Scripture reading plays a pivotal role in the life of every church. It’s a foundation upon which the church depends.

While we often think of Scripture reading as a more personal—or small group—practice, what does it mean on a corporate level when it comes to the future of the church?

At its core, Scripture reading is a key way for us to deepen our relationship with God. A recent study published by Barna revealed that 57% of Americans “read the Bible because it draws them closer to God.” And 61% of Americans want to read the Bible more than their current levels.

That speaks to the importance of Scripture—both for the individual and for the church.

Here are four reasons why the church should commit to Scripture reading as a corporate body:

1. Helps us ascertain God’s leading.

What’s our future hold? Where do we want to go? Where should we place our priorities? These are all great dilemmas/questions. And they are faced by every church.

When your congregation is going through a time of discernment and planning, commit to reading the Bible corporately—asking God to give you leading and guidance as to your future.

2. Calms our fears.

How many times have we been faced with obstacles or decisions that seemed daunting? Probably at least a few times. It could be church debt, infighting, outside pressure or any number of things. Reading through Scripture about how God loves us and takes care of us can help allay congregational fears.

3. Unsettles us.

It can be easy to fall into the pattern of the same old-same old … doing what we have done for years. But God wants to break us free from the constraints of the past and help us impact our ever-changing world in new and dynamic ways. Scripture can challenge us, motivate us and most importantly unsettle us to pursue these new pathways. And this is experienced in a compelling manner when we corporately read God’s Word.

4. Provides a way forward.

This is especially true when we feel stuck or unsure. Scripture reading as a community can help us see—together—how we can move forward and pursue God and His plan for our future.

Reading Scripture as a community can draw the entire congregation closer to God, while at the same time revealing important elements of His love for us

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