Getting People in Your Church to Do a Devotional Time
It’s that time of year when many people give up on the annual Bible reading plan. Are you like me and a little behind? The frustration is understandable. You want to read God’s Word consistently, but you’re too far behind to catch up with your New Year’s resolution. Many just stop reading rather than bulldozing through 1 and 2 Chronicles.
If your church is like most, far too many people in your congregation don’t read God’s Word consistently. In fact, it’s one of the most common questions I get from church members: How can I be consistent in a devotional time? Over the years, I’ve offered different types of answers. But I’ve settled on one answer that seems to stick the best. I call it the 5-2-1 plan. The plan is not novel, just memorable. And it’s quite simple: five minutes reading God’s Word every day, two minutes in prayer every day, and attending church each week.
- Five: Read Scripture for five minutes. Most people can read a chapter of the Bible in five minutes.
- Two: Pray for two minutes straight. Once a daily discipline of prayer is established, you’re more likely to pray spontaneously, more often, and for longer durations.
- One: Attend your church weekly. Put the hours of worship on your calendar and commit to be in church each week.
The average American watches about three hours of TV a day. Anyone can pause the DVR and spend seven minutes in God’s Word and in prayer. The purpose of this plan is not the duration of time—seven minutes a day is easy. The purpose of this plan is to develop a regular pattern and rhythm of reading God’s Word and talking with Him in prayer. We all have our regular patterns and rhythms. Too many of us do not include God and church in these patterns. By establishing a pattern, you are more inclined to become disciplined in these areas.
An active churchgoer once attended three times a week, now it’s more like three times a month. Though I don’t have hard data, I believe there is a correlation between regular church attendance and regular devotional times. One tends to help the other. When you stop attending church regularly, you’re more likely to stop reading your Bible and praying regularly.
Some in your church are already doing much more than this plan. They should be doing more. However, people must grow from where they are. The 5-2-1 plan is for people who are inconsistent with devotions or non-existent in church. If someone is not doing anything at all, it’s not reasonable to assume they can start praying an hour every day after reading Scripture for an hour. This plan is manageable and easy to remember. Everyone can read the Bible for five minutes each day. Everyone should be able to concentrate for two minutes in prayer. And gathering each week is how we worship God together. Give it a try.