LECLAIRE, Iowa—For the past few years, LeClaire Baptist Church has been holding Sunday night services that are somewhat less traditional. Continued Sermon Investigation (C.S.I.) digs deeper into the pastor’s morning message and helps members apply it to their lives.
On Sunday mornings, the congregation finds in their bulletins a flier listing questions that relate to the morning message. The questions are broken down into three sections: Getting Started, Searching the Bible, and Application. People are encouraged to take the questions home and go over them, either individually or as a family.
That night, everyone meets in the church’s Fellowship Hall at 6:00 for a casual gathering of C.S.I. Here is what the evening typically looks like, although Pastor Tim Moore says the times in the schedule vary. “Sometimes we end before 7:15; other times not.”
6:00–6:10. People arrive, pick up snacks from a snack table, and find a seat at one of the six round tables in the room. Attendees provide the snacks, and the church provides the drinks.
6:10–6:15. Moore gives announcements and opens in prayer.
6:15–6:25. Discussion begins with everyone going through the Getting Started section. This portion of the evening is brief and aims to just get people talking.
6:25–6:45. Each table works together on the Search the Bible section. People are encouraged to go through this section on their own before they arrive. Some do and some don’t, Moore says, “but either way, this is a good time of Bible study for the people around the table.”
6:45–7:15. Moore leads the entire room through everyone’s findings from the Searching the Bible section. He then wraps things up with the Application section.
C.S.I., Moore says, “has really become a beneficial time in our church and has gone over very well with our people! It allows me to mention things or go deeper in certain areas that I don’t have time for in the morning message. It’s also relatively easy to prepare for because it goes right along with my morning sermon prep. I love that it keeps the discussion going after I say ‘Amen’ on Sunday morning. It allows the people to investigate deeper; ask questions; or discuss further issues, topics, or ideas from the morning message.”
Moore provides a helpful example for churches wanting to follow a similar approach. On a recent Sunday, he preached a message from Matthew 28:16–20 called “Afraid to Go? Confronting the Fear of Sharing Your Faith.” These are the questions people discussed that evening:
- What are the circumstances and who were the people involved in your coming to Christ?
- Why were you willing to listen to them?
- What do you believe hinders believers from sharing their faith?
Searching the Bible
- Read 1 Peter 3:13–15. What insight do you see in this passage that applies to sharing your faith?
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:17–20. What is the believer’s role in this passage? What responsibility do we have in that role?
- Read 1 Corinthians 15:1–8. In verses 1–4 we’re given an explanation of the gospel. What is it? (Be specific.) What is the importance of verses 5–8?
- When you have the opportunity to lead someone to the Lord, how comfortable do you feel doing it? Do you know where to begin?
- How could you better prepare yourself to share the gospel with someone?
- Of the people that you come into contact with on a daily basis, how many of them need to hear the gospel? Will you go?