Our mission statement: “loving God & living His word” – implies that people are taught & learn the word so they can live it. The teaching of the Bible is the hallmark of a true church – 2Tim.4:2 “Preach the Word!” John Stott observes, “Whether the text is long or short, our responsibility as expositors is to open it in such a way that it speaks its message clearly, plainly, accurately, relevantly, without addition, subtraction or falsification.” The Bible and message of the gospel is the primary revelation of God and Christian Living.
The strengths of the teaching [doctrine-driven] model are the church is taught sound doctrine & the assembly is encouraged to study the Bible for themselves, and consider and reflect upon deep theological truth. Nevertheless, we must guard against creating self-righteous people who lack compassion. Bible teaching may not always be popular but people will respect and be drawn to God by declaring, “This is what the Bible says, and this is how to apply it. We are trying our best to apply it in our lives and you can, too.” A primary role of the lead pastor in this model is to teach the Bible.
Expositional verse-by-verse teaching allows people to understand God in the context of books of the Bible. If you start at chapter one, verse one of a book and teach systematically through verse-by-verse, paragraph-by-paragraph, chapter-by-chapter until the end of the book people are likely to understand doctrine and theology. Paul declared that he was innocent of the blood of all men, “For I have not shunned to declare to the whole counsel of God.” [Ac.20:26-27]. It seems that the only way to teach the whole counsel of God is to teach through books of the Bible.
In Nehemiah 8, when the children of Israel had returned from captivity and were rebuilding the city, the leadership gathered the people together and began to read the Word of God to them. Nehemiah 8:8 declares, “So they read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” This is the essence of expositional teaching. Read the text, observe, explain what it means, and help people to understand how to apply the truth of the Word to their lives.
I encourage you to consider teaching the Old Testament during the mid-week Bible study and teach from the New on weekends. There seems to be very few churches that teach through books of the Bible, and even fewer that teach through the Old Testament. This approach will set the church apart in the community and help establish a reputation as a strong teaching ministry. Your teaching must edify believers, reach mature disciples, and strengthen less mature. Also, teaching should encourage pre-believers to decide to follow Jesus. The teaching should be simple but not simplistic. Consider what does the passage say about God, and what are the likely objections that people are thinking or feeling, and then refute the objections.
Narrative texts [e.g. Gospels, Acts, Genesis] will grow even more popular as people resonate with story as a means of communicating truth. Books that emphasize doctrine [e.g. Paul’s letters] are essential to teach so that people understand Christian life. Thematic or topical expository teaching in a series can be very helpful for a church to understand what the Bible teaches about a particular subject such as prayer, worship, marriage, the Holy Spirit, etc. Consider offering a topical series in the middle of a long book study or between books.
A teaching style has been modeled and taught at Calvary that is effective in regard to elements of teaching [see, appendix re teacher training materials], but discover who you are as a teacher and develop that gift and style. Nevertheless, Teachers should help the audience remember the message by identifying a theme [subject], object, using biblical cross-references, support material, and illustrations. Personal short-comings & struggles are easier for people to relate to [be real]. Know your audience. For example, the challenges of jr. high students are different than high school students, and college students have their own unique experiences, etc. Let listeners be challenged and shaped by the truth of God’s word in the context of the passage and in the context of their culture. An appropriate hermeneutical question is not simply, what does this text mean? but rather How is the text asking me to change?
Be committed to the Word of God. As Paul said to Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” [2Tim.2:15]. You can be taught how to study and how to teach the Bible but you must choose to remain diligent as a student and teacher of the Bible. Remember to, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” [2Tim.4:2].
Finally, it is important to recall that evangelism, worship, community service, and fellowship should not be ignored which will eventually cause the church’s demise.
a pastor’s perspective: as a church planter there is a temptation to want to gather a large following as soon as possible. A “dog and pony show” would seem like a great way to accomplish that goal. For example, invite special guests like a celebrity to share their testimony, an athlete to display their skill, special music, or an epic display [think skate demo, bmx, bungee baptisms, fog machines and light show, etc]. The problem isn’t that any of those things are wrong. The problem is that it tends to erode confidence in the Word of God and Spirit to draw people to God. You will tend to think that you need to reach people through some “new” thing. Furthermore, if people were attracted by “the attraction” then you will need to constantly up the ante to keep them interested.