“As a pastor, you really desire that your people will learn to love, to read, to study, to memorize, and ultimately to live out Scripture in their lives. And one of the best ways you can do that is to have a recitation ministry in your church, where people are taking passages of Scripture and meditating on them, learning them, and, ultimately, then speaking them out to the rest of the congregation.”
Former General Secretary of the International Baptist Convention
Experienced leaders will prepare participants to deliver a recitation of Scripture.
Remember why you originally entered the ministry? Wasn’t it to reach people with the good news of salvation? To help people with their personal spiritual growth? To help them understand God’s plan in their lives? Scripture recitation revives the message and reminds you of your calling. It will refresh your heart and help to restore your zeal.
And the catalyst for this ministry won’t depend on you—a recitation ministry is meant to be led and coordinated by lay people. Pastors have the flexibility to choose their level of involvement from week to week, without a hard commitment to deliverables. You determine how recitation will work for you.
A recitation ministry develops the church community, promoting involvement for everybody and a mechanism for their contribution to worship services in a meaningful way, propelling and reinforcing your teaching. People that may not typically interact are put together with the worship team, technical team, and teaching team. They are seen and supported by the entire congregation as they recite and can serve in coaching and preparing others.
Group recitations are an especially good opportunity to bring culturally, generationally, and developmentally diverse people together into a shared project reciting Scripture.
There are multiple levels of involvement in a recitation ministry, and these create abundant opportunity for discipleship, spurring one another along to deeper understanding of Scripture and becoming more like Jesus in our attitudes and actions. The starting point is simply to be exposed to, and have an interest in, recitation. From that point, there are numerous ways that people can be involved in recitation, from beginners to participants to leaders and champions.
Often, the first reaction people have to Scripture recitation is about memorization of the text. But participants soon learn that recitation is more about understanding the text and performing intelligent research so they can accurately present the passage’s original intent. So much of what is communicated through a recitation depends on having a clear comprehension of the message.
This level of clarity about a passage raises the bar on Biblical knowledge and leads to a deeper, even visceral understanding of Scripture. When faced with communicating a passage out loud, every nuance of the text is put under the microscope, prompting curiosity and even debate in Biblical research. Discussions about original intent, context, and interpretation are commonplace and understanding Scripture at this level naturally supports evangelism.
Nothing stands in the way of your enjoying the benefits of Scripture recitation. Not tradition, people, money, tools, or time.
The practice of reciting Scripture is not new, it has its roots in the Jewish oral tradition by which the Torah and teachings were propagated across generations. It is not the new fad, nor a stranger to our heritage:
It does not require people who have a special talent, but is, in fact, intended to include everyone. It does not require a monetary investment for materials. The path is free; No purchase necessary, no strings attached. There is no special decoder ring that you need; You already have the contents in clear text.
It needs very little time to be effective in a worship service. At normal conversational pace, all of Isaiah 53 takes two and a half minutes to recite, all of 1 Corinthians 13 is under two minutes, and Psalm 23 is 45 seconds. Honestly, which worship service does not have time for a recitation of Scripture?
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