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GUEST-POST: Lead WIth Kindness

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Helping Christian Leaders Achieve Meaningful Results
 
GUEST-POST: A Kinder Model Of Leadership
 
June 2022 ~ Summer is a time when our personal and professional rhythms change. We take vacations, spend more time outdoors, and hang out with friends and family. 

The same is true for me. We travel and sleep later. (My wife is a teacher, so no 5:15 am alarms for the next several weeks!) In the spirit of summer changes, I'd like to offer my thoughts on a kinder model of leadership, a different center for ministry, and an announcement about my new book on leading change.

 

Lead with Kindness

Our society has become increasingly unkind, and I'm not just talking about gun violence and mass shootings. I believe these are just the tip of a much bigger iceberg of anger and disrespect and hatred. Beneath the surface, that iceberg is made up of millions of small interactions that have the potential to make the world better or worse. 

A brief conversation at the grocery store made me more aware of this reality. During the pandemic, my wife and I discovered the safety of curbside delivery, and we're still enjoying the convenience that it offers. One particular day, the store employee told me that she was trying to arrange the bags so they wouldn’t tip over during my trip home. I simply said, "Thanks. I'm sure you're doing your best." She replied, "I wish everyone believed that." She then told me about irate customers who would lash out if she didn't load their cars perfectly. I thanked her again, and drove away feeling sorry for this hard-working, underpaid, and certainly under-appreciated human being. 

I could stop here, and the moral would be to obey the golden rule and "do unto others…" But I think there's a more important leadership lesson. Leaders are culture-shapers. Your leadership style will shape the culture within your church or ministry and beyond. So do you lead with kindness? It is, after all, one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5. 

What would leading with kindness look like? It should be seen in the words and tone of voice used to interact with staff, church members, and people in the community. In public speaking (preaching and other), it should be evident in your descriptions of people who are not in room. Are you preparing your church to go into battle or to win with love?

It is interesting that kindness is an essential characteristic of a Christ-follower, but we don't typically include it on the lists of essential leadership attributes. In fact, our stereotypes are that "kind" leaders are doormats who lack drive, are easily run over, and have no vision. The danger of this stereotype is that it can become prescriptive, encouraging leaders to not be "weak." I still believe that leaders need to push themselves and their organizations to be their best. But today, I'd take a little less drive in exchange for an abundance of kindness.

 

From My Blog: Centering on the Margins

Is your church or ministry centering on the center or on the margins? Let me explain. A recent article described that efforts to increase covid vaccination rates are now “centering on the margins.” The rationale is that general “public service announcements” and other mass communication have reached the people in the center. To increase acceptance, additional efforts will need to focus on zip codes and groups that are skeptical. This is a different strategy that calls for targeted and tailored efforts, such as conducting micro-campaigns in those areas and amplifying the voices of influencers who are respected by specific groups.

Many of the plans developed by churches to “reach the community” are centered on the center, not the margins. Finish this blog ...

 

How Can I Serve You?

My goal is to serve churches and ministries, and their leaders, helping them turn vision into meaningful results. I do this through:

  • Consulting, including vision implementation and organizational design.
  • Coaching for individual leaders and for executive teams.
  • Staff development through a variety of workshops.

Featured This Month: Leadership Coaching

Coaching is a one-on-one relationship that enables a pastor or ministry leader to develop in specific areas and address complex issues. In this season of confusing challenges, a coaching relationship can be more valuable than ever. Click here to learn more. 

For more information about any of my services, email me to schedule an introductory conversation. 
 
 

Coming July 26!
The Art of Leading Change:

Ten Perspectives on the Messiness of Ministry

I am excited to announce the upcoming release of my newest book. The Art of Leading Change focuses on the unpredictable dynamics of moving people toward a new destination. It will help you harness those who are excited, sway the reluctant, engage the apathetic, and deal with resistance – all within the messiness of today’s ministry settings. Click here to learn more. 

Pre-order from Amazon

Also by Mike Bonem:
In Pursuit of Great AND Godly Leadership
Leading from the Second Chair
Thriving in the Second Chair
Leading Congregational Change

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Copyright © 2022 Mike Bonem Consulting, LLC, All rights reserved.
Thanks for your interest in being a great and godly leader.

