In our research behind Transformational Discipleship, we discovered that engagement in one particular spiritual discipline positively impacts engagement in every other spiritual discipline (giving, serving, sharing the gospel, fasting, praying, etc.). In other words, while the other spiritual disciplines are important, engagement in one of these (from a research vantage point) does not necessarily increase engagement in the others. But there is one spiritual discipline that increases activity in every other spiritual discipline.
And that spiritual discipline is ongoing engagement with God’s Word. Those who increase their engagement with God’s Word increase their participation in the other spiritual disciplines.
The apostle Paul challenged Christians living in Colossae to let the Word dwell in them richly, not scarcely or superficially.
And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:15-16).
Whatever dwells in us controls us. If His Word dwells in us, His Word controls us and gives us peace (verse 15).
Whatever dwells in us comes out of us. If His Word dwells in us, we praise Him, we speak and live with wisdom, and we are filled with gratitude (verse 16).
If there is one thing you must do as a church leader, it is to foster the Word of Christ dwelling richly in your people’s lives. Help them:
1) Hear the Word
When people gather for worship, preach the Word of Christ. “Persist in it, whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
2) Study the Word
Paul’s words in Colossians 3 were written to a community of Christ-followers. Letting the Word dwell in us and among us must happen in community. When your groups gather, ensure that they study the timeless truth of God’s Word.
3) Read the Word
Brad Waggoner, in his research-based book The Shape of Faith to Come, demonstrates that regular Bible reading highly correlates to spiritual growth. Believers who read the Word regularly become more like Christ.
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you. Richly.