Can we talk? For some of us, studying/learning does not come naturally. We look for any excuse we can find to let others do our thinking for us. We might resent anything that seems like homework — and to take notes in church?! (It wouldn’t even occur to us).
But what if we looked at the local church, not as a social club for saints, but as an educational environment for redeemed sinners who have a lot to learn? Here are five suggestions I have to encourage and produce learning-committed believers:
1. Encourage discussion of sermons and Sunday school lessons.
2. Take notes during your pastor’s messages — and even ask him questions (polite ones!) after the service.
3. Have your spiritual leaders (= “elders”) read and report on important books for the congregation to also read (or stay away from!).
4. Occasionally, have a debate on a controversial topic on which Christians are divided. We once had a debate in our Bible college on Calvinism versus Arminianism. I would recommend that the strongest Calvinist in your church ought to defend the Arminian side and the most ardent Arminian defend the Calvinist side! That way it is not a debate of personalities, but of issues. Other matters that could be debated would be: divorce, spiritual gifts, just war vs. pacifism, immigration, gay marriage, etc.
5. Grow in your own ability to think through the implications of the Christian faith. I have my students read what I call “books that boil your blood before you get past the preface.” This is not for new believers, but for those who have been saved for a while. Have them read books that raise questions for which we Christians must have answers!