Connection to Worship
If Christian education, discipleship, and spiritual formation are all interrelated and the primary focus of church ministries should be on the goal of creating disciples then a brief discussion of the largest ministry of the church must ensue. The image of a funnel in the Dempsey class note is quite appropriate in this discussion. The largest of church ministries, the worship service is the entry point to the church for the vast majority of people. This is also the place where mature Christians desire most to be, worshipping God.
It is in the worship experience we can see all three elements discussed in this paper clearly on display. The pastor delivering a sermon that is educational while edifying the body. The newer believer in the process of spiritual formation sees service modeled by many of those participating in the various components of the service. Discipleship on display as the faithful come together to worship understanding that humanity was created for fellowship with their Creator. Each element is intimately connected to worship.
Interrelated concepts abound in both the church and the secular world. A good illustration is that of the relationship between the spiritual formation of the believer, the role of Christian education, and the discipleship process as a whole. Though the current course focuses on discipleship ministries through education, it should be noted that there are many other aspects of the Christian life that support and enrich the discipleship process.
The importance of a biblical worldview in Christian education cannot be understated. Without a proper view of God’s creation and humanity having been created in the image of God, education cannot claim to be Christian. These two pillars inform every other aspect of Christian education, spiritual formation, and the discipleship process as a whole. It is also impossible to ignore the responsibility of the believer to make the necessary intentional investment in their own spiritual development. The church should strive to provide environments where this growth can take place but to be sure believers should not focus on their development exclusively in a church context.
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not something the believer does. Rather, it is who a believer is. When one is a disciple of Christ, it is much easier to sacrifice hard-earned money for ministry or share the gospel of Jesus with nonbelievers because the responsibility to do so is understood. Before there were seminaries or megachurches or the other trappings of Christianity a small group of devout men were called, became disciples, and went out. The world has never been the same since.