Our mailing address is:
Mike Bonem Consulting, LLC
P.O. Box 2272
Bellaire, TX 77402

 

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The Savior's Company

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     The Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details!

                   There is really only one thing worth being concerned about.

                    Mary has discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her.”

                                                 Luke 10:41-42 NLT


Distracted by trivial pursuits? My Kingdom is life’s noblest quest.

     Beside yourself? You are better off beside Me.

     Falling apart? Fall on your knees.

     Wringing your hands? Take My hand and I will take good care of you.

     Worried sick? Follow My prescription for excellent health.

 

Give careful attention to My words—wiser than Satan’s propaganda.

     Rest in green meadows of trust—calmer than the world’s rat race.

     Relax beside peaceful streams—better than the comfort of noise. 

     Walk obedient paths—more honorable than rebellious detours.

     Live fearlessly, even in death’s shadow—bolder than bravado.

     Enjoy the pleasure of My company—sweeter than sin’s temporary thrill.

 

Stay close to My heart and avoid the stranger from hell out to hurt you.

     The evil one wants to steal enthusiasm, kill joy, and destroy influence.

     I want to give you high purpose, invulnerable joy, and eternal impact.

 

Sit at My feet—let Me settle down and be at home in your heart.

     I am your Most Honored Guest—give Me your undivided attention.

     Do not fret over the work you must do, turning life into a long rush hour.

 

Worship begins with silence—hush so you can hear My voice.

     If you ever hope to really get to know Me, you will have to slow down.

     If you yearn to find deep rest, I can teach you how to relax.

 

More than self-confidence, you need faith in your Savior.

     More than Scripture memorization, you need devotion to the Living Word.

     More than assent to My claims, you need intimacy with your Master.

     More than regimented obedience, your need genuine love for your Lord.

     More than zealous hectivity, you need heartfelt loyalty to your heart’s King.

     More than dead-end legalism, you need to walk the high road with Christ.

 

To-do list impossible? Fragmented? Going in circles, getting nowhere?  

     I can calm your restlessness and give you proper direction.

     Let Me vector your mind and heart in the direction of the cross—

          only then will you make spiritual headway.

     Concern yourself with one absolute essential—relationship with Me—

          only then will your life make sense. 

 

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         (c)  Johnny R. Almond 

Gentle Whispers from Eternity                            

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The Savior's Challenge

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           If anyone wants to come after Me                                     

                   he must deny himself,

 take up his cross day after day and follow Me.

                        Luke 9:23 MLB

 

 

If you want an extraordinary life, you must make extraordinary choices.

If you wish to stand out from the crowd, you will have to stand up for Me.

If you yearn to reside in the highlands, you must move out of the swamp. 

 

Self-denial is not the way of the world, but it is the way of true wisdom.

“What’s in it for me?” worldlings ask—“How can I help you?” is better. 

Epicureans party and make merry, but they live empty and pointless lives. 

My followers cry their heart out over sin, then live rich and meaningful lives.

The cross is I, crossed out—your ego put in its place in the light of Calvary.

Egocentricity paves the road to hell, but self-sacrifice reflects heaven’s heart.

 

Cross-bearing is the last thing most want, but it is the first thing I ask of you.

Egotists hold life tightly, then miss the deeper meaning of existence.

My followers lose themselves in My service, and discover true significance.

Shouldering a cross means splinters, reminding you of My sacrificial love. 

Initial enthusiasm often dies when trouble hits, but real disciples persevere.

 

Discipleship means following Me, your Master, wherever I lead.

Do not run from suffering—it is part of the territory of obedience.

I endured excruciating pain for you—now it is your turn to hang in there.

Who you say I am determines your staying power—conviction keeps going. 

Follow Me not just on some ideal future day—today is the day of service. 

Avoid procrastination of life’s most serious business—seize the day!

 

A selfish, warped world is out to get all it can for itself.    

But I call you by My Holy Spirit to live a better life—for Me, for others.

Do not begin all your prayers with I — do not conclude them with me.

I did not expect to be waited on hand and foot—neither should you.

I am your Example—do you really think you are too good to live My way?

Move beyond your own wants—consider the needs of your neighbors. 

Avoid exclusive focus on personal ambition—think of others’ agonies. 

