The Assumption That Our Churches Can’t Afford


An article was published recently on The Gospel Coalition by Jen Wilkin called, “The Assumption We Cannot Afford.” The assumption she warned against was assuming that people in our congregations know how to read the Bible for themselves.

Wilkin’s first glimpse of the degree of this neglect was after leading a year-long women’s Bible study and being overwhelmed with comments saying, “I’ve been in church for years, but no one has taught me to study my Bible until now.”

We often hear the same types of comments from pastors we train. While these comments can be very encouraging on the one hand about the importance and effectiveness of our training, they are also profoundly discouraging when thinking about the lack of training many pastors have.

Wilkin continues,

Church leaders, I fear we have made a costly and erroneous assumption about those we lead. I fear that in our enthusiasm to teach about finances, gender roles, healthy relationships, purity, culture wars, and even theology we have neglected to build foundational understanding of the Scriptures among our people…When we offer topical help–even if the topic is doctrine–without first offering Bible literacy, we attempt to furnish a house we have neglected to construct.

All Christians should have a solid foundation of Scriptural truth and a working knowledge of how to read the Bible. The Bible can be confusing and hard to understandPastors must teach their people the Bible and how to study the Bible for themselves.

Doing this will help their congregation more faithfully feed themselves the Word of God during the week and not rely on the knowledge or abilities of others. The more people get into the Bible for themselves, the more God will use it to sanctify them and prepare them for their own ministry (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and the more people will understand why the Psalmist could say the Word is more to be desired than gold and sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10).

The results of our training are much like how Jen Wilkin describes the women she equipped as excited, “well-watered plants after a drought…finally being given some tools to build Bible literacy.

And yet so many church goers are plants still in a drought, so many pastors and church leaders are not being equipped or nourished with God’s Word. We recently heard a confession of a Honduran pastor who said that for thirty-five years in ministry (before receiving our training) he had been preaching nothing.

Does that break your heart? Hearing that story broke our hearts but encouraged us that God would not give up on this man but equip him for his remaining years in ministry through receiving training in the Word through Leadership Resources.

Will you pray with us that God would equip and nourish His people with His Word all over the world and have it increase and prevail mightily (Acts 19:20)? Would you pray for pastors like Rolando in Oaxaca, Mexico, a man who desperately longed to be trained in God’s Word and had God answer his prayer by sending Leadership Resources?

The Word of God is sufficient to do the work of God. It is our job to make it and its’ life-giving message accessible and understandable to others. We thank God for His power displayed in His Word!

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Kevin Halloran

Servant of the Word. Husband. Blogs weekly at Anchored in Christ. Content Strategist/Trainer in Latin America with Leadership Resources International.