Nothing will ever take the place of one-on-one discipleship, and this article will not attempt to prove otherwise. Right now, I want you to just dream about what lies ahead for training in the future, the near future.
From the beginning, the PCA has had things that have made it special; and I have had hopes that our denomination would set the tone for others to follow: It has been my positive experience to see the PCA grow from its small roots in mainly the southeastern part of the country to a church that has spread all over North America… The PCA has not only had unity of commitment to the Sovereign Lord, His Word, and His church, reflected by a common confessional commitment, but it has had diversity within that framework.
In Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin says, “Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.” It has also been said this way, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Both statements express great truth. Unfortunately, the church has a great reputation for not planning. Instead we live on activity and hope it is accomplishing something. Remember the last seven words of a church? “We’ve always done it that way before!”
The 36th General Assembly, after many hours of committee and floor debate, answered Overture 9 in the negative, declining to establish a study committee. This action was taken in spite of a minority report that attempted to persuade the assembly to answer in the affirmative. As the coordinator of Christian Education and Publications, under whose oversight the Women in the Church is positioned in the PCA, a number of people have asked my opinion on the issue.
In liberation theology, God is seen as the God of the oppressed – and therefore against the oppressors and their false god. Jesus is found in the movement for liberation and freedom. Jesus came as a liberator, and he identifies with those mobilized for liberation.
Given the overwhelmingly negative statistics concerning young adults and church involvement, I am willing to go out on a limb here and suggest that engaging teenagers in the life of your congregation is one of the more important things you can do in your student ministry. Stepping a little further out on the limb, let me also suggest that though the application of the Great Commission must be contextualized, the call to make disciples is equally as valid for the teenagers in your congregation as it is for the adults who inhabit your pews.
In this particular article, I want to focus your attention on the theme expressed in the title above; the church as a believing community learning to live in communion. As our Westminster Confession of Faith says in 26-1, “All saints that are united to Jesus Christ their head by his Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory: and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces.”
What does this have to do with the church today? There is a big emphasis currently on “intergenerational worship,” but what does that mean? What place do children have in worship, other than feeling like ignored spectators? Communion can be one of those important times when a child can be made to feel a part of the service while being taught what it is all about.
I am being asked more and more what the term “missional church” means. Does it mean what we have generally thought regarding missionaries leaving and going to other parts of the world to evangelize and church plant? Often those questions have been asked in relation to discussion on the negative and narrowing impact of much of the modern church growth philosophy, especially as it relates to the church and the kingdom.
In the last Equip Tip, we emphasized the need of the church’s educational ministries to remember and return to the basics. Now, we address what those basics are. The goal of all our ministries is to make kingdom disciples. But what does that mean? A full-grown kingdom disciple would have two main characteristics. He would look, act, and think like Jesus and would be actively helping others become kingdom disciples.