Phil Miglioratti Interviewed Cyril Chavis, Jr on #Rethinking Disciple Making (all ages, any ethnicity)
Followed by a response from Featured Contributor Jarvis Ward
Phil>>> Cyril, “The Bible Explained” is written from your perspective as a Black pastor to Black college students but your insights will benefit anyone who ____    
Cyril>>> . . . is spiritually hungry and intellectually curious. 
“Opening up the Bible is easy; understanding it is harder.”
Phil>>> I find this statement to be more accurate the older I get. How can you help me and my Baby Boomer generation see how this applies to the way we read Scripture.
Cyril>>> The Bible is an ancient document with 66 books and many different authors. There are multiple genres, and every passage influences the way that we read all the other passages of the Bible (Scripture interprets Scripture). Our Bibles often contain hundreds of pages with dozens of verses on each page, each verse being worth at least a thousand words. Given such, though most of the Bible's truths are clear and simple, the Bible, as a book, is complex to modern readers. When we come to the Bible, we must cry, "Help!" We must interpret it in conversation with the believing community across time and space. Each generation has had a particular conversation, with particular conversation partners, in which they interpret the Bible. This conversation consists of the books you've read, your favorite resources, local church preachers, Christian friends, historical figures in church history, and the like. The Bible Explained seeks to be one of these conversation partners, and it seeks to connect the dots of some of the essential pieces of Scripture. Overall, we must read the Bible in dependence on God, who grants all understanding. 
Phil>>> Please explain how these 4 major sections provide an overview of the Bible that resonates with contemporary culture?
     Revelation: Our culture is wondering, "Where do I go for truth? What authorities can I trust?" This section commends God himself speaking through the Bible as the place we go for truth and authority over our lives.
     Relationship: Our culture is wondering, "What is my purpose?" This section points people to God as the center of their purpose. It covers God himself, humanity as image-bearers, and sin as the thing that ultimately frustrates their God-given purpose. 
     Rescue (the story): Our culture is wondering, "What is the ultimate path for redemption/salvation for my life and for the world?" They wouldn't use these words, but our culture's hope in financial success, romance, politics, and the like is an expression of their search for a path of salvation. This section tells them that they need a person, a Redeemer, to offer them salvation. God himself has worked salvation on our behalf. 
     Rescue (the effect): Our culture is wondering, "How can I overcome this pervasive sense of doom all around me?" Everyone lives with a deep sense of anxiety that things or forces "out there" are opposing their wellness. This section highlights the fact that all blessings flow from God, and particularly from the finished work of Jesus. It highlights how God overcomes the curse that has affected all of our lives. 
Phil>>> Help us rethink discipleship. How do we reassess the presuppositions that influence our methods and programs in order to capture the hearts and minds of people today?
Cyril>>> As I serve college students, I find that they have a lot of great, provocative questions about the Bible, but they were often dismissed, judged, or left wanting in their curiosity as they grew up. They want to be able to ask the question, "Why?" in the context of a loving relationship. They genuinely want to know how the Bible, an ancient document, connects to their everyday lives; they want to do this while being able to be a part of our lives without being judged. They want to receive robust answers that acknowledge the complexity of our world, and they want a loving community in which they can wrestle with those questions. There are many elements of discipleship, but a few I will highlight now are: 1) appreciating the questions that people today are asking instead of dismissing them 2) giving thoughtful, biblical (not merely cultural or cliché) answers that address today's questions and 3) developing long-term relationships where you can demonstrate the gospel in your own life and observe it in theirs. 
Phil>>> My generation is responding to cultural change with criticism and conflict. Is that effective? Biblical? How does this impact our evangelism?
Cyril>>> Cultural change is really hard. As things shift, the older generation can feel confused, frustrated, and left-out. I can sympathize a little as a millenial ministering to Gen Z folks. Often, we are quick to react with contempt, viewing the difference between generations with a big-me-little-you lens. However, God calls us to prayerfully consider the fact that every culture and generation is a mix of God's beautiful design (God initially created us and all things very good) and our own fallenness (we live in a cursed world where everything has fallen short of God's design). This means we can simultaneously appreciate but challenge any culture. We must critique and appreciate our own culture as an effort to first take out the log in our own eye, as Jesus urges us to do. Then, we can critique the next generation's culture accurately and with humility, appreciating the good and challenging the bad. In evangelism, we must find areas of culture that are echoes of God's design and use affirmation to point people to the Designer (like Paul did in Acts 17 at the Areopagus); we must also point out the idols of a culture and use winsome criticism to point people to the Satisfier (like Paul also did in Acts 17 at the Areopagus). 
Phil>>> What does the Church need to discern about how the Great Commission and the Great Commandment are both in the DNA of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus?
Cyril>>> The Great Commission is a part of the Great Commandment. The greatest commandment is to love God with everything and love our neighbor as ourselves. One of the ways we do this is by participating in the process of discipleship. It is an act of love toward God and toward our neighbors to help people obey all the commands of Jesus, which is discipleship. The discipleship process is teaching Jesus' commands, demonstrating Jesus' commands, observing the lives of others to help them obey Jesus' commands, encouraging areas where they are obeying Jesus' commands, and evaluating areas where they fall short of Jesus' commands. All those things summarize the Christian life and, therefore, obedience to the Great Commandment. In whatever we do in obedience to the Great Commandment, we are doing discipleship. 
Phil>>> One more insight or idea that will challenge us…
Cyril>>> Our culture is more and more becoming ignorant of biblical truths. I believe that the future of the church rests in the hands of Christians who understand their faith and understand it enough to instruct others. In the face of so many beliefs and ideologies that oppose the knowledge of Christ, we must first know our faith in order to defend it. It is knowing our faith that prevents us from being tossed to and fro by all the competing beliefs in our culture (Ephesians 4:13-14). I challenge us to continue to add understanding to our faith. 
Phil>>> Please write a prayer we can use to “no longer conform but to be transformed; change the way we think.”
Cyril>>> Thank you, our King, for the fact that you have spoken to us in your word. You are so good that you didn't leave us in the dark about who you are and your desires for our lives. Jesus, fill us with your Spirit that your word might have greater influence on us, that we might be further conformed to your image. Help us to put off our old selves and to put on you, particularly in our minds. Give us your mind so that we might imitate you. Mold us and transform us. In Jesus' name we pray, amen. 
Rev. Cyril V. Chavis, Jr. 
Campus Minister | Howard University 

