find it stunning how Karen naturally plays down what has become the Christian normal for Brentwood Baptist LIFE Groups. This story is incredible and Jesus’ name was made known for this family, the new foster kids, and all of the friends, neighbors, and co-workers with whom they interact. Thank you Gracewalk, thank you Steve and Karen for your leadership, thank you John for shopping with the foster mom, and thank you Holy Spirit for opportunity, power, and response. What a privilege it is to serve and partner with Brentwood Campus LIFE Groups!!

Please send us your stories so that we can celebrate together and encourage one another.

Group Connect: What? Why? How?

Group Connect will be this coming Sunday, February 3, for the Brentwood Campus. Now’s a good time to consider the in’s and out’s of such events.

What? Group Connect is a morning event that elevates our value of being connected in biblical community as a premier catalytic disciple-making vehicle and provides easy access to joining a group.

Why? Because biblical community is such a catalytic transformative vehicle, we must both cast vision for their significance and provide easy on-ramps for our unconnected members as well as our lost and searching friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Group Connect is an incredibly easy on-ramp for the unconnected long-time attender and the new attender.

How? We have 10-15 group leaders, particularly new group leaders, lined in the hallway to invite and receive new group members for a 6-week trial basis. To that end, Group Connect is used primarily for launching new groups, relaunching existing groups that are reorienting, and then landing those unconnected individuals that our accumulated data (think targeted invite) from the previous semester dictate. If your group is not represented at Group Connect, then please know that we ARE still sending folks to you through our on-campus LIFE Groups booths throughout the building, our text-to-connect number, our “plan a visit” link on the website, our “more information” link on the website, and the spontaneous seeker. But you and I also know that nothing beats personal invitation, so encourage your group members to invite their friends, neighbors, and co-workers along with them. We also encourage you to reach out to those on your rosters who have not attended in over a month.

Please pray for our community in 37027 and your local community wherever you are. Brentwood, as well as surrounding areas, are seeing tremendous growth of young families and out-of-staters move in. Many, if not most, statistically, of these individuals are unchurched and have no relationship with or desire for a local community of believers. They will not naturally come to us barring a crisis in their life. We must go to them. Pray about starting a group in your neighborhood. Pray about empowering someone in your current group to start a group in their neighborhood. Pray to partner with us to begin strong, biblical communities ready to engage the lost and searching of 37027 and beyond in every neighborhood.