This week I have written about ways to help listeners get to know the Bible neighbourhood. As we preach we need to point out key landmarks. We need to help them join the dots to know how it fits together. We might want to take them on a formal and planned tour for a few weeks.
Before we finish the series of posts, though, there’s one more than needs to be overtly stated.
4. Be sure they are getting experience for themselves. There is simply nothing to beat personal experience of a place. When we were first married we lived in England. This was my wife’s first time living here. We would have visits from friends and family, and sometimes we’d take them on official tours of places like London and Bath. The open-top bus tours weren’t cheap, but they were a great way to get a taste of all the key sites.
One day Melanie went out with our neighbour for a tour of the city where we were living. The neighbour wasn’t a uniformed bus based tour guide. But did she ever know her stuff! Simply by being in the city her whole life, she was in a position to give my wife a tour that no professional company could match. Back doors from one little place to take a short-cut to another key location. My wife came home tired but amazed at all she had seen.
Our neighbour was not a professional tour guide, but she had gained years of experience. Here’s the point – we need to do whatever we can to motivate, encourage, invite and help people to be in the Bible for themselves. Even the best tours on Sunday mornings won’t create local experts, unless they are spending time exploring and learning on their own.
Too many churches have an inconsistent culture – the effort may go in to the Bible teaching on a Sunday, but personal Bible experience is assumed during the week. Don’t assume. Train, equip, guide and even more importantly: expect and infect. Expect folks to be Bible readers, and infect them with a passion for the God that they can meet there. He is so good that Sunday just can’t be enough!