District superintendent asks churches to ‘Engage the Word’
Major studies done in recent years tried to figure out how churches can produce mature, Christlike disciples.
“To no one’s surprise, the classic spiritual disciplines are still the key,” said H. David McKellips, Northeast Oklahoma district superintendent.
According to a recent newsletter from the district, the Northeast Oklahoma District seeks to support efforts of local churches to help members develop “holy habits,” which are means of grace. Each of the past three years, the district’s Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries has provided resources to help individuals incorporate Bible reading and prayer in their lives leading up to a spiritual renewal weekend.
In a four-year study conducted by Willow Creek Community Church involving 1,200 churches and 280,000 people, the church found that the most significant catalyst for spiritual growth — with no close second — is engagement with the Bible. In the report of the study, Willow Creek Executive Pastor Greg Hawkins wrote, “Do whatever you can to inspire members of your church to fall in love with God’s Word.”
McKellips and Northeast Oklahoma District SDMI Chairman Steven Lester are taking this to heart. McKellips and Lester are calling every church on their district to “Engage the Word” in the fall of 2012.
Engage the Word is a Scripture reading emphasis designed to deepen a congregation’s connection to God through his Word. This 40-day emphasis was created to help churches develop lifelong habits of daily Scripture engagement. Included are tools for youth, children, adults, and apps for smartphones.
“Pastors, teach your people God’s Word,” McKellips said. “Show them how you yourself are living it out, and then challenge them to take a next step in response as we Engage the Word. I know you cannot be responsible for your members’ spiritual growth, but you can be spiritual coaches, walking alongside people and giving tools and encouragement to help them grow.”
Engage the Word 2012 is year two of a three-year emphasis on Bible engagement. This emphasis is provided through a partnership of Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International, the American Bible Society, and Nazarene Publishing House. The 2012 Engage the Word emphasis begins September 30, 2012.
—Northeast Oklahoma District via SDMI