 

Determine in your heart to go with Me all the way to the cross.

Do not pay attention to the crowd’s ridicule or waving palm branches—

     just ride your little donkey as best you can. 

Even in pain and loneliness—even when it gets rough—keep following.

The Via Dolorosa was not a cake walk—following Me has not gotten easier.

But if you walk in the steps of My wounded feet, you will never regret it.

 

 

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© Pastor Johnny R. Almond              Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

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Trail of Tears

 

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                     Why am I discouraged?  Why so sad? I will put my hope in God!
                  I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!
                            Psalm 42:11 NLT

 

     In your grief, surrender through your trials. Crying sad tears as society scoffs at faith’s radical perspective? Heartbroken as skeptics make fun of your optimistic creed? Sighing and singing blues as cynics deride your hopeful stance? Wondering where I am as atheists question My existence? Return to Me.

 

     In your grappling, search through your trouble. Thirsty for significance in a world experiencing spiritual drought? Reach out for Me. Yearn for My Presence as a deer pants for the brook. Do not settle for anything less than infinite joy. I do not ration My Holy Spirit—it cascades from My heart to yours—drink deeply at the Fountain.

 

     In your gladness, sing through your travels. Nostalgic about how it used to be? Reflecting on good old days when crowds celebrated My love? Remember high points of worship. Conduct therapeutic self-talk—respond to disturbing inner voices. When you are down-in-the-mouth, place your hope in your Creator.  Fix your eyes on your Face Healer—I will put a smile on your face. Reflect on your relationship to the One who will always be here for you.

 

     In My goodness, struggle through your tension. Whatever disturbs or dismays you will pass, but I never change at all. Look forward to looking back on whatever has worried you on earth. Remembered from eternity’s perspective, difficulties will be blessings. Heartaches are steppingstones along an upward-winding trail. Be patient and poised—heaven will never be surprised by any emergency.

 

     Trust My guidance and unfailing love—gladly sing My praises. Faith quakes will stop. Storms will subside. The sun will shine again. Rely on Me—       nestle near My loving heart. In your midnight hour, believe in Me and you will hear nocturnal echoes of heaven’s melody of hope. Trust Me, no matter how sad life gets—then you can dance the jig of joy. Remember what a Jewish girl named Etty Hillisum wrote in her diary as she endured a World War II concentration camp: “There will always be a small patch of sky above, and there will always be enough space to fold two hands in prayer.”

 

     In My grace, smile through your tears. 

 

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                © Pastor Johnny R. Almond                    
Day 207, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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 GUEST POST: An Excerpt from "The Church from Every Tribe and Tongue"

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An excerpt from The Church from Every Tribe and Tongue chapter written by Carlos Sosa Siliezar (pgs. 103-104).
Edited by Gene L. Green and Stephen T. Pardue and K. K. Yeo (Langham Global Library), 2018. Used with permission.

 
Although the evangelical church has been present in Latin America for many decades, only recently has its ecclesiology started to develop. René Padilla and Tetsunao Yamamori recognized back in 2003 that “a remarkable deficit in Latin American evangelical theology is that found in the area of ecclesiology.” Padilla, in particular, has proposed an ecclesiology that can nurture holistic mission. In order to articulate such an ecclesiology, Padilla uses the Gospels, mainly the Synoptic Gospels, in their final form. The driving question of his reading of the New Testament seems to be: How does the Gospels’ ecclesiology support the theological concept of holistic mission?

Padilla argues for a holistic ecclesiology that has, at its center, the fulfillment of holistic mission. Only a church that has a holistic ecclesiology is able to make a positive impact in its community and is capable of transforming society. This holistic ecclesiology has four intertwining characteristics. 

The first, and fundamental, characteristic is commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord of all. The heart of the New Testament is precisely the confession of Jesus as Lord (1 Cor. 8:4–6). This confession is tied to the Greek version of the Old Testament, where Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, was referred to as “Lord.” This confession also was a protest against the first-century Roman imperial cult with its emphasis on the absolute authority of the Roman emperor. The church, then, that confesses that Jesus is Lord over all will have a mission that concerns all aspects of life: for example, economics, politics, culture, society, art, ecology, and community (1 Cor. 1:2; cf. Acts 9:14, 21; 22:16). Christology, the acknowledgment that Jesus is Lord over all the earth, is the basis of ecclesiology. 

