One of the things we’ve built our church on is the systematic teaching of the Bible. We’re a verse by verse Bible teaching church for the most part. We do topical stuff as well (some topics are best covered in a topical manner), but the majority of Sundays, we’re working our way through a book of the Bible.
We’ve taught through 30 books of the Bible in nearly 11 years and I believe our church is healthier because of it. We’re getting ready to finish Romans in about a month and we’ll start the book of Nehemiah the following Sunday. I know a lot of guys aren’t into that, citing the need to do shorter series to keep momentum going. I understand that. But I would encourage you to think about teaching through a book of the Bible and see what happens.
Here’s what I have found:
1. It disciples people – we have 3 vehicles for discipleship at CF and that’s Sunday and those are Sunday, Small Groups, and service. We don’t spend a lot of time focusing of “side item” type ministries because they aren’t as powerful as these 3.
2. It’s what unchurched people expect – This might sound odd, but unchurched people expect Christians to study the Bible. So when they walk into a church service and the Pastor is teaching the text and applying it, there’s a comfortability there. I live in an area where 9 out of 10 people are unchurched (this doesn’t mean they aren’t attending a church right now, it means they’re really far from God), so people have no base of knowledge about God to start from. Teaching expositionally has helped us greatly in grounding people.
3. It balances our teaching – We all have tendencies in our teaching. Some are wired more for evangelism, some for discipleship, some for service. But teaching a book of the Bible can give us a balance and allows us to hit topics we’d never think of talking about normally.
4. It teaches people the importance of the Bible – People who see us working through a book of the Bible on Sunday will see the pattern for reading the Bible on their own. Obviously, this isn’t foolproof, but I want to model what I want everyone in my church doing daily.
Mileage may vary, but this decision has been one of the core values of our church.
Note: If you do teach expositionally, this doesn’t exempt you from needing to use creative elements to illustrate God’s heart and will. Boredom doesn’t produce godliness Both God’s Word and our God given creativity working together can reach the heart.
“Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them. The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly.” (Ecclesiastes 12:9-10)