Discipleship

Discipleship

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

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Gary Pollard

We are supposed to be disciples. Discipleship is a mark of a healthy church. If we want to be true disciples, we must simply love God and we’ll know what it means to be disciples. Be a disciple. Discipleship is good. 

You’ve heard these statements before. They go along the same lines as, “We need to love God,” or, “We need to be godly,” or, “We need to be good Christians.” These are all true statements, but – at best – are greatly impractical and – at worst – are greatly discouraging. Ambiguous statements with no specific instruction will never accomplish anything. 

So, what is a disciple? The word used in the New Testament is μαθητής (mathetes). It describes someone who “engages in learning through instruction from another” and “who is rather constantly associated with someone who has a pedagogical reputation or particular set of views” (BDAG 609). 

A disciple is someone who passionately pursues something or someone in a specific subject field. A passing interest in pulmonology does not make one a pulmonologist. We know this. A passing interest in Christianity does not make one a Christian. 

If we’re there every time the doors are open but our Bible knowledge is lacking, we are not disciples. If we claim the title “Christian” but the foundation of our faith is a political viewpoint, we are not disciples. 

A disciple passionately studies. A disciple is an exegete. Disciples passionately incorporate and live out the teachings of scripture, which they get from their study. If we are as enthusiastic about our faith as we are about our hobbies, we are disciples. If we want to be called disciples, we must also be considered dedicated students of the word and of the One. 

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PRACTICAL TIPS FOR TEACHING

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR TEACHING

Neal Pollard

 

  • Take the time at the beginning of class to break the ice, exude warmth, and build rapport.
  • Make sure you have done due diligence, entering the classroom with ample preparation.
  • Strike the balance of being “open” and “approachable” as a teacher without putting out the vibe of vulnerability or uneasiness.
  • Guide the direction of the class rather than letting the class direct you.
  • Always ask questions that are meaningful and not those that are either fillers or those that insult the student’s intelligence.
  • Avoid embarrassing or putting the student on the spot, as you cannot know the frame of mind or circumstances that may be weighing on him or her in that moment.
  • Never fail to draw conclusions and take a stand on matters of faith.
  • Do not overly press personal convictions or judgment calls upon the classroom.
  • Keep the specter of pride away from your heart so that you do not always feel the need to be right and for the student to be wrong.
  • Do not let blatantly false statements by the student go unanswered–speak the truth in love, but remember the utmost need for truth to be upheld.
  • If you make the class interesting (this is the product of study and preparation, including searching for appropriate illustrations), class feedback and discussion takes care of itself
  • Budget your time, neither glossing over or bogging down in material
  • While forced excitement will seem artificial, generating genuine passion and enthusiasm is infectious and aids the learning environment.
  • Leverage the resources in the room, looking to mature, knowledgeable Bible students to assist you in making particularly difficult or controversial points.
  • After properly interpreting and teaching the biblical text, be ever the gleaner for application–material the student can take and translate into daily living and personal use.

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