So, I have a plan to learn to dwell in Scripture… However, like all plans relating to how to do church, it’s an experiment on a small-scale at the edge of the congregation. Maybe it’ll impact me; maybe it will even be the beginning of something more widespread. Or maybe, like some of my God-experiments, it will quietly curl up in a corner and die. 🙂
My idea is not original. (I’m so glad that I denied all claims to originality in my very first post!) It comes from Roxburgh and Romanuk, who record having got a group of people to commit to meeting for more than three months and to reading the same gospel passage the whole time.
In my church, that wouldn’t work. We just don’t do ‘unnecessary’ meetings mid-week and you can’t get people out on a weeknight usually for love or money. (Does anyone else have that or is it peculiar to London or perhaps to a church full of people who don’t do church and have not been trained in the art of the Christian mid-week meeting?!)
Anyway, back to the point…which is that I don’t think I could do what Roxburgh and Romanuk do because I couldn’t convince people to come with the promise of a definite result from their time (because I don’t know what the outcome will be). And we are quite performance-driven in relation to time these days – it is our most precious commodity often!
But I do have people wanting to meet with me pastorally all the time on a one to one basis. Sometimes we are talking about something specific, sometimes we are trying to hear God for their life. I also have regular ‘no agenda’ meetings with the church staff team (although we are all part-timers so even meeting is a challenge sometimes!).
I thought these guys would make great partners with me in this ‘on the edges’ experiment. What if I agree to do those pastoral meetings and discuss the people’s concerns but only if they and I have read Luke 10:1-12 at least 4-8 times beforehand? What would that do to our conversations? How would it teach us to live within the Biblical narrative? What kind of different questions might I ask them if my mind was suffused with this Scripture? And how might they view their own life mission differently? What might God say to them through this passage about the things that concern them?
And with the staff team…what would Luke 10:1-12 and its harvest field talk lead us to do differently in church? How will it shape us? What will God say through it? And since with the staff, it’s something we can do again next time – with the same passage – what will God say next time? Will he reiterate the same points or will he lead us through that chunk of gospel narrative on a forward-moving journey that informs our own life journey?
I’m excited to try this. If it helps people (and me!) to think biblically, I shall be shouting it from the hilltops.
Oh, and lastly, in case you wonder why Luke 10:1-12…it’s the same passage as Roxburgh and Romanuk used. I lack imagination!