The second characteristic of a holistic ecclesiology is discipleship. Following Jesus means a process of transformation (Rom 10:12–15). The disciple is one who follows Jesus’s example and obeys his teachings (Acts 2:42; Rom 6:17; Gal 1:8–9). Jesus taught and showed how to love God love our neighbors, serve others, be in solidarity with the poor, and be committed to the truth (Mark 10:43–45; Luke 14:25–33; John 10:15). The “holistic disciple” should live as Jesus lived. However, discipleship is not a lonely business. The disciple is part of a Christian community where he or she finds God’s grace. Therefore, the third characteristic of a holistic ecclesiology is community. The holistic church is actually a new humanity. Its testimony is incarnational – that is, it becomes real in the world just as God’s Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14; 20:21). The church embodies God’s word and is a witness of God’s purpose for the whole of creation. The paradigm of the church’s mission is Jesus’s life, ministry, death, resurrection, and exaltation (Matt. 10:18, 24–25; Acts 2:36; 1 Cor. 15:25, 56–57; Eph. 1:19–20).
 
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An excerpt from The Church from Every Tribe and Tongue chapter written by Carlos Sosa Siliezar (pgs. 103-104).

Edited by Gene L. Green and Stephen T. Pardue and K. K. Yeo (Langham Global Library), 2018. Used with permission.

CARLOS SOSA SILIEZAR (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College, Illinois. He holds a PhD in New Testament Language, Literature and Theology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He is the author of Creation Imagery in the Gospel of John (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2015) and La condición divina de Jesús: Cristología y creación en el Evangelio de Juan (Salamanca, 2016).
 
Purchase Book
 
To learn more about this ministry visit langham.org

 

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Is Our Nation Headed For A Collapse?

#IReadThis...in Biblical Archeology

1177 B.C. - The Collapse of Bronze Age Civilization:

     "Are we at the beginning of another perfect storm of stressors on our interconnected societies?'

     "Are we headed for a collapse of multiple elements of our complex global society?"

     "If our interconnected world is nearing the breaking point, are there lessons we can learn from the Late Bronze Age collapse to help prevent or stave off our collective demise?"

     "We should be aware that no society is invulnerable. Every society in the history of the world has ultimately collapsed. The collapse of similarly intertwined civilizations just after 1200 B.C. should be a warning to us that it can certainly happen again."

 

IMHO, citizens of this world should be concerned, even despair. Citizens of God’s Kingdom should be concerned but instead we must “lift our eyes to the hills…” Our response must be faith-provoked, biblically-based rather than flag-waving political platforms.

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Deep Treasures

 

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                                   We know how dearly God loves us, 

because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

                                          Romans 5:5 NLT


 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith is the key to heaven’s infinite resources

     unlocking a treasure chest enriching the depths of your innermost being. 

Jesus’ redeeming cross work brings forgiveness of sins to contrite hearts.

His death in your place makes friendship possible with your Creator.

Kneeling in repentance and trust, you enter a place of highest privilege—

     ruled by the King of kings, loved and cared for as the apple of God’s eye,

     inseparably united to the Sovereign of the universe.

Explore these deep treasures placed in your heart—live humbly.


 

Hope in God’s promises is a powerful antidote to the poison of despair.

Looking around can be discouraging, but looking forward lifts your spirit.    

Faith is more than believing I can—it is knowing I will.

Rest assured I will keep My Word—the future is as bright as My promises. 

Listen to hope’s future melody—laugh cheerfully in anticipation of heaven.

In the meantime—until glory materializes—dance to heaven’s jig of joy.

The Bright Morning Star shines in your heart—live confidently.


 

Joy in problems is a precious alleviation for the pain of despondency. 

Adversity University teaches valuable lessons you’d never learn otherwise.

Hang in there—character-building experiences draw you nearer Me.

My Spirit cascades through your personality bringing out-of-this-world joy. 

I intend to finish what I started in your life—enjoy the divine process.

The Mighty God energizes your heart—live delightfully


 

Peace in perplexity is a practical answer to the puzzle of distress.

