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Still, it only takes me about four hours per class, which is two late night waiting-to-feed-Rohan sessions (assuming he behaves), so I should be able to keep up.
The real problem is that my lesson topics have gone in a completely different direction that originally envisioned. More, my pastor has a slightly different vision for how things should fit together. Given the time timeframes, it is essential we get on the same page (and stick to it, if possible).
Here’s my current vision for what is now being called “Theological Foundations”. Hopefully my pastor and I can converge on this syllabus soon (once he’s no longer busy with his new grandson 🙂
[Updated and ratified 8/19 with John Isaacs]
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?
The format I’m proposing for LEAD! is what I’m calling a “Transformational Small Group Bible Study”. This builds on my many years in InterVarsity Small Groups during eleven years of college, as well as numerous “home groups” in churches since then. The key aspects are:
• Bible Study
History and philosophy have their place, but for sheer impact nothing beats digging directly into the Word of God. The primary method of teaching is working inductively through a specific passage of Scripture, with additional resources acting as supplements. In addition to implicitly teaching good study skills, this also opens the door for the Holy Spirit to provide insights beyond the wisdom of the original author (i.e., me :-).
• Small Group
The best way to learn is in a small, focused team of 6-8 people (or, more broadly, 3-12). This provides both a sounding board for digesting information as well as accountability and encouragement for living it out.
The ultimate goal of the group is not so much to acquire information, but to be personally and corporately transformed — by and while transforming the world around us.
Below is a suggested format for achieving that…
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?
Even though I haven’t posted for a while, I’ve been thinking a lot about Comprehensive Theological Education. In particular, I’ve been trying to identify the key “success factors” necessary to improve upon traditional methods. Here’s my current list. Any thing you’d like to add, Gentle Reader?