Read my classmate post. Think and write your thoughts and feelings about his post. (1 page)
While growing up in the church, I have frequently heard, pondered, and debated the best way to teach the gospel. Even more important, what is the best way to learn the gospel. I have to admit that my opinion has swayed significantly throughout my life. As a young teenager, you would surely have heard me state that the best way forward was through entertainment and amusement. Technology is the key that would have slipped through my lips multiple times during our conversation.
As I matured and gained experience, I began to recognize a simple truth. This truth was mingled in the conversations that I had with older pastors and leaders. What surprised me is the fact that this truth was not made central to our discussions and training. Instead, it was treated as one of the many steps that must be checked off in the education program. However, as time went by, that changed.
I do not know if it actually changed or if my focus and mindset changed. Nevertheless, the truth that the Holy Ghost’s power is central to teaching became loud and clear. I recognized that boring teachers, loud teachers, eloquent teachers, and even sophisticated teachers would all fail or succeed based on this fact. This truth gave me both confidence and fear. Confidence, because even a boring teacher could move people to take action in their life. Fear, because if I failed to create the Holy Ghost’s environment to teach, then I was doomed to fail. But, it became clear that “the truth of God’s plan for the spiritual formation of disciples— justification (conversion, regeneration), sanctification (discipleship, being equipped), and final glorification” is possible!
As I look back at the hesitancy of making the spirit central to teaching, I see that the book does a perfect job explaining the two camps of thought. First, “Educare emphasizes the preservation of knowledge and the shaping of the next generation in the image of their parents.” The second camp is “Educere,” which “emphasizes the preparation of a new generation for the changes that are to come, equipping them for the solving of problems yet unknown.” When these two camps are at odds with each other, the central message can be lost. However, when properly balanced and founded on the truth, then a robust education can be offered.
That is why I like Disciplers’ Model. The model clarifies the areas of concern and makes it easier to design a plan around. The model begins with the circle around the entire program. The circle represents the Holy Spirit as the teacher. This emphasizes the truth mentioned above that “[t]he more we imitate His methods and manners, and the more we allow Him to teach through us, the more effective we will be in facilitating spiritual growth.”
Next, the building sets on two foundation stones of “Bible (eternal truth) and needs of learners (present needs).” These both seem like they would be obvious. However, teachers can be caught up in offering popular fluff rather than meat. When I was younger, I focused on being like a teacher more than teaching foundational truth. Likewise, the second foundation stone ensures that the needs of the student are the focus. Not my need to be like, but they need to learn the truth. The book describes this process as “focuses on the general needs of all learners and the process of discipling, detail specific needs of preschoolers, children, youth, and adults, as well as suggested methods for helping learners in these age groupings grow spiritually.”
Standing on the foundation are the three pillars of “Think, Relate, and Value.” These pillars define the process of spiritual growth. The left pillar is Think, and it stands above the Bible foundation. This represents the need to learn biblical principles.
The value pillar stands over the needs of the learner foundation block. As the learner increases in knowledge, they need to value the word of God. They need to recognize the relevance the word has in their life. Finally, the central pillar is one of relation. The church is a vital community for those who believe. God gave us the structure of the church to succor us and assist us in our journey. No one can “grow alone.” Instead, we need each other in this journey we call life.
The final section of the model is the capstone of Growth. It should be the goal that each of our students grows beyond personal perceptions. This is done by guiding students to ask questions and pondering on the words of God. Not only that, but they must also be encouraged to act on their answers.
The Holy Spirit is central to our teaching and learning. Excellent teaching is made when we encompass our education program with the Holy Spirit, build it on a solid foundation, teach the truth, focus on their needs, and inspire others to think beyond themselves.