Updated: Sep 19, 2018
What does a “Word-Filled” church look like and are we one?
Consider our normal church schedule in which the average church member is focusing on at least five different Scripture passages each week: the adult Bible study lesson, the Sunday sermon, their small group’s lesson, the Wednesday evening lesson, and their own personal or family devotional reading (which could be many different passages). Does that make us a “Word-Filled” church?
I guess it does, but wait... for us to be “Word-Filled”, not only do we need to pour the Word into our lives; we need to keep it from leaking out faster than we are pouring it in. And that is where the spiritual busyness starts right? Since we know we leak, we feel driven to an endless cycle of: going to more classes, listening to more sermons, and reading more Scripture - all the while hoping we find the right formula to finally get “Word-Filled.”
Into that unending cycle, Isaiah 30:15 speaks:
In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
The goal is not to add more busyness, but instead to slow the leaking by abiding in God’s presence and helping His word abide in us. So, over the summer we studied “The Abiding Life” in 1st John. We also considered the importance of meditating on God’s word in the summer adult Bible study.
This fall we are taking our next step as a church by studying the book of 1 Thessalonians together. Not only will we study what it means to be a “Word-Filled” church, but we will be practicing it individually, in our relationships, in our small groups, and in our church. The study guide provided will help us as individuals and families meditate on the truths of 1 Thessalonians as we prepare to gather together on Sundays. Then the Sunday sermon series will help us, as a church, focus on some of the key points of each passage. Finally, our small groups will give us the opportunity to challenge and encourage each other to live the word out in our daily lives and relationships.
We are asking everybody to make the commitment to be a “Word- Filled” church. If you haven’t picked up a study guide yet, please do as soon as possible. Work through the study guide for your devotions individually and as a family. It is not too late to start. We believe you will find coming into the Sunday morning worship service having meditated on the passage will make worship and the sermon more meaningful for everyone. We would also encourage you to faithfully attend a small group this semester as well. There is a Sunday morning small group open to everyone at the church (9:30 a.m.) if you find that most convenient. However, if you are looking for a small group at another time, let Pastor David know and he will help you find the right fit. We are praying that the discussion in your small group will provide the perfect opportunity for everyone to work through the practical applications of the passage for everyday life. As small groups, we can be praying for each other and encouraging each other through the challenges of truly being a “Word-Filled” church.
Our hope is that by intimately working together through the same passage as a church each week, we will experience a greater impact from these truths individually, as families, and as a church body. In turn, we pray that we will see 1 Thessalonians 1:8 become a description of Maranatha as well, “For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Hilliard and Columbus, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere.”