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Old Kingdom/Revival/Apostolic Articles 2002 - 2007 (Forum Locked Forum Locked) Forum : Old Kingdom/Revival/Apostolic Articles 2002 - 2007
Subject Topic: Teaching, Training And Discipling in the Christian Community - By Dr. David Ryser Post Reply Post New Topic
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Posted: 10/16/2009 at 2:04pm | IP Logged Quote Moderator

Teaching, Training And Discipling in the Christian Community - By Dr. David Ryser

The western model of teaching and training is based in value being placed upon the dissemination of information. Knowledge, and by implication wisdom, is defined as a collection of a body of information. Relationship between the teacher and student is considered unimportant or even irrelevant. However, even those shaped by this system instinctively know its shortcoming by remembering our best (and most effective) teachers as those with whom we had the strongest/closest relationship. What we call teaching (or training or education) the culture of the Bible called reasoning (Acts 17:2; 17:17; 18:4; 19 8, 9 to reference a few instances). Teaching/training, biblically, is relational and interactive (Luke 2:46, 47) When a child comes home from school in the typical American household, he/she is asked "Did you learn anything at school today"? whereas the Jewish child is more likely to be asked "Did you ask any good questions at school today"?).

There are numerous examples in the scriptures of people being trained to carry out the call of God for their lives, and they point to the centrality of relational teaching/training. Two such examples come readily to mind. The first is the training of Joshua by Moses. Joshua was trained to take leadership of Israel for more than forty years, by being with Moses observing, assisting, and serving. The second is the relationship between Elijah and Elisha. Elijah was commanded by God to anoint Elisha as his successor. Although no implicit command to train Elisha for his ministry is given, Elijah takes Elisha into his home for some 15 years as Elisha observes, assists, and serves Elijah as his servant. This method of training is particularly remarkable in this case because there existed, and had existed since the time of Samuel, several "schools of the prophets" (cf 2 Kings 2:1-5) throughout Israel?and Elijah?s successor came from none of these.

This relational teaching/training model continued to develop during the exile and intertestamental periods and was the basis for the rabbi-disciple relationship whereby the student would attach himself to a teacher not so much for the purpose of learning what the teacher knew as to become what the teacher was (Matthew 10:24, 25a; Luke 6:40). Jesus used this model as He chose 12 men to be with Him in ministry, intending to turn over His ministry to them upon His departure. These were not mere followers, Jesus had over 500 of those (1 Corinthians 15:6), but men chosen to be with Him and learn by observing, assisting, and serving Him. Even within the group of 12, there were 3 whom Jesus was more intimate with and who were privileged to see and do more than the others and to relate with Jesus at a higher/deeper level.

This relational model continues through the remainder of the New Testament. Paul trains the younger members of his ministry team, Titus and Timothy being the most notable examples, though there were others as well (Colossians 4:7-14 as well as Aquila and Priscilla) - as they accompany him during the time of his ministry and observe, assist, and serve him. There are other examples; for example, Mark had two such relationships (with Barnabas and Peter) during his time of training for ministry.

And this model of teaching/training is not restricted solely to raising up ministries, but is also utilized in the raising up of disciples by more mature disciples (Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 3:13; 10:25; 1 Peter 5:5a) as the people of God speak into one another's lives. Doing this effectively requires relationship, and the level of effectiveness is determined by the intimacy of the relationship.

To sum up, the biblical model of teaching/training can best be described by the word mentoring. This requires the mentor and those being mentored to be in relationship; which requires, among other things, those in this relationship to spend time together so as the student observes, assists, and serves the mentor, then questions and answers - and thus teaching/training takes place in context. This method should be in place at every level of Church life from Discipling new converts to maturing believers and training leaders (even in a school of ministry) with the goal of instructing, enabling, empowering, utilizing, and releasing giftings and ministries. Just as Jesus attempted to duplicate Himself in His followers, a pattern perpetuated by His disciples, so the Church seeks to duplicate the character of Jesus (modeled by the mentor) and pass on passion for Him and a vision for establishing His kingdom to those being discipled.

Edited by Moderator on 10/16/2009 at 2:05pm
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