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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
The great football coach, Weeb Eubank, had a tradition at the beginning of every season. He would take all the new and seasoned players, sit them down, and then begin his lecture. He would take a football, stick it in their faces, and say to them, “Gentlemen, this is a football! Get to know it all over again.” He would go on to explain that unless they remembered the basics of the game of football, they could not win.
The same is true of the church. Unless we keep going back to the basics of who we are and what we believe, we will not continue to grow in the truth, for the truth starts with the basics.
Understanding the different generations is a part of understanding our world. You cannot read a book like Soul Searching (Christian Smith) or After the Baby Boomers (Wuthnow) and conclude that we can ignore what they are saying. Wuthnow explains what is happening as we experience in America an estimated six million less churchgoers today than in the past
Time is the most precious commodity God has given to us, and it is not renewable! Once it is gone you can never make up for lost time. No one has more, or less, time than you do. You have 1440 minutes per day and 168 hours each week in which to offer faithful service. Even Jesus had the same amount of hours in His day, but think about the ways He invested that time. Peter said to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18).
To answer this question we need to go back and define what parts of the church involve Christian Education. The answer: everything the church does is Christian Education! Unless we clearly understand this principle true discipleship will not happen. With this understanding we can begin to comprehend what Paul meant when he said the job of the pastor (and note he really says pastor/teacher) is NOT to do the work of the ministry, but to EQUIP the members of his church to do it.
The question we are often asked in a variety of ways has to do with the role and function of leaders in the body of Christ, the church, and more broadly, in the kingdom. The question usually asked is, “Who are leaders and what are their performance expectations?”