Bringing Heaven to Earth. One Cross at a Time.
[Update: see my background thinking in Draft 2]
Christianity Beyond is a movement of ordinary people who are learning how to make the same kind of extraordinary impact as the Jesus they love. We honor all the ways people have sought to follow Jesus in the past and present, but dare to go beyond that in order to demonstrate to a watching world just how good and worthy Jesus is.
Teach us how to leave each other the way you love us.
Make us more like Jesus as we let go of what we want.
Help us hear your voice and obey you
so we can enjoy your abundant life.
We ask this in Jesus name.
A Vision in Many Pieces
June 8th, 2001
“God, its too big for me to carry!”
“I know, my son.”
We sat at the bottom of my heart, facing the dark, concrete-like slab which was my need for love, my desire for human intimacy to the fill the void in my life and give me meaning. We had been doing some Spring Cleaning of my soul. It had been a while since I’d talked with God, and when I finally got around to it again I was surprised to discover lots of worries and fears weighing me down. The stuff on top was relatively easy – I handed over issues at work, my marriage, relations with family. But then we got down to things which had been undisturbed for years, maybe decades, and I realized I couldn’t move these myself.
“Will you carry it out?”
“Of course, but I will not do it alone. You must be a part of the process. It is yours, after all”
[NOTE: the official syllabus is now on the “Lead” page; this post is obsolete, but kept for the sake of historical continuity].
[Yes, I should probably have written this before the first lesson, but better late than never…]
In thinking about it, I ought to take my Curriculum one step further, and actually identify the passages and key learnings for each lesson. Not only will this help ensure I’m on the same page as my pastor, but it would enable others to write some of the lessons (since class starts on September 4th!).
I’ve also cross-referenced these lessons against two common systematic theology books:
In addition to providing a sort index to the topics covered, this allows students and teachers to use those as supplementary textbooks.
- Draft 1 – Sunday, 24th August
- Draft 2 – Tuesday, 26th August: Added “Doctrine” “Essentials” chapters for each lesson
- Draft 3 – Friday, 29th August: Added “Doctrines” chapters for each lesson
So, the good news is that our church is gearing up to start LEAD! on September 4th, and already taking applications! That’s also the bad news, since I’ve only finished three classes. 😦
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 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 part of my journey to rethink leadership training, I wanted to summarize the goals and constraints of such a process. Here’s a first cut…
[Reposting an essay by my cousin, at his request. — Ernie P.]
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?
[Updated March 9th to use “over”, based on Andrew’s comments on Pressing In]