During my current interim pastorate, I’ve challenged the church to memorize Scripture together. It has been such a fun experience that I wish I had done that during my 14 years of full-time pastoral ministry. Now more than ever, I see value in this approach to corporate memorization:
- It illustrates the church’s commitment to the Word. If I attend your church one time, how much would I think the Word of God matters to your congregation? Corporately memorizing and reciting the Word sends the right signal to other worshipers.
- It’s part of the work of the church. One task of the church is to provoke each other to do good works (Heb. 10:24), and helping one another to know the Word is one of those good works.
- It promotes unity in the church. There’s just something about reciting the Bible together that fosters oneness in the body. When the Word is quoted from the pulpit to the pew, it’s powerful.
- It builds corporate accountability into the church. Sure, it’s easy to hide in the crowd, but it’s tough to hide completely if everyone else is quoting a verse. The crowd might, in fact, be an encouragement to learn the verse.
- It provides support for those who struggle memorizing. Some folks really struggle with memorization, but it might be easier if everyone in the church is doing it.
- It gives guidance in memorization. You don’t have to figure out what verse to memorize if the church is already determining it for you. You just need to get on board.
- It’s a witness to non-believing worshipers. They need to hear the Word, and they can hear it from the entire congregation in this way.
- It pushes church leaders to memorize the Word. We might hope all leaders are already memorizing the Word, but that’s not often the case. This approach helps them to get started without putting them on the spot.
- It teaches next generations to memorize the Word. As little ones learn to read, they’ll often enjoy memorizing scripture more than adults do. They’ll put the rest of us to shame in their passion.
- It causes the enemy to tremble. We know that the devil fled when Jesus quoted the Word (Matt. 4:1-11). The Word from the lips of godly men and women has power the enemy can’t overcome.
- Technology makes it easier to do these days. With all the options available to keep the Word in front of us these days, we have no excuses not to memorize it together.
Give this some thought, church leader. Maybe you want to start by leading your small group to memorize the Word together. Then, broaden the participants to the entire congregation. You won’t regret it.