As you consider the year ahead, you are likely considering the resolutions or changes that you would like to make. What’s going to be different about this year?

For many of us in the church we desire to be more missional in our lives. By missional I mean that we’d like to extend the gospel of Jesus Christ in word through evangelism and in deed through mercy and justice.

The desire is necessary so that it does not become a duty, but the question immediately turns to how. How do you make this year more missional than last year?

I’d like to suggest that there is one thing that is more important than any other in becoming more missional.

It’s my “How To Be Missional This Year” e-book!!! Just kidding…

It’s a bible reading plan.

A Bible Reading Plan? Really?

Yes, really and here’s why.

The missional conversation is filled with books and you could read them all (I suggest you don’t). You will likely get a few good ideas from each book, but then you will be left looking for the next book or curriculum for the next idea on being missional. These are helpful additions but they have become the missional food we eat instead of the dessert.

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What those inside and outside of our church community need is to connect with God, to meet Jesus and interact with who He is and how He seeks to love them. The missional books and curriculums give us ideas of how to do it, but we have access to something greater than missional books and curriculums.

We have access to God through His Word and prayer, access to a communion with God and this communion uniquely makes us missional. God invites us to let the scriptures renew our minds, let our hearts connect with God and conform us into the image of Christ.

I’ve tended to shy away from bible reading plans in the past because I often fear legalism and fear that feeling of failure when I miss a day or three in a row. But this feeling and legalism reveal the wrong motivation of the heart more than dismiss a value on a plan for bible reading.

A gospel-centeredness must now mark our scripture reading, to see the redemptive plan of God and the character and beauty of Christ so we can learn to enjoy Christ. As we enjoy and love God, we begin to live like Him, which is the essence of being on mission for Him.

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Where do I start?

There are plenty of bible reading plans out there, but I would recommend checking with your church or pastor to see if there is a church-wide bible reading plan. It’s an amazing way to join your community in seeking God through His Word. (If you’re a church or pastor looking for a plan, here’s what we do at Apostles Church.)

Additionally, The Gospel Coalition has a great article about 5 steps toward understanding each book of the bible. Great read for you as you explore this further.

As you pursue a bible reading plan, here are 5 recommendations for you:

1. Choose any plan. Commit to a single plan and follow it as best you can.

2. Find a regular time. The best thing you can do is make this a regular rhythm of your life and a normal part of your day. The more abnormal it is, the harder it will be to keep with it.

3. If you miss a day…don’t give up. Just move on to the current day. Let the gospel give you freedom from guilt and allow you to move forward in the plan.

4. Journal or document your reading. You remember what you write down more than simply reading it. A simple acronym to help you is R.E.A.P. Read, Examine, Apply, Pray. Besides, if you didn’t Instagram your quiet time, did it actually happen?!?

5. Lastly, pray your reading. Look for ways to adore God, confess sin, and ask for His work in your life.

Our aim is to enjoy God so that we become like Him. When we are like Him, we can trust that we will be as missional as He is.

Share this: 5 Recommendations to make your bible reading plan missional. @logangentry @VergeNetwork