FGCC – Making Disciples: What do we teach and how?

NOTES FROM CONVERSATION 102509:

 

  1. THREE BIG QUESTIONS
    1. What do we need to teach?
    2. How?
    3. Who needs to be doing the teaching? – Right now we don’t have a formal process for vetting teachers (scripture talks about the need to examine the leaders, including elders, deacons, and teachers)

    * All this in the spirit of what is best for the church

 

  1. WHAT? – Concerns
    1. People seem to lack ‘drive’ for wanting to know God
    2. What are the parameters of teaching?
    3. Intentionality
    4. Sunday School Superintendent – old model from 1st half of 20th century
    5. “Doctrine of Christ” –What is it?
    6. Teach directly out of the Bible – Bible as a primary source
    7. Who will provide oversight to all this, and how?
    8. Content that supports adults’ ability to teach and converse with children and youth
    9. Teach content that brings about transformation
    10. Teach content that results in lives whose ‘works and words tell the same story’
    11. Need to look at balancing book studies and topical studies
    12. Current Issues:
      1. Should be (1) taught and (2) preached from the pulpit
      2. Do people know ‘right from wrong’?
      3. How do we motivate and help people to ‘go deeper’?
      4. How do people become moral beings?
      5. Which forces impact our thoughts and actions?
      6. There are times when the church needs to hear about a certain topic that is pressing and relevant to the congregation or community. How are these times and topics discerned?
      7. Doesn’t the Holy Spirit convict us of sin?
    13. Develop a statement of what we believe in addition to our ‘Disciples profession of faith’
    14. Study each piece of the ‘Core Theology’ – this will function as a creed in addition to ‘No Creed but Christ’

* What (if anything) do we want to add to the core belief profession of faith –

“I believe that Jesus is the Christ, Son of God, Savior and Lord.”

  1. HOW? –
    1. What do we teach when? Do some things belong only in particular settings? (KGC Insertion: Fred Craddock has a great sermon titled, “How loud should you preach?” He makes the point that Jesus did not say everything to the crowd, but some things were reserved for the core Apostles, and others for the THREE – Peter, James and John. Paul also talks about how some groups are ready to hear deeper theology than other groups.
    2. Are there times when we want to teach on a topic or theme throughout the church, in each of our teaching settings?
    3. PRESENT OFFERINGS:
      1. Preaching same sermon twice on Sunday
      2. 2 Sunday morning Adult classes on different topics
      3. Tuesday morning Men’s study on Sermon Text
      4. Wednesday night study on Deuteronomy
      5. Bi-Weekly study on James

      * Seems like the same people attend several of these – should we look to spread ourselves out more and be offering other things? Rather than just getting together with ourselves several times each week?

    4. The variety of times is good – do we have enough?
    5. Some teachers struggle with not having curriculum that they can pass along for a substitute to use when they are going to be out.
    6. Some classes like to have a book in their hands – raises questions about cost

 

 

GROUP AGREED THAT A TEAM OF FOLKS SHOULD WORK ON THESE QUESTIONS:

  • Volunteers were: Dena Leggett, Kim Rodenbaugh, Joan Tober, Rick Tober, Shirley Johannsen, Laura Crawford, Pastor Ken Crawford
  • Based upon the above outlined discussion, the group will convene shortly to address the following high points and then develop recommendations for further conversation & action:
  1. What
    1. Core Theology
    2. Gospel Priorities
    3. Topical Priorities
  2. How
    1. Curriculum
    2. Bible
    3. Time / Place / Format
  3. Who
    1. Orthodoxy
    2. Skill
    3. Moral Example

The purpose of the church is TO MAKE DISCIPLES

 

In order to do this, the church needs to be strategic regarding at least three questions:

  • What should we be teaching?
  • How should we be teaching it?
  • Who should be teaching it?

 

As a group, we want to help advance this conversation for the congregation and ensure that Forest Grove Christian Church is fulfilling the call that Christ gives us. We share a similar responsibility in our ministry with youth and children – however if we fail do make disciples of adults, we can never hope to be effective in raising our children and youth to be mature followers of Jesus Christ.

 

 
 

WHAT should we be teaching?

