TELL: Theological Essentials for Lay Leaders


As a counterpart (or even prequel) to my previous article about “safety skills“, I wanted to identify those theological topics essential for lay leaders to understand. In particular, I believe lay leaders need a more concise and practical “boot camp”, in contrast to the multi-year “officer’s training school” provided in seminaries.

Another difference in focus is that I believe (along with the writer of Proverbs) that the goal of theological education is wisdom, not mere knowledge. That is, the goal is to cover a small number of essential issue in sufficient depth to enable people to make more godly decisions — not simply provide an intellectual overview of traditional topics.

Given all that, here is my best attempt at a minimal 12-week course that covers the heart issues of contemporary theology. What are your thoughts and suggestions?

  1. The Essence of Divinity: Who exactly is God?
  2. The Kingdom of God: What is God’s overall purpose for creation, and for us?
  3. The Depravity of Man: Why aren’t we fulfilling that purpose?
  4. The Fear of the Lord: Where does God’s sovereignty come in?
  5. The Sufficiency of Christ: What difference does Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection make?
  6. The Necessity of Repentance: How do we appropriate that?
  7. The Working of the Spirit: What resources does God provide to help us?
  8. The Authority of Scripture: Why must we trust it?
  9. The Offices of the Church: To whom must we submit? For what?
  10. The Unity of the Body: How can we get along? To what end?
  11. The Redemption of Creation: What in the world is God doing?
  12. The End of History: Where we are ultimately going.

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