A Learning Church
There is a necessity of intentional church education. Because we are committed to equipping the entire body and because learning is one our core values, we will evaluate our current Sunday School classes to assess the benefit they provide to the body, will propose core and elective classes that will be taught on a rotating basis, and will promote Sunday School at 9:30 Sunday morning as the main learning time of the church in 2013.
The point is not to create goals that exclude other areas, but that gives emphasis to one of these areas. Learning is what we need to know and believe that will move our heart to respond in genuine, joyful praise to God. What we need to know and believe that will move our hearts to love our brothers and sisters as God has loved us. Learning is like going to that armory to equip ourselves for these other situations. As we learn about God broadly in topics and perhaps deeply in targeted areas we will know and believe in ways that will equip us to grasp sermon truths toward worship, life truths towards loving, and even fascinating, awe inspiring truths we must share with others who do not know our great God.
Learning is related and foundational equipping for everything else we are doing.
Our passages to consider are:
Acts 2:42 – devoted themselves to the apostles teaching – attitude. They were devoted to a necessary reason for doing something.
Acts 20:26 – This speaks towards responsibility and scope.
Matthew 28:19-20 – This speaks to the purpose and scope. Going and making disciples. We are to be baptizing them into the body and teaching them to observe all that God has commanded.
In relation to learning, what is the Role of Pulpit Ministry?
Preaching times mainly feeding and worship – repent, believe, exalt in Jesus. The end of exposition is exaltation. Both have equipping and worshiping, but each is weighted toward one of these slightly differently. The process is selective. The pulpit ministry is a key element in learning, but is insufficient by itself.
Scope – What have we learned over the past 4 years?
Purpose – Equip, widely, deeply.
Structure – questions, interaction, follow-up.
Marriage – we’ve touched on it. Our hearts are turned and then we want more information to be equipped. We’d love to ask some follow up questions.
We have a noble history to set out to teach and learn the Bible. Yet we overburdened this structure. Over time we moved many of the worship and loving elements into the Sunday School gathering. It included teaching, caring, evangelizing, offerings, singing, and prayer times. There is much to be done in church life, but we end up not meeting these expectations if we fail to be intentional and plan out what gatherings are for what purpose.
If we do not take up the task to teach in a systematic, intentional way, it leaves major gaps because the pulpit cannot do all of that. Therefore a concerted effort elsewhere must be initiated if we are going to fill these teaching gaps to equip our people.
Equip them for life and ministry.
Equip them for special and challenging times.
Equip them to understand and receive more pulpit ministry toward exaltation, to understand and receive more toward greater acts of grace and love toward one another in love, and to understand and receive more toward the evangelization of their community and world.
Could there be division in our church because we’ve left everybody to their doctrinal background to process statements made rather than lead our body at HP as to what the Bible does indeed teach, what is does not, or to what extent.
Where do we get an overview of the New Testament or the Old Testament?
Where do we learn our doctrines?
What do we believe about the Holy Spirit and his work? Why?
Are we just supposed to piece it together as we go?
Are we assuming we all went to a Christian college and took doctrines and furthermore suggesting we remember everything we learned.
Where do young believers go to better understand their salvation, baptism, church life, service, or spiritual disciplines?
Where do we learn to interpret and study the Bible for ourselves rather than think it is some magic skill or hidden secret known only to a few pastors and teachers who have a mysterious gift or an immense amount of education?
Where do we learn the very how-tos of the Christian life?
When are marriage issues, child rearing, money handling, evangelizing, and apologetics to be taught from the pulpit in a timely, systematic, and comprehensive way?
This is not to say the pulpit is diminished, but it is not sufficient to accomplish this. Your pastors have oversight (1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:7, 17) and will give account for that. You will not stand before God. Deacons you do not stand before God, pastors do.
These groups have been a blessing and help to our body over the years. But we still lack intentionality. We tended toward age graded, rather than intentional equipping. We have saddled teachers to come up with their topics, their scope and sequence. In and of itself, not bad, but apart from pastoral oversight and direction it tends to move from health.
An unguided and unsupervised ministry structure – not misguided. No oversight. That is your shepherds’ fault. We should have been giving more guidance all along the way. Instead it tends look a little like the book of judges. Who is teaching what? Why are they teaching it? What is their goal? How does that fit in with the overall goals of HP? How is the teacher accountable? Is what is being taught reflective of the church’s doctrinal statement and the teaching ministry of the shepherds?
What would it look like? It would have an allotted time slot. It would have core classes (OT/NT Surveys, Bible Doctrines, Church History, Christian Marriage, Family, Bible study/interpretation, Worldview, Church life, Evangelism, Discipleship) and a changing rotation of elective classes (Men’s needs, Women’s needs, Theology of work, Deaconing, TIM).