Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Essential Activity of Christian Ministry: Part 2


What is Christian education? Howard Hendricks discusses at length the traits visible in student but fails to offer a definition. Fortunately, Michael Mitchell offers not only a comprehensive definition of education but casts it in a Christian context stating that Christian education engages learners in acquiring the mind and skill sets allowing for an increasingly mature understanding of God, His creation, and themselves as created in the image of God.[1] Christian education must, then have at the core a view of the world having been created by God and that humanity was created in the image of God. The theology being taught may differ from denomination to denomination but Christian education that lacks these two necessary elements cannot authentically refer to itself as Christian education.


Before determining what discipleship is it is necessary to define exactly what a disciple is. Simply put, a disciple is one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrine of another. In the Christian context of the word, a disciple (μαθητής) is a follower of Christ who (1) believes his doctrine, (2) rests on his sacrifice, (3) imbibes his spirit, and (4) imitates his example (Matt. 10:24; Luke 14:26, 27, 33; John 6:69).[2] If this is what a disciple is then discipleship is the process of becoming a disciple.[3] George Barna states that discipleship is about being and reproducing spiritually mature zealots for Christ.[4] What is obvious is that when Christians speak of biblical discipleship it is always about intentionally growing the believer in their knowledge of Christ. It is through that growth individuals are equipped to become more like Jesus.

[1] Mitchell, Michael R. Leading, Teaching, and Making Disciples. (Bloomington, IN: CrossBooks, 2010), 242. Mitchell also stresses the importance of the believer discovering their contribution and place in the community and in God’s kingdom.

[2] Easton, M. G. Easton's Bible Dictionary. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1966).

[3] Samra, James G 2003. "A Biblical View of Discipleship." Bibliotheca Sacra 160, No. 638: 225- 226.

[4] Barna, George. Growing True Disciples. (Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2001), 18. Barna goes on to state that making disciples is not an option but rather a command from Jesus Christ (Matt. 9:35-38; John 15:8).

1 comment:

Mike Westfall said...

One would assume 3-3 1/2 yrs of teaching by the Lord in person would complete & qualify the ministry of a disciple.But did it?

Luk 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Mike Westfall