Well-Rounded Bible Teaching Ministry
The healthy church has several venues or opportunities each week or month to develop a well-rounded teaching ministry:
- The pastor’s pulpit ministry. People should leave worship knowing a bit more about the text on which the sermon was based, including larger and smaller contextual issues. Far too often, people hear what they think is a great sermon, but they learned nothing about the inspired text. Essentially, many preachers give a “TED Talk, with a scripture attached to it, as someone once said. The focus of the sermon, however, is not the exegesis of the text. Rather, sermons should focus on the application of the well-examined text. The sermon affords five to ten minutes of actual Bible teaching ministry.
- Sunday School ministry. Sunday School is traditionally designed to survey the Bible’s content, so that children will grow up to know most of the Bible stories, and adults grapple with the setting and background of the 66 books, along with the larger flow of argument or narrative in them. The emphasis is on what the Bible says. Historically, Sunday School curricula is formulated on a seven-year cycle, so that the devoted Sunday School student will have surveyed the entire Bible.
- Midweek ministry. Midweek ministry should include an element of training in Christian ministry. Many churches still refer to the midweek meeting as Prayer Meeting, although the role of prayer in the midweek meeting has been significantly reduced in most churches to allow more time for Bible study. The way most midweek Bible studies are conducted is essentially the same as the Sunday School ministry, except that there is no Sunday School book, and the pastor just simply opens the Bible and divulges what he knows about a given passage. A well-rounded Bible teaching ministry, however, should give ample instruction on how to read the Bible, rather than repeating the Sunday School’s mission of merely teaching what the Bible says. The idea is that the midweek faithful hone Bible study skills that increase their competence to teach the Bible. Thus, midweek ministry is more than just Bible teaching, but also training in Bible teaching.