teaching

Why We have a 37 Page Doctrinal Statement

Why We have a 37 Page Doctrinal Statement

In the world of non-denominationalism, the tendency is to scrape theology down to its bare minimum. I appreciate the spirit behind that move: to not create division where there shouldn’t be division. Why can’t we join together as a church in unity despite our minor disagreements?

New Life is swimming against that current. In a day and age many church’s doctrinal statements could be printed on written out on a napkin, we have a 37 page doctrinal statement.

I discovered New Life’s doctrinal statement when I began considering whether God might be calling apply to serve on staff. I was pretty surprised. I was also grateful. I’m even more grateful for the doctrinal statement today. Here are 7 reasons why:

Teaching for Change, part 2

Teaching for Change, part 2

I took three preaching courses at seminary. They were all excellent. I didn’t take any courses on teaching, and wasn’t aware of any offered. It wasn’t until a campus minister sat me down for a conversation I would have even considered the need for a separate class on teaching. Aren’t they both just presenting biblical truth accurately and memorably?

That conversation ended with the most impactful advice I’ve ever received about teaching: prepare your lesson around several open questions that engage the group. Such preparation maximizes what small group teaching environments can do so well: connect biblical truths with individual hearts to bring about change.

Let’s unpack how I prepare to teach with the aim to experience change myself and help those in the group experience change.

Teaching for Change, part I

Teaching for Change, part I

When I signed up to serve as a pastoral intern during my seminary years, I knew I wouldn’t be able to preach on Sunday morning, but I would be given other opportunities to grow in preaching and teaching. One of those opportunities came in the form of our Adult Sunday School class. The popular and engaging regular teacher handed me the reigns for a half dozen or so weeks that first semester. I studied, I crafted a syllabus, and I wrote out a manuscript for the class’s first week. I handed out the syllabus (that included weekly homework) and launched in, hands gripped to the podium, with passion and verve.

I got a friendly call from one of the campus ministers who attended our church (and that Sunday School class) that week and he invited me out to coffee. Over mugs at the local caffeine dive, Small World, I had a brief conversation that was worth a semester’s worth of seminary education. It changed the way I have taught ever since.