One of the neat tools I’ve got in my Bible-study-leader’s kit bag is getting people to represent a passage visually on a big blank sheet of paper. It’s a particularly useful tool for the epistles, where there is often a tight chain of logic we need to tease out if we’re to read and understand the passage properly.
The reason it’s neat is that it does a few things at once: it gets people really wrestling with the text to make sense of it and present it in a different form; it allows creative or visual thinkers in your group to express themselves in a format they don’t often get to use in a Bible study setting (often with amazing results); and it lets you as the leader see how people think. Often others will articulate something for me that I feel as if I already know, but haven’t yet put into words.
David Shead does this for me in his article in this Briefing, responding to the Saving Eutychus extract we published back in June. Coming from a linguistics background and having the experience of a seasoned preacher, the things he says about language, communication and preaching crystallize for me things I know intuitively but have never codified in my thinking.
While there are some Briefing issues that have less content written especially for pastors and leaders, in this issue we have two articles in particular for you. David Shead’s article is one; the other is Claire Smith’s close look at Paul’s leadership on his own terms. For those who lead the people of God in any way, whether it’s just one disciple or a whole collection of congregations, thinking through Paul’s understanding of what leadership was for and what it looked like is invaluable.
That’s not to say there’s nothing in this issue for everyone else. Our Sola Panel section this time is a little longer than normal, and includes contributions from the GoThereFor.com team—a collection of pastors from Australia, the US and the UK who are committed to disciple-making ministry and are keen to write about it. I’m excited about this platform (go check it out: http://gotherefor.com)—partly because I’ve spent a good part of the past year putting it together, but mainly because I think it’s going to be a great platform to encourage, spark, and sustain really fruitful disciple-making ministry around the globe.
The cover article in this issue is the third and final part of Paul Grimmond’s series on work. If you haven’t read the previous two articles in this series, fret not—this final article is particularly useful in its own right, going to the heart of how we understand the various priorities that tug on us in all parts of life. Paul deftly walks us through how we can think about the questions surrounding ‘secular work’ versus ‘paid work’, amongst others. But if you haven’t already read them, I do commend to you the previous two instalments in the series, on the creation mandate and vocation. You can find them in Briefing issues #406 and #407 and on the Briefing website.
There’s more in store, but I’ll let you read on and investigate. As always, I pray it will be an encouragement to you and to those in your ministry.