Pressure will not crush you;  perplexity will not make you give up and quit;

     and getting knocked down will not stop your forward progress 

     if you follow My recipe for peace—

          pray about everything, and thank Me for answers;

          in response I will guard your mind and heart by thoughts of My Son. 

Peace is My gift—something the world cannot give or take from you. 

When perplexing cares crowd your inmost self, I am near to cheer your soul. 

When anxieties fill your mind, I am near to comfort and renew your faith.

The Prince of Peace reigns in your heart—live calmly.


 

Love in My Presence is priceless assurance in the pressures of doubt. 

I have marked you as belonging to Me by placing My Spirit in your heart.

Adam’s family line brings death, but Christ’s family line brings life.

Celebrate your identity, call Me Father, and count on your Greatest Friend.        

The name of the eternal city is The Lord Is There—that is why it is heaven

The Everlasting Father lives in your heart—live optimistically. 


 

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 © Pastor Johnny R. Almond

Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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Why I ThInk We Need to #ReimagineCHRISTIANITY...

Skye Jethani believes the word “evangelicalism” “has been problematic for a while because it’s become associated with a certain cultural expression of Christianity that is not solely gospel-centered.” In the same way that social media reveals the negativity that has always existed in human nature, evangelicalism has always had what Jethani calls “ungodly undercurrents.” Now, certain events in culture have revealed evangelicalism’s unhealthiness.
 

According to Jethani, the evangelical church in the U.S. has somewhat ironically fallen into some of the same errors as the medieval Roman Catholic Church. “The abuse of power, the exaltation of leadership, the financial shenanigans that went on, the selling of indulgences,” he said, are all abuses of which we can see parallels today.

“In my experience,” said Jethani, “what has helped dramatically is to root your faith far more in immediate, incarnate, intimate relationships, rather than merely hitching your wagon to an institution.”
 
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10533613899?profile=RESIZE_400xWhile reading the @TME 100 ...

"Three Ways Forward" - a report with articles by three international leaders from the World Economic Forum.

  1. The way forward is through partnerships.
  2. The way forward is by protecting our soli (the foundation of life)
  3. The way forward is driving innovation, meaningful social outcomes, and economic prosperity for all.

Sounds like something Jesus would say.

  • Partnerships - The unity of the Church
  • Soil - Pray for workers for the harvest to plant seed and reap the harvest
  • Creativity. Bless your community. Care for those with less,

Phil @

The Reimagine.Network

 

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GUEST POST: What Is a Biblical Worldview? Definitions, Dilemmas, and Dangers
 
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What Is a Biblical Worldview? Definitions, Dilemmas, and Dangers

Photo of Bobby HarringtonBobby Harrington | BioPhoto of Daniel McCoyDaniel McCoy | Bio

What is a biblical worldview, and does it matter?

A biblical worldview is a view of the world which seeks to answer life’s biggest questions from the teachings of the Bible. Many people see having a biblical worldview as unimportant. This includes non-Christians who see the world from a different worldview, as well as Christians who don’t want to apply what the Bible says to cultural issues or everyday life. Yet if the teachings of the Bible are true, then we do well to hold them up like a lantern to the rest of reality in order to illuminate the answers to life’s biggest questions.

Let’s explore what worldviews are, as well as the dilemmas and dangers we face when we study them.

What is a worldview?

At its simplest, a worldview is a person’s view of the world. It’s your framework for understanding reality and answering the big questions about it. It’s basically a roadmap for navigating reality. Here are a couple of metaphors that can be helpful: Your worldview is like a pair of glasses; it determines how you view the world. Your worldview is also like a jigsaw puzzle box top; it gives you the big picture so that you can make sense of the individual pieces and arrange them in place.


“Your worldview gives you the big picture so that you can make sense of the individual pieces and arrange them in place.”


There is overlap between your worldview and the grand story you believe about reality. Steve Wilkens and Mark L. Sanford, authors of Hidden Worldviews, describe worldviews as “cultural stories” we believe about reality. For example, if your worldview is “scientific materialism” (one of the eight worldviews described in their book), the story you believe about reality is that the physical world encompasses all reality—it is all that was, is, and will be.

What kinds of questions does your worldview help you answer?

Your view of the world helps you make sense of life’s biggest questions. Like what? Here are five common big-picture questions people have:

  • Origin: Where do I come from?
  • Identity: Who am I?
  • Meaning: What is my purpose?
  • Morality: How should I live?
  • Destiny: What happens when I die?

