Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Maturity and "teaching"

Here's a comment I made on one of Brant's posts. His issue was more general, about babies and bathwater in the church and which is which. My comment was specific to the relationship between teaching (as we typically practice and prioritize it) and maturity:

[I]t's fairly defensible that the "end" God has in mind is fully formed, fully functional Christ-likeness, writ-large. If that's where we're headed (or where God would like to lead us), what shared, corporate practices are likely to lead us there? I know you're a fan of [spiritual disciplines], so there's much positive to be said here. On the negative (bath water) side, though, I think that delegating the vast bulk of the teaching to one "expert" person on a near permanent basis, and, secondly, having our teaching be almost exclusively without dialog are likely to help the very young in the faith for a while, but will actually hinder the maturing process after the infancy/child stages. Why aren't pastors typically multiplying themselves out of a job asap? Don't our biblical examples tend toward that kind of multiplication? Our "ecclesiology" is currently best designed to produce babies (converts) and minister to those babies in the faith. It is difficult to argue from typical church practice (centered on lectures, usually by one "expert") that we are geared toward maturity. Our priorities of practice, our ways of doing teaching, etc.--bathwater. Not necessarily bad, but definitely best used for babies.
I hope I'm being clear that I'm not opposed to teaching. I do, though, from a biblical and practical perspective, question how we do it, how we (generally fail to) train others to do it, and how both of the above tends to produce spectators of the faith rather than ambassadors of it. So, are there any biblically faithful alternatives to our typical "plan"? What and how so? Is an alternative approach really necessary at all? I'll be posting on an alternative we're working on at UYI very soon.


Jim said...

Look forward to hearing about alternative teaching methods rather than the lecture format. I pastored in 2 "mega churches" for 8 years, felt led to the marketplace for 3 years, and now am feeling a transition back to the church. I have been studying the kingdom, Willard, Wright and the bunch for about 8 years. Look forward to some dialogue. Thanks.

T said...


Thanks for letting me know. I love to get experienced feedback. Sorry for the delay. My wife and I have a month-old daughter who's wonderful, but her arrival has slowed down the blogging.

Jim said...


I'll be on vacation with my family for a week, look forward to talking when I get back. Enjoy the baby, those are great times.