October 1971

More Than The Pulpit

Dan S. Shipley

Even with the most elaborate preparations and planting the purest of seed, the farmer who sows most of his seed crop in his own front yard can expect but a limited harvest. The same is true with churches. Even when capable teachers are faithfully proclaiming the pure word of God in our commodious and comfortable buildings, the harvest will necessarily be limited to those in attendance. While the need for pulpit and classroom teaching cannot be discounted, it is simply not enough. We need to get out of our own front yard with the incorruptible seed that can save souls!

We must go because many will not come. Relatively few non—Christians are attending worship services and Bible classes. Those who do attend seldom do so with any regularity and even then are not likely to hear lessons that are most appropriate to their needs. Lets face it, most who need the gospel are not coming to our front yard to get it. If they are to be reached it will take more than the pulpit —and it will take more than the man who stands in the pulpit.

Consequently. every qualified member of the Lords church should seek for opportunities to sow the seed of the kingdom. As the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15), the church bears a serious and unique obligation to the gospel — not only to love it and live it, but to proclaim it as well! If the words of life are to be heard in a lost and dying world, it is the people of God who must speak them. God does not look to those in error to teach His truth, nor does He look to just a few gospel preachers to do all of this work. He looks to all faithful men. . . to teach others (2 Tim. 2:2).

We need to take the gospel to the lost because in their homes is often afforded the most favorable of teaching situations. There, the student is not lost in the crowd; the lessons have a more personal flavor. Where else could a student feel more at home and feel free to ask pertinent questions without fear of embarrassment? There, he relates himself to the subject more readily; he hears lessons most relevant to his needs. With home studies the prevalent problem of absenteeism is almost nil. Many will keep an appointment with a teacher at home who wont do so at a church building. What better arrangement for teaching Bible truth?

For these, and other reasons, it would seem a wise redemption of time for us to become more involved in this house-to-house kind of teaching. We need more kitchen-table lecterns and sofa-pews! There is still good soil — just waiting to receive this incorruptible seed and bear fruit. Of course, not all who are thusly taught will, obey the truth, but at least we can be assured that they have been taught and are now capable of making an informed decision in the matter. When we have done our part, God will give the increase (1 Cor. 3:7). Lets just get out of the front yard to do the sowing.

But many will wonder about how to arrange such home Bible studies. A preacher friend of mine told me the secret: JUST ASK!