Main: 678.825.1070 | Direct: 757.277.3579 | Email:

The Bible Explained >>>

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  • Response to the Interview from Featured Contributor Jarvis Ward

    12160863680?profile=RESIZE_400xBefore reading the interview, I was reflecting back on a congregation in my community that once had a large number of high school and college age young adults but now the gaping space of two and almost three generations of young people missing was painfully visible. Where were the large number of young people? Where are their friends and social contacts? Where are all of them getting their "truth" about life and especially about the word of God? The Bible Explained is written so that many of those young people (many who know the Lord and many who don't) who are searching and seeking to fill those "life-voids" can gain meaning and understanding that can positively influence their time on this earth. Cyril has not written a book so that young people (and old folks, too) might end with simply more information and facts about the Bible but rather so that individuals might know and or know (experience) more intimately the one living and true God, resulting in others coming to know the wonder of a relationship with Jesus Christ. 
    At one point in the interview Phil makes mention of the change in our culture. Of course the culture has always been changing since the fall of man. But since the finished redemptive work of Christ, the church has been left with the Lord's command and commission, which is not measured by comfort or convenience but rather obedience and faith. Servants of Jesus Christ must encounter the changing culture with the never failing and powerful practice of "Loving God, Loving others, and serving both well." 
    After reading the interview, my city-reaching engine started to turn and I began to imagine what it would look like if many of the college, high school and jr high school students in our cities/communities were connected somehow to the information in the book with a vision of believing the Lord for conversions or clearer commitments to Jesus Christ. My pastor and ministry friends, imagine the young people currently in your congregation or ministry going through the book and then prayerfully giving a copy to one or more of their seeking-searching friends, teammates, classmates, neighborhood buddies. What if some of the Lord's people who are working and who are present in the least served places in our cities and communities were provided this tool for gospel advancement and discipleship?  What if we had more of the young people in our congregations (those who have some young people) talking with the young people we can't and don't talk with? I have already purchased copies and distributed them to some of the young guys I serve and also gave copies to a few of the students in the neighborhood. From the gifts have come some meaningful conversations that are continuing. I imagined myself visiting around the nation many of my friends and colleagues in the congregations where they are members and wondering if there are painfully gaping spaces of missing young people or young people who are distracted on the pew. Cyril can't convene a bible study group at every college or school in your community but his book can provide some of the reach. Cyril can't be with every community kid where you and I work or in the next zip code, but this book can fill some of the void. You and I can't be in those social circle where many college and high school students in our communities and across our nation gather, but you and I are in position to provide this resource to teachers, coaches, business leaders, youth ministers, community organizers, and people we know who have a heart to reach generations of young people and their parents with the gospel.
    Jarvis Ward
    Living by faith in the Son of God,
    12160864063?profile=RESIZE_400xJarvis C. Ward
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    Tweet:   @JarvisWard    @PEARSON39208
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