This past week I have had the privilege of participating in a conference by 3DM. Rather than explain what 3DM is, you will want to check out http://weare3dm.com/about. Actually, calling it a conference is a misnomer. I have been participating in what is referred to as a Learning Community. Over 30 church planters and pastors have gathered over the last 3 days at Apex United Methodist Church to learn about discipleship through a) teaching time, b) social spaces, c) small groups called huddles, and d) worship. I can write pages (in fact, I have written pages of notes) on what I have learned, but that is for another time.
This blog is about education and how it intersects with practice. I believe it was John Piper who summarized Calvin this way, “The knowledge of God is knowledge of God applied.” In other words, one cannot truly come to know God without putting that knowledge into practice. Love God, and you will love neighbor. Grace leads to a life of gratitude.
A video was played at this Learning Community earlier this week that challenges the way seminaries teach students about discipleship. Being that discipleship was part of my job description at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church, one would think that I had the knowledge of discipleship figured out. Actually, I thought I did. I knew a lot and read a lot on the subject. But knowledge of discipleship is always knowledge of discipleship applied. Learning how to apply the knowledge of discipleship has made this Learning Community an experience I will never regret participating in. I have been exposed this week about what it means to really build a discipling culture within current and new congregations in order that the mission that Jesus started with his 12 disciples continues today. Some of the principles and the ways in which we are applying them this week in Apex is something I wish I learned in seminary. Don’t get me wrong, I loved and grew a lot at seminary. Yet, after spending a few days with people who have devoted a lot of time and energy in creating discipling cultures, I feel at times ‘sheepish’ that seminary did not prepare me better in this capacity of growing a discipling culture within our congregations. I also feel ‘sheepish’ about my lack of desire to develop discipling relationships over the years. My prayer is that that this attitude will change, and I am glad that I am in a position where I am forced to make disciples.
The attached video provides a lot of information and provides challenging questions. I hope that it raises some questions in your own life as you discover for yourself what it means to know Jesus and to teach everything he has commanded us.
Re-Imagining Theological Education | 3DM from 3DM on Vimeo.