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The Preacher's Husband

notes from a clergy-hubby

The Great Adventure

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-4)

One of the great privileges of being “The Preacher’s Husband” is the opportunity to be involved in the church where she has been called to lead. No offense, Brandon, but this city wouldn’t even have made it onto my radar if Rebekah hadn’t been called as pastor.

In fact, if I wasn’t married to a preacher, not only would I have never known all these amazing people, but I may have missed out on leading small groups, too. I’ve always been a reluctant teacher until I get going, so I’ve always needed a nudge. Being married to the preacher can be a pretty big nudge!

My gift in leading – if I have one – is in providing the kind of environment where what really happens is that other people teach me. It’s a great gig so far as I’m concerned, because all I have to do is to listen, ask good questions and nod my head a lot. Oh, and I smile encouragingly sometimes.

It helps of course that so many erudite and brilliant people come to our church.

PhD Bible Study: I’ve talked about this before, both on the road and in one of my books – but it bears repeating in this venue because A) I’ve no way of knowing if my on-line readers have ever been anywhere near one of my books! And B) Odds are you’re not flying me in to speak at your church any time soon….

I call it my PhD-level Bible-study program. First, a little background:

  • Traditionally, in the world of academia the bachelor’s degree denotes broad exposure to a particular field of knowledge.
  • Moving forward, the masters’ degree is awarded to someone who has demonstrated mastery to the extent that he or she can teach the subject to others.
  • A doctorate means that the candidate actually creates new knowledge and advances the discipline to a new level.

PhD-level Bible-study

Here’s how it works when I’m “teaching”.

  1. I bring scripture, some background, a little preparation, and a vague outline to the group.
  2. I add some questions, my experience with group facilitation, and an openness to the moving of God.
  3. The participants bring along their life experiences, their particular knowledge, their relationship with God, some pre-class reading, prayer, insight, and what God is up to in their lives at this particular place and time.
  4. We open the meeting with prayer, believing that God will be a real part of the learning equation.
  5. We talk, people listen, people share, the Word Speaks….
  6. The Holy Spirit reaches in with a large wooden spoon and stirs.
  7. Then – and this always happens at least two-three times whenever I meet with a group of people for study – someone says something and the room goes quiet. “That’s exactly it!” someone will say. Or, “I’ve never thought about it that way before…” Or, “Wow, the scriptures really opened up to me today.”

It never fails to happen. New knowledge, fresh out of the box, right there in a small group in a medium-sized faith community in the suburbs of Tampa. Remember what I said about the creation of new knowledge? Well, that’s why I call them PhD-level Bible studies. We should be handing them out, every time we meet!

New every morning.

– DEREK

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