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Begin to formulate your personal biblical theology of teaching in Christian education–in the arena of the local church. Your paper should reflect critical thinking and synthesis of material gathered in reading, in Scripture, and in the class notes. Additional sources may be required. You are asked to reflect upon the biblical and theological content and provide practical application to ministry. Your target audience is the lay-persons in the church—those who are servant leaders in a teaching ministry position.
The paper will express your personal philosophy of biblical and theological foundations for ministry in the church. Beginning with Disciple-making in the church, (week 6) through Pastor and Disciple-making church (week 8) articulate the role of the church in Christian education.
The grade for this assignment will be based on thoroughness, biblical references, appropriately cited sources, application of the content to ministry, and professional writing style.
Compile your paper using the notes you have made in your notebook. Integrate the text reading, the class notes, and your personal experiences to draw practical applications for the local church.
The chapter for this week, “The Pastor as Teacher,” takes an extensive look at the role, responsibilities, and character of the pastor as the spiritual leader in the church. Yount examines varying leadership types and develops the role of the pastor to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.” There is no need to repeat his observations so we will look, instead, at the arena in which the pastor is to give leadership. Many pastors are the sole leader in the church, and others have a large staff to assist them in ministry. Whatever the situation, the pastor still has responsibility for leading the team. As the main leader in the educational ministry, he has many responsibilities.
Some of you will be familiar already with the organizational model promoted by LifeWay, the 1-5-4 Principle. In the book, Kingdom Principles for Church Growth, Gene Mims explains the mission of the church and the functions that grow out of it.[i] Mims referred to it as a Church MAP (Model and Process). The Great Commission and the functions of the church were not new, and they were firmly founded in the Scripture. The same purpose and functions of the church are acknowledged across denominations, although sometimes, different descriptive terms are used.
Look at the diagram below:
A Corporate Model
In this model, Mims outlined the 1-5-4 Principle. He began with One Great Commission, followed by Five Essential Functions, and 4 Possible Results. His purpose was not to put forth a new theory or a magic formula, but to focus attention back on the functions—what the local church ought to be about. So often we evaluate success or failure by numbers, and we focus on the end result. Mims reminded his readers that the means should precede the desired ends. You will also note that he did not include mission as one function, but the overarching function that drives all the others. Some prefer to say there are six functions and list mission as one of them.
What does this have to do with the pastor and the church? It is in all of these ministry areas or functions that he is to give leadership. It is general knowledge that any program or activity that the pastor does not promote and support will not succeed for long. He will need to be enthusiastic, participate actively, and allow his passion to inspire everyone else. He does not have to do it all himself. Ephesians 4:11-13 states that he is to equip the saints to do the ministry. The fulfillment of the functions of the church depends upon equipped and trained church members.
Pause to Reflect
One principle that emerges from this diagram is that of balance. Each function is important and has its place in the church. Is there balance in the functions in your church? Are some more effective than others? Is the purpose and mission of your church evident? Write down in your journal one function in your church that is strong and one function that needs strengthening.
“The Church” alone does not fulfill its mission and functions. The church is made up of individual members who together are able to do this, but someone has to teach or train them. If the church is to evangelize, or disciple, or pray, it becomes the responsibility of the church leader (leaders) to equip them to do so. This corporate model is one aspect of the teaching ministry of the church.
The Individual Model
The vertical relationships are developed in the believer who grows in prayer and worship, while being grounded in the word of God. The horizontal relationships are worked out through reaching out to others through evangelism, service, and ministry. Therefore, the life of the individual demonstrates what it means to love God and love neighbors.
You may have noticed that the individual spiritual disciplines in the life of the disciple mirror the functions of the church. It has also been intentional that the devotional sessions have highlighted these vertical disciplines each week. The horizontal functions will be developed in the weeks to come. The church that is performing the functions of the church is educating the individual believers to grow in the same disciplines. The pastor is the leader and motivator for equipping believers to exercise their giftedness through their local church body.
[i] Gene Mims explained his interpretation in Kingdom Principles for Church Growth and also in The Kingdom Focused Church, both published by LifeWay.
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