Christian philosopher Dallas Willard boils it down to three main worldview questions:

  • What counts as knowledge of reality?
  • Who is really well-off?
  • Who is a “really good” person?

“What counts as knowledge of reality? Who is really well-off? Who is a ‘really good’ person?”


James Sire, author of the landmark book on worldviews called The Universe Next Door, lists eight main questions:

  • What is prime reality—the really real?
  • What is the nature of the world around us?
  • What is a human being?
  • What happens to a person at death?
  • Why is it possible to know anything at all?
  • How do we know what is right and wrong?
  • What is the meaning of human history?
  • What personal, life-orienting core commitments are consistent with this worldview?

These are the kinds of questions thinking people have contemplated throughout history, and our answers to these big-picture questions shape how we live everyday life.

Why is it helpful to understand worldviews?

Thinking about worldviews can help you grow in empathy and pursue truth.

Empathy. “Worldview” may sound a bit philosophical and academic, but it’s actually one of the most important concepts you can understand if you want to grow in empathy. It might make zero sense to a Christian why another person may be uninterested in hearing her talk about the truth of the gospel (they explain that they’re happy she has her truth, but they have their own truth). It can help you be a lot more empathetic if you can understand the worldview of postmodernism they have embraced. When you take the time to consider the worldview another person is coming from, it can help you to not dismiss the person as crazy.


“When you take the time to consider the worldview another person is coming from, it can help you to not dismiss the person as crazy.”


Truth. We should always be seeking to form our lives around truth—so that 1) our beliefs align with reality and 2) our lifestyle aligns with our beliefs. Keeping the concept of worldviews in mind can help in both ways. For example, as you seek for your beliefs to align with reality, it is good to consider the big-picture questions people have asked and answered throughout history—and to line up the answers to explore which one best corresponds with reality. And as you seek to align your lifestyle with your beliefs, it is helpful to ask if you are living consistently with the beliefs you say you believe? If you’re a Christian, do you really trust God when you’re tempted to be anxious? Do you really worship God when you’re tempted to idolize fame or financial security?

It’s also worth mentioning that, if you’re a Christian, one of your core convictions will be that other people need Jesus too, for part of the core teaching of Scripture is that human beings are eternally lost without repentant faith in Jesus. Learning other people’s worldviews is key to knowing your audience when you get the opportunity to tell them about Jesus. The apostle Paul was a Jewish Bible scholar, and yet he knew the worldview of Stoicism well enough to where, when he was asked to address the Areopagus in Athens, he preached the gospel in a way that made sense to the Stoic mindset—and even quoted from Stoic poets (Acts 17:22-31).

What is a biblical worldview?

We want to be a little cautious here before delving too deeply too quickly. By focusing too much on a biblical worldview, we can make it seem like our faith is primarily a set of answers to questions. But the Bible wasn’t written first and foremost to be an answer book. It’s more of a storyline for humanity. This is why Wilkens and Sanford’s insight in Hidden Worldviews is especially helpful: Worldviews may help us answer life’s biggest questions, but worldviews are perhaps best described as “cultural stories” we believe about reality. In this light, the gospel of Jesus (his incarnation, death, resurrection, enthronement, return, etc.) is far more foundational than “the biblical worldview.” It’s insofar as we gather our answers to life’s biggest questions from the Christian gospel that we can say that we have a biblical worldview.


“The Bible wasn’t written first and foremost to be an answer book. It’s more of a storyline for humanity.”


So, onto our central question here. What is a biblical worldview? A biblical worldview is a view of the world which seeks to answer life’s biggest questions from the teachings of the Bible, with a special focus on the gospel storyline. As such, here is a sampling of basic biblical answers to some of these big-picture questions:

  1. Where do we come from? We are created by God.
  2. Who are we? We are the creatures God made in his image.
  3. What is our purpose? God created us to know and follow him as we fill the earth and reign over it as the managers he has put in charge.
  4. What is our core problem? We fall short of God’s glory because we pridefully resist his authority as a threat to our well-being.
  5. How is this problem solved? We turn from our self-centered ways and trust and give our allegiance to Jesus the Messiah as our Savior, Lord, and King, and he forgives us, fills us with his Spirit, and restores us to our original image.
  6. How should we live? We should live according to the way of Jesus the Messiah, which can be summarized as loving God and loving people as he teaches.
  7. What happens when we die? We are either with the Lord or apart from him for eternity, based on our relationship with Jesus through faith in him and his gospel.

