If you preach, no matter how small the congregation is (expect the whole two or three tally) then you know this to be true: the entire congregation rarely comes together as a whole to worship or study the word of God together. There are numerous reasons for this, but regardless of the reason the result is the same when it comes to matters of attendance. This situation can be frustrating to a preacher who seeks to preach the whole counsel of God to the whole congregation. At times, entire series that deal with a spiritual issue (perhaps for first or last time in a certain time period due to context) are missed. There is the option of recording the lesson, or even doing a personal Bible study with the individuals who missed the lessons, but even these options come short due to the fact that there is something about a congregation that considers a topic together at the same time…which, again, can be a difficult thing to accomplish.
So what can be done in such situations? I believe that I have an idea that I’m going to try, and I’m looking for some suggestions in connection to that idea. One solution, to me, is to write the same letter that every individual member of the congregation will receive, regardless of age or marital status or even attendance habit, in order to do some personal examination. The intent of the letter isn’t for it to be filled out and then turned back in, but rather for it to be read so that the individual can personally consider the question(s) in such a way that their answer cannot be ignored regardless of how they respond to it. Then after a pre-scheduled period of time, a series of lessons from the scriptures that discuss the topics that were personally considered in the letter would follow.
The reason I’m putting this idea in “post” form here in TFR is because I’m looking for ideas. It’s not that I’m failing to come up with questions, after nine years of preaching I have plenty. Like I said before, I’m just looking for ideas. My experience in the church, and in the study of God’s word, has shown me that the perspective of others matter. So with that being said, whether you serve the church as an elder, a deacon, a preacher, a Bible class teacher, a congregational “Barnabas”, a card-sender, a head-counter, or through whatever other function you can think of, what are some questions that you believe would be good for an individual to personally consider and answer in letter form when it comes to the topic of a personal spiritual examination? Any suggestions?