A. W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” This powerful statement helps us understand the Christocentric nature of our faith: it’s not about us, it’s all about Him. Additionally, this statement reveals the necessity for a proper biblical understanding of God. Think about it. What if what comes into our minds when we think about God isn’t biblical? What if there are people in our churches that have a skewed understanding of who God is?
A recent survey conducted by Lifeway Research found that over 70% of Americans believe it is possible to personally know God, not just know about Him. Additionally, 60% claimed to know Him well or very well. While this is great news, it also presents a great challenge. They believe in God, but what do they believe about Him?
To further complicate the matter, Dr. Freddy Cardoza, a professor at Biola University, wrote recently in a small group study on the attributes of God that, “We could spend a lifetime studying the character and attributes of God revealed in the Bible and still only begin to scratch the surface of understanding the sovereign God of all creation.” The truth is we can never learn everything there is to know about God. So what can we do to ensure we are leading our people toward a biblical understanding of God?
These are three things we can do to help our people develop a biblical view of God:
1. We cannot assume.
It can be easy to think that most people have a basic understanding of God, especially if they attend church. We must never take this for granted. Practically, we should:
- Ensure we teach the basics in our New Member classes. Cover God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Use a doctrinal statement of belief, such as the Baptist Faith and Message, to help anchor your church’s core values in Scripture.
- Post what we believe about God in an easy-to-find place on our church’s website.
- Make sure the language in our teaching is clear and in-depth, as needed, when discussing God’s attributes.
2. We must be in intentional in our discipleship.
Our people will undoubtedly learn a lot of things through the spiritual formation processes of the church, and we must make sure Christ is the main thing. If we need to remove something in order to make room, then that step needs to be taken. Consider the following when it comes to discipling your people:
- Have the whole congregation study the core attributes of God at least once every year in Sunday School or small groups.
- Regularly offer a short-term study that covers the core attributes of God (Like Dr. Cardoza’s six-week series, Beyond Belief).
- Ensure that teaching about God starts in our kids ministry and continues through all age-graded ministries. We must build on these fundamental truths as our people grow.
3. We must show our people how understanding God’s character impacts their life every day.
For some, understanding God doesn’t seem to connect with day-to-day life. We must help our people see that our identity is found in Him, and our purpose in life can only be fully realized when we are empowered by Christ to accomplish His will.
When it comes to understanding God, there are challenges we will face as pastors. But when our people really understand who God is, it will shape every aspect of their lives. Let us pray and embrace the words of Peter, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18).
 The online survey of adult Americans was conducted March 12-13, 2014. The completed sample is 1,027 online surveys. The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error from this panel does not exceed +3.1%