I am surprised how little attention churches give to securing Bible study leaders and holding them accountable. Below are 10 covenant commitments I would want them to affirm as they serve in the local church:
- "I will grow in my faith and devotion to God through consistent, personal Bible study." Bible study leaders have a tendency to teach from our reserves; that is, we teach out of what we learned in the past. It's wrong to assume we can take on today's teaching task on the basis of yesterday's power.
- "I will be holy, knowing that what others do not see is as important as what they do see." When there is unconfessed sin in our lives, we lack the power of God that should mark all teaching of the Bible. The unholy Bible study leader imparts only information, but the holy Bible study leader imparts life.
- "I will faithfully support the work of the church by regular worship attendance and financial giving." We teach not only with our words, but also with our actions. Bible study leaders who teach their group but who don't also support the church are likely growing their own kingdom more than God's kingdom.
- "I will faithfully participate in any small group leader training my church offers." Leaders who aren't willing to be trained—likely because they don't see the need—may well think too highly of themselves to be a church leader.
- "I will faithfully prepare to teach each week." Let's be honest—we can study a little (or not at all) and still teach something. Group members might, in fact, think our teaching is great, but we know reality: We're missing the full blessing of God because we've not given Him time to move us in our preparation.
- "I will prioritize teaching the Word." This commitment is non-negotiable, but Bible study leaders don't always practically keep it. Everything else consumes the time set apart for teaching, and attention to the Bible when the group gathers is lessened.
- "I will share my faith regularly and challenge the group to do the same." If we genuinely live what we teach, we'll take initiative to tell others about Jesus. We will weep over non-believers because we trust the Word we teach.
- "I will seek prayer partners and pray for group members each week." We need others praying for us because we need God's power to make a difference through our teaching. The people we teach need our prayers, too.
- "I will not use my teaching platform to create division in the church." It's easy to do—and even couch our divisive words in spiritual language that sounds good. Small group leaders, though, must be supportive of the team.
- I will strive to raise up new Bible study leaders and multiply my class. The best Bible study leaders know their responsibility is to reproduce themselves in younger leaders—who will then start new groups. If we can't rejoice when that happens, our teaching is likely too self-centered.
What other commitments would you include in your Bible study leader's covenant?
Chuck Lawless is dean of doctoral studies and vice president of spiritual formation and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is team leader for theological education strategists for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
For the original article, visit chucklawless.com.
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