By Phil Brooks
“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” Acts 10:44-46
Why teach home Bible studies? Why not?
Besides, didn’t Jesus command us to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”? (Mark 16:15)
My 20+ years of ministry has seen a wonderful harvest of souls throughout the years, primarily through home Bible studies. I didn’t begin winning souls through Bible study because I had a burden. It wasn’t because I had a passion. It wasn’t because I had the gift of soul winning. It wasn’t even because Jesus told us to do it.
I did it because my Pastor, Rev. R.E. Libby, was doing it, and he implored us as saints to do so. I watched and listened as his personal Bible study group grew because he was intentional about teaching the word of God to lost souls. Sitting on a pew one Sunday, I realized, by the help of the Lord, that it was time for me to stop warming pews and get about the business of the Kingdom: Reaching the Lost.
What makes home Bible studies so effective? It’s the opportunity to sit one on one with an individual (or with a group) in the comfort of their environment and share the truths of God’s word with them. There’s no rush. There’s no pressure. They can ask questions. And, most importantly, they get to absorb. Absorb what? The Christian lifestyle in action. (I learned that from Bro. Cornwell.) It’s an opportunity to let your light shine while sharing the gospel. They don’t just get to HEAR it. They get to SEE it. There’s a rubbing off from student to teacher that slowly begins to take place. God’s spirit is working to awaken them to His power and grace. Eventually the hunger and thirst moves them to action and conversion takes place.
It’s amazing that in Acts 10:44-46, Jesus sent a preacher to the house of Cornelius to teach a Bible study to a hungry soul, that soul being Cornelius. But there were many more gathered than Cornelius, for we see in verse 27 that as Peter talked with him, “he went in and found many that were come together.” Peter wasn’t exactly up on the rooftop in Joppa praying for a Bible study to teach. The Bible study was Jesus’ idea. Peter simply needed to be obedient. The end result is that “many” souls were born again of the water and Spirit because one man taught a Bible study.
My most memorable Bible study experience happened on the campus of Morgan State University in the city of Baltimore. I was invited by a student who I’d attended church with in Gaithersburg, MD to answer some questions one of his suite mates had about the Bible. Since I lived across the street from the campus, it was nothing to go and attempt to answer this young man’s questions. After some time, I offered to teach him a Bible study. The next night, I showed up, ready to teach. To my surprise, he’d invited a friend. After a tough hour of teaching and answering questions, the young man looked at his friend and made this statement, “We need this more than once a week!” By the time the group had finished growing as a result of that first lesson, I was teaching 20-25 students in the conference room of the dorm building! Souls were being baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost. They were coming to church. They were bringing their friends.
All of this happened because I taught a Bible study!
The church is a people business. The music, facilities, multimedia presentations, technology, and all the other resources we use to enhance the Sunday morning experience are a mere backdrop to the main event; reaching the lost. When the music fades and the lights go dim after service is ended, there is still work to do. In our school, on our jobs, in our neighborhoods, there are people waiting for us to bring the word of God to them. How we do it doesn’t matter. It could be over coffee. It might be during halftime of a football game. Maybe it’s in a high school classroom. Where doesn’t matter. When doesn’t matter. If you want to influence people, one soul at a time, Bible study is the way to do it.
Phil Brooks is a proven soul winner and innovative church leader with extensive ministry and leadership training. As a licensed minister with the United Pentecostal Church, Phil experienced a variety of notable ministry successes as an innovative youth pastor, ministering at high school and middle school Bible clubs, and launching community based urban outreach ministries including Talk4Teens and Summer of Service. Phil also brings a wealth of knowledge in the areas of training and leadership development. Phil lives in Charlotte, NC and is the proud father of two sons.