BLOG 6.18.19. “BY THIS TIME YOU OUGHT TO BE TEACHERS …”
Question: How long do you have to ‘hang out’ in the church community, being taught, … before you are responsible to teach others? How does one become mature and become a disciple-maker ? … or when do we become aware that we are dull of hearing. Hebrews 5:12 indicates that this problem goes back to very early in the church’s history? With my many decades of being a teacher in the church, I could regale you with lots of illustrations of this, i.e., when the church becomes a social activity, and “inspiring” buy not at all equipping.
My favorite story comes from an episode in my own career as a teaching pastor in a church full of career church-attenders, and persons who were regularly in the pews. In my naivety, I thought I would try to get them involved in communicating the message, beginning with one another. So (whatever my text was) I proposed that we take a few minutes, turn to the person next to them, and share something of how and why we came to know Christ. Response? Stunned shock. But some did it joyfully, and for the first time shared their faith in Christ with someone else.
But not all … After the service, one of the matriarchs of the church came to me with hostility in her eyes, and said: “Bob, don’t you ever do that to us again.” She was living testimony that what was true in the early decades of the church, continues to this day.
I was the teacher of one of the prestigious adult Sunday School classes in a prominent church institution once, and before me were the leaders of the community, week by week. They had been doing this for years. It was part of their weekly social agenda, … but I was a new kid in their history of teachers, and didn’t know any better than to ask them questions. Their ignorance of scripture was palpable. They didn’t even know where the books of the Bible were. There was no way they were going to be teachers of others. … But they enjoyed being together, drinking coffee, and singing gospel songs. The last thing on their minds, evidently, was being equipped to teach others, or becoming mature in Christ, or “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and the word of Christ. (They even chose and paid their Sunday school teacher.)
What is the solution to this? Maybe a discipline of ordaining every person who joins the community to a ministry of disciple-making, and to jointly equip each other in this ministry, so that teaching one another becomes the rich flavor of the fellowship?
I’d love your feedback. Peace!