Today I’m beginning a new series of posts on what I consider to be absolutely crucial when thinking through the implications of a missional approach to the Bible: how does it impact small group Bible studies? Of course there are numerous ways of engaging with the Bible, both individually and corporately. I have, though, spent a good deal of my adult life in small group Bible studies either in the context of Church, Christian Union (either as a student or a student worker), or in a Bible/Mission training College setting.
I suspect this is the case for a lot of Christians here in the UK. So the small group Bible study is a key way in which we engage with the Bible. But how do we make our studies more missional? Is it enough to add a ‘mission application’ to the end of our traditional studies or does a missional approach change how we study the Bible together at a more fundamental level? This is what I want to tease out in this series of posts.
My hunch is that if the missional approach does not (in some way at least) find a home in preaching and small group studies then those of us who are advocating for a missional hermeneutic will not have done our job well enough. It is fantastic to see the growing engagement with missional hermeneutics in the academy, and amongst those who are already inclined to think in terms of mission. And there is still much to do in those spheres. But it can’t stop there. I am convinced that a missional approach to the Bible could be profoundly helpful in envisioning everyone in the Church to get excited about their participation in God’s mission, in their homes, workplaces, communities and in other contexts as well.
So in this series I will aim to reflect every now and then on questions that may help shape our Bible studies so that they are more aligned with the missional nature of the Bible.
What about you? Have you seen this done well? Do you know of good examples we could all learn from? What questions, challenges or opportunities do you perceive as we set out on this journey together. Leave a comment below, on Twitter or on our Facebook page.