Something is not always better than nothing. My wife and I went to a local restaurant and she decided to try something different: pheasant. We’ve never had it before. We’ll never choose it again. The one we were served was poor: chewy, funny tasting, and a piece of shot included as a bonus. Others may say how great Pheasant can be, but we tasted enough of the bad version to probably never choose it again.
There is too much Bible immunization going on in churches. That is where the administration of weakened or dead pathogens are introduced to healthy persons so that immunity is developed against lively forms of the same “disease.” Take the life out of the Bible and give it to people, but don’t be surprised when they develop a distaste for the Bible.
Take Sunday School, for instance. Since the church has always had four classes, it must always have four classes, even if that means pressuring people to teach who lack any personal delight in God’s Word. The children taste a “nothing there” version of the Bible that feels like ancient fables with predictable moral lessons from dull non-infectious teachers. Better to have two or even one classes with a good Bible teacher than more classes where any of them are offering an immunizing effect.
Then the children move up to youth ministry. Here’s a safe place for people to “cut their teeth” on Bible teaching in a safe environment. Perhaps, but only let people teach who have a personal appetite for and delight in God’s Word. It is dangerous to open the door to immunizers. The young folks are at a key stage in life. They are preparing for university, for adulthood, for living out their own faith. And if they have been dulled to the Word of God, then the damage done by such bad leadership choices will be impossible to calculate.
I learn a lot by teaching, but I don’t think it is wise to give people the opportunity to teach in order to generate an appetite within them. It may work for them. But the cost for the listeners is too high. Tomorrow we’ll follow this through into the home group and pulpit ministries of the church.