     


“There are massive differences between the different worldviews.”


There are other big questions to answer, and some Christians may offer slight variations in the answers they give. But looking at different big-picture worldview answers is instructive: If we were to put together a chart with these questions as columns and include a different worldview per each row, it would quickly become clear that there are massive differences between the different worldviews. It would also clearly show that having a biblical worldview is far from a default perspective, even in a Christian-influenced part of the world like the Western world.

What other worldviews exist besides a biblical worldview?

If “worldview” is simply a person’s view of the world, then it would make sense that there are as many worldviews as there are people on the planet. Yet since worldviews typically zoom out to life’s biggest questions, we can categorize most people’s worldviews into a few basic ones.

There are helpful books which list some of the world’s most prominent worldviews. For example, the philosophy-oriented Worlds Apart: A Handbook on Worldview (Wipf and Stock, 2003) by Norman Geisler and William Watkin lists seven basic worldviews:

  • Theism: There is one God who created all.
  • Atheism: There is no God.
  • Pantheism: Everything is God.
  • Panentheism: God is in an eternal process of growing and becoming.
  • Deism: God created the world but doesn’t intervene in it.
  • Finite Godism: The God that exists is limited in some way (e.g., is not all-powerful)
  • Polytheism: There are many gods.

“James Sire walks through worldviews in a somewhat chronological order, based on the succession of dominant worldviews in the Western world.”


In Universe Next Door (IVP Academic, 2020), James Sire walks through worldviews in a somewhat chronological order, based on the succession of dominant worldviews in the Western world (adding a final one, Islamic theism, which is not yet dominant but is nonetheless growing in popularity):

  • Christian Theism: The triune God created all and restores us by grace through faith in Jesus.
  • Deism: God created the world but doesn’t intervene in it.
  • Naturalism: All that exists is the physical world.
  • Nihilism: There is no ultimate truth, meaning, or right and wrong.
  • Existentialism: We create our own truth and meaning.
  • Eastern Pantheistic Monism: We merge with the divine through meditative techniques learned from Eastern religions.
  • New Age-Spirituality: We combine elements of Eastern Pantheistic Monism (e.g., reincarnation and Eastern meditation) with popular psychology and occultic practices.
  • Postmodernism: The concept of absolute truth is a human construct used to get power, so we need to prioritize the stories of our own tribes and emphasize our own truth.
  • Islamic Theism: The singular God Allah created all and saves those who submit to him in obedience.

In Hidden Worldviews: Eight Cultural Stories That Shape Our Lives (InterVarsity, 2009), Steve Wilkens and Mark L. Sanford list eight worldviews which are often less obvious than a person’s religious affiliation, but which have massive influence under the surface in Western hearts and minds. In addition to the already-described worldviews of New Age, Postmodern Tribalism, and Scientific Naturalism, they discuss the following:

  • Individualism: My interests are the center of reality.
  • Consumerism: My worth is tied to what I own.
  • Nationalism: My nation is more above all.
  • Moral relativismMy truth is more important than the truth.
  • Salvation by Therapy: My deepest problems can be solved by psychology.

“Many people’s worldviews are syncretistic combinations of common worldviews.”


No list is perfect. For example, the highly influential religion of Buddhism doesn’t neatly fit into any of the worldviews listed above. As researchers are finding (see below), many people’s worldviews are syncretistic combinations of common worldviews. As an example, longtime researcher George Barna suggests that “America’s most popular worldview” is basically a combination of deism and “salvation by therapy” called “moralistic therapeutic deism” (a term coined by sociologist Christian Smith). Although lists like these are imperfect and can never really pinpoint a particular person exactly, such categorizations do help us in exploring common worldview answers to life’s biggest questions.

Does it matter whether you have a biblical worldview?

