We need to do more in our church communications than reach out to people to get them to church the first time. You probably had lots of people visit for the first time during the holidays, but you don't want them to come week after week and leave with only nice feelings about the Christian faith.
We need to give them enough information to make an informed decision about the Christian faith and after they become a Christian we need to keep helping them learn about the faith until they grow to mature disciples.
People grow in the Christian faith by learning about God and His guidelines for living as they are taught in the Bible. To grow your people you need to get them into the Bible and to get the Bible into them. Below are some simple communication tools that can help do that.
Bible reading plans
Everything is easier with a plan. Give your people a plan to read through the Bible in a year. To make it more manageable and enjoyable print up the schedule a month or quarter at a time and turn it into an attractive bookmark that people can keep in their Bible and check off for each day they do their reading. You could also provide a link to a read-through-the-Bible –in-a year program on the web.
There are many free Bible downloads or podcasts on the web for people who might prefer to listen rather than read their Bibles. Don’t think for a minute that listening to the Bible is inferior to reading it. For most of human history, the majority of believers have not had their own Bibles to read—join the saints of the past and listen to the Word of God.
This year the adult discipleship ministry at our church that my pastor husband and I lead will be be going through the Bible in a year in chronological order. We are using the reading plan at: www.bibleplan.org. The plan we are using is the Chronological, read in a year. This site has a number of useful features
- They will send the daily reading to you via email.
- You can then read it online.
- Or you can click on the link to the Bible Gateway and listen to it.
Memory verse cards
In many ministries we’ve worked in we’ve used business-card size verse cards to help our people memorize verses. These are so easy to create with any desktop publishing software, such as MS Publisher and the pre-perforated business card stock you can get at office supply stores. Do these up for Sunday School classes, small groups, and for all of the various teaching ministries of your church. For special occasions, you can turn the verse card into a refrigerator magnet. We’ve frequently done that for key verses for ministries or as a holiday gift to ministry groups.
Web site support
For the Bible reading plans, refer people to a place on your web site where you have additional background on the books of the Bible, the history of the books, profiles of the key characters, how that book of the Bible is part of the overall story of salvation. Add links to other Bible study sites and you have a great tool to encourage your people to get into the Bible more deeply. A good site to start with is www.blueletterbible.org.
Another great site that has both lots of help on Bible studies, yearly Bible reading plans and one of my favorites, the links to classic Bible commentaries is: http://www.ewordtoday.com/ Be sure to go to the bottom of the page because at the end of the page are links to some excellent sites--be sure you go to: http://www.ewordtoday.com/comments/
A key to successful outreach and growth in the Christian faith is not for church leaders to do it all, but for them to equip their people to do the work of the ministry. Technology is a great tool that gives us new ways to equip the saints to do work of eternal value.