The LEAD! Bible Study is a tripod, built on three legs:
- theological education
- character formation
- skill development
While these roughly correspond to three 12-week “trimesters”, the larger goal is to incorporate all three aspects in each and every segment. The question thus becomes, what is the most effective way to integrate theological truth into the lives of lay leaders?
It has been said that knowledge is a hierarchy, but understanding is a network. This is why most seminary-inspired training courses focus on systematic theology, as that provides a comprehensive set of categories for organizing a broad range of doctrinal knowledge.
For lay leaders, though, I believe it is far more important to create understanding rather than merely transmit knowledge. That is, we want to give people practical tools that can guide them in their day-to-day ministry, not (simply) a formal system of theoretical concepts.
Specifically, we want to help them view the people, problems, and programs they are responsible for the way God does. I call this “thinking theologically”, which I sometimes parse as “theo-logically”. That is, the goal is not so much to “study God” (as in traditional theology) but to cultivate a “God-logic” for looking at the world around us.
This leads to what might be called a “purpose-driven theology”, where we organize theological concepts according to our objectives. The challenge is making sure that we are following God’s objectives, not merely our own. Which brings us to the topic of our first lesson…