  • The content of the Bible
  • Understanding of orthodox Christian theology/doctrine
  • Application of scripture and theology to our lives and world – how to live in right relationship with God, ourselves, others and the world. HOW to live the great commandments – Love God with all your whole self, and your neighbor as yourself.

 

YES, but with what focus or set of priorities. For instance, many of us were ‘taught’ much information in our school years without being able now to remember, reflect upon, or use any of it. We need to do better in our teaching of the Christian Faith.

 

One way to think about this is using the Educational Idea of a ‘Scope and Sequence’ – what material are you going to cover, and in what order. For example, at the beginning of every year in math you spend some time reviewing the material from last year, refreshing (and sometimes reteaching) so that you can then build upon that knowledge. How is teaching Christian Faith like that? Over the course of each year, and over a 3 or six year cycle, what will we be sure to cover annually, biannually, etc.

 

 

HOW should we be teaching it?

    This includes teaching method, setting, learning styles, and various other elements.

 

Sermons:

We have 52 weeks per year, so we can say upto 52 distinct things each calendar year in a Sunday Sermon. What should be part of that every year? What themes/topics of the core faith should we present at least annually? Any that should be presented from the pulpit more often – perhaps bi-annually or quarterly?

 

Bible Study:

We currently have 4 weekly bible study opportunities for adults. How strategic should we be with some or all of those in our scope and sequence? Can we use some of these settings to teach additional topics or go deeper with those covered on Sunday morning (like we do at the Men’s Bible Study on Tuesdays) Randy is teaching @ 11am, and Joan and Rick are teaching @ 9:30am. Greg Leggett is teaching through Deuteronomy on Wednesdays at 6:30pm

 

Dena Leggett is teaching through James in a bi-monthly small group which includes a meal.

 

Training for Ministry:

We have 2 adults (Tish Franz & Terri McDonald) actively participating in our NTA Licensed Ministry Training, going deeper in Spiritual Formation, Theological Reflection and Ministry Development. Gary Rodenbaugh is reading along in the texts.

 

We have 1 person (Tyler Lopez) completing an undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies and Ministry.

 

We have 1 person (Shirley Johannsen) studying in her seminary for an Master of Divinity degree

 

Community Opportunities:

Other opportunities outside FGCC currently exist for education and training: Community Bible Studies, Stephen Ministry Training, Stalcup School of Theology for the Laity, NTA Leader Event, etc.

 

These settings primarily use a combination of lecture, reading, and discussion. What other learning modes could we include to help people grow further? One author has this to say: …teaching and learning are not the same thing. There can be much teaching, good teaching, and yet absolutely no learning at all….Learning happens by mentoring, modeling, hands-on experience and reflection on the experience. (Shawchuck, Heuser. 178)

Our responsibility is to ensure that both teaching and learning are happening at Forest Grove, otherwise we are not making disciples, but merely spreading around some information.

 

WHO should be teaching, and how will they be equipped & supported?

What qualifications do we want our teachers to have? How will we determine that teachers have an adequate level of biblical knowledge and teaching skill before they begin teaching? How will we intentionally move people toward being equipped to teach. What training do we need to provide, or help people to access?

 

We have three seminary graduates – Wally Moseley, Dena Leggett, and myself.

We have one seminary student – Shirley Johannsen.

 

We may have people who have completed other courses of training – who are they and what was the training?

 

About Jesus the Gospel writers say repeatedly, “…He began to teach…”

 

Paul has several things to say about teachers. Among them are:

1 Corinthians 12: 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

Ephesians 4:11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

1 Timothy 1: 5 But the aim of such instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith. 6 Some people have deviated from these and turned to meaningless talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions.

1 Timothy 2:12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

1 Timothy 4: 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron. 3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.

6 If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness, 8 for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 11 These are the things you must insist on and teach. 12 Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 15 Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

AND James says: 3: 1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

Paul and others also has several things to say about learners:

1 Corinthians 3: 1 And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations?

2 Timothy 4: 3 For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.

Colossians 3: 12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Corinthians 11: 1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

2Th 3:7 – For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you,

2Th 3:9 – This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate.

Heb 13:7 – Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

3Jo 1:11 – Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.

AND Hebrews says: 5: 11 About this we have much to say that is hard to explain, since you have become dull in understanding. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; 13 for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

 

Ephesians 4:
14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s