Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Equipping the Saints?

As a seminary student, I regularly get to sit under the teaching of godly men. While not perfect, these men regularly exhibit lives that are winsome to the world, filled with spiritual fruit. Often they have processed deeply through issues that students have not even encountered. I am truly grateful for these godly men who invest themselves regularly in their students.

At the same time, I'm afraid many students complete their time in school and feel qualified for ministry, but lack all the training necessary for serving as a role model in a church. Our minds are well fed; we probably know the difference between supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism and we have studies the hypostatic union, but do we still struggle with daily Scripture intake? Do we struggle with frustration? Do we struggle with honoring God in our families? Do we guard our eyes and our minds from temptation?

All these struggles are clearly addressed in Scripture. In a sense, seminary students are "taught to fish" in a way that we are able to go to the Bible and understand and apply these principles to our lives. But there is a condition that is common among students in seminary, and much more rampant among less "fanatical" members of our churches; our churches often fail to make disciples. Many boys and girls grow up through the youth group and fall straight into the weeds that are waiting to choke them to death.

I believe in the grace of God; I believe in God because of his grace. Satan had many opportunities to steal the seed or choke me out. Yet God is faithful and has sustained my spiritual life through temptation and sin, and I often wonder why. My past, despite growing up in a pastor's home, has not been a model of Christian discipleship. I regularly encounter other believers who were discipled by older brothers in the faith, and the benefits are manifold.

Often, it seems, that someone who has been mentored by a thoughtful, godly person is more mature in their faith and practice. Self-discipline is often a result. They seem capable to establish deep, positive relationships with others easily, and they are able to invest themselves in ways that are foreign to those who have never experienced a mentoring relationship.

I think the practice of mentoring is incredibly neglected, and I cannot help but wonder if a school (or a church) can properly equip its people without it.

Please feel free to comment, and if you know of any resources that might be helpful, please pass them along!

Feeling less than adequate to be a role model,



Tony Kummer said...

Great post. I think your on to something.

G. F. McDowell said...

That is why I like this organization.

S. Todd Young said...

Thanks for the comments; I have heard of NETS, and the good work they are doing. Do you think other organizations should adopt similar strategies?

Terry Delaney said...

Brother, I think you and I are hitting on the same nail in thought. I look forward to hammering out details with you in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Seriously though, I am more excited about joining State Street (despite everything else happening on the home front) that I can hardly contain myself with my thoughts and ideas. I actually told Roger he was going to have to hold me back.

It is weird, in our current financial crisis all Krista and I know is that we are called to Southern and to State Street. We don't know how it is going to play out or even if the time is right, but we know we are called here. So much so I have removed my resume in order to serve at State Street. I can't explain it, but I am doing my best.

God bless you brother and I look forward to seeing you on the Lord's Day (Yes, Dr. Whitney influenced me!).

Terry Delaney