28 | D.C. Small Group: Finding Common Ground in Scripture Memorization

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Every August when they reconvene after a break, members of the DC small group share their personal goals for the year. Think of it as Small Group Resolutions. But like all resolutions, these goals have to be specific to have staying power.  Last year, Scott and Stefanie Muchow challenged the group to think beyond well-intentioned but vague ambitions—“I want to pray more”—and think practically about how they could accomplish their goals—“I’ll wake up half an hour earlier every day to make time for prayer.”

With the addition of a few new members, the group ran the gamut from folks who grew up in AWANA to others who were saved as adults. Despite their differences, the group quickly found common ground when one person said they wanted to memorize more scripture, and everyone else nodded along—it was a mutual struggle. They found themselves both humbled and galvanized by Psalm 119:11, in which the psalmist hides God’s word in his heart so he won’t sin against Him.

At first, folks picked their own verses to memorize, but on their own, each person tended to skew toward either the Old or New Testament, and they also craved greater accountability. So it morphed into a group effort, with a Google spreadsheet of scripture that each person could contribute to as they were inspired. Michelle Kim keeps the group on track, picking alternating Old and New Testament verses from the spreadsheet to memorize together twice a month.

Isaiah 55:11 says, “[My word] will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Not only has the group strengthened its discipline, but they’ve sharpened each other’s theology. Even during social time, they find themselves brought back to the word, like fleshing out the meaning of Hebrews 12:11—a tough verse about the pain and peace of discipline—over snacks. Their corporate study of the Bible is more fruitful than ever, and in their day-to-day lives, God’s wisdom comes easily to their minds, even during difficult and trying times.

And the group—diverse in age, ethnicity, and experience—has bonded over their united goal. They’ve even discovered a friendly competitive streak and recently created a sticker chart to track each person’s progress.

As trivial as a sticker chart is, it’s part of a greater celebration of the promise of the psalmist—that God’s word in your heart will keep you from sin. And that’s a promise that will echo well beyond this year and bear fruit throughout the rest of their lives.