What we do in church services doesn’t matter if it doesn’t change our lives and the lives of others. Biblical illiteracy is on the rise, and will continue to be until we make discipleship part of our life.
Most of us don’t have mentors, and when we do, they aren’t spiritual mentors—they’re business mentors. We rarely think about being discipled in the ways of Christ.
When we think of education, we think of universities and colleges. Biblical education, outside of Christian schools, isn’t even part of our thought process, and that’s a tragedy. We spend thousands of dollars paying for higher education, but how much do we spend on biblical education? When I think of it in those terms, I’m terrified about our future.
Paul lists teachers as the third spiritual office in 1 Corinthians 12:27–31. In light of this passage, we’ve already discussed that:
But none of this matters, if we don’t do something about the discipleship problem. We desperately need good, interesting education in our churches today. And this needs to be a church-wide movement—something that is part of our church services. It can’t just be something we do on the side.
We banish teachers to Sunday school rooms, and Christian school classrooms. We’ve taken the people who are meant to help us be disciples of Christ, and made studying under them unappealing. We’ve reserved discipleship for those who are willing to stick around for an extra hour.
Given, there are sermons in church services, but how much can you really learn from being lectured at? You need interaction. You need to question.
Church would be a whole lot more interesting if we regularly had different speakers, and had question-and-answer sessions. It would also make teachers feel welcome again. We would suddenly find our third spiritual office happily filled. Most Sunday school teachers and small group leaders I know practically beg for promotion. They only get the people in their classrooms and small groups who are desperate for discipleship. Everyone else just ignores them.
We’ve tried to fix this problem with small groups, but our small groups are not usually run by people with the gift of teaching. Small groups are usually run by people with the gift of helping, commonly called hospitality. Thus, with no spiritual leader in place, most of our small groups become group therapy sessions, or conversations about our feelings about God and the Bible—not discussions about what the biblical writers actually meant.
Why not have the person with the gift of helping open their home, be just the person who opens their home? And then have the person called to teach, be the person who teaches? You don’t need one person to start a small group, you need two.
I’m tired of watching people with the gift of teaching be banished. Let’s do something about it. Let’s empower them. Let’s invest in them, and consequently invest in the future of Christianity and the world.
What can we do about this problem? What are your ideas?