If the teachings of the Bible are true, then it absolutely matters whether you allow those beliefs to affect the way you view the world. To use common metaphors, if you don’t look at reality through the true worldview, then it’s like trying to make sense of thousands of individual puzzle pieces without the box top. Or it’s like trying to make sense of the outside world with a pair of glasses that distorts rather than bringing clarity.

George Barna released unfortunate news regarding how syncretistic the worldviews of Christians in America have recently become, whether parents or pastors. Most shocking of all is how, based on Barna’s 54-question survey taken by 1,000 Christian pastors (including senior, associate, teaching, children’s/youth, and executive pastors), “just slightly more than a third (37%) have a biblical worldview and the majority—62%—possess a hybrid worldview known as Syncretism.

Think about the implications. These are pastors and parents who call themselves Christian but have a worldview only partially informed by Scripture. With cultural winds blowing Western culture ever-farther from biblical Christianity, it will take an act of God for the people under these pastors’ and parents’ shepherding to develop a biblical view of the world.


“These are pastors and parents who call themselves Christian but have a worldview only partially informed by Scripture.”


If we’re looking at the world biblically, we will acknowledge a war going on in the realm of worldviews and how people think. Here’s how the apostle Paul articulated the war:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:3-5)

Church leaders are to equip and train people to “take captive every thought to make them obedient to Christ.” How we think and what we believe really matter. Statistics like those from Barna’s surveys (as well as perhaps stories in your own church and family) tell us that there are many, many spiritual shepherds who, far from demolishing arguments that contradict Christ, are welcoming wolves as guest lecturers. Instead of thinking according to the ways of Jesus, too many Christians are now thinking according to the ways of the world around us.


“…spiritual shepherds who, far from demolishing arguments that contradict Christ, are welcoming wolves as guest lecturers…”


What major dilemma unfolds as we study worldviews?

There are some people who prefer not to get involved in worldview disputes. They are happy to claim Switzerland-style neutrality when it comes to questions of ultimate truth. A problem that emerges for these people is that, when it comes to worldviews, everybody has one.

Let us say that again: everyone has a worldview.

Even the position that says, “Everybody’s truth is equally valid” is itself a worldview (“relativism”), which, if true, would mean that all contradicting worldviews are false. So, there’s no neutrality in the collision of worldviews. Everyone will have answers to big-picture questions which will slope their view toward or away from truth.


“Everyone will have answers to big-picture questions which will slope their view toward or away from truth.”


Unfortunately for people who prefer not to get involved in such debates, it’s actually more spiritual war than intellectual debate (again, see 2 Cor. 10:3-5 above), and each person is already on one side or another.

What are the potential dangers of teaching a biblical worldview?

Although it is a necessary thing to teach the biblical worldview to Christians (which both of us have done and continue to do), there are some potential pitfalls to be aware of. For one thing, if we teach biblical answers to only a narrow list of worldview questions, we’ll have a disproportionate, almost checklist style of faith formation. It’s possible to think, okay, if we just get them to believe Christianly in this list of areas, then it’ll be a foolproof path to lifelong faithfulness. Many Christian traditions have taken this narrow approach. But faith formation is more all-of-life, a matter of holistic, relational discipleship—of heart, soul, mind, and strength—not of checking answers on a test of worldview questions.

Another potential danger: It’s easy to consider a person’s worldview (let’s say the person is a Muslim) and assume you know most of the relevant spiritual information about the person. Is it helpful to know about the official answers given to life’s biggest questions according to the person’s religious persuasion? Yes. But individuals are more complex than that. Nothing can substitute for relational interaction and genuine care.


“Nothing can substitute for relational interaction and genuine care.”


Here’s a final danger to be aware of: It is possible for well-meaning preachers and teachers to use biblical worldview training as an opportunity to sneak in teaching which is more about the cultural and political leanings of the teacher than about what the Bible actually teaches. Let’s say you were wanting to dissuade your students from embracing socialism as an economic system. Training your students in the virtues of free market capitalism and the failures of socialistic policies is one thing. But doing so and calling it “biblical worldview training” is a stretch. It’s probably better to reserve the term “biblical worldview” for the bigger questions which the Bible provides clear answers on.

What’s dangerous about not teaching a biblical worldview?

Have you thought about what your Christianity or discipleship becomes when it remains disconnected from how Scripture answers life’s biggest questions? In other words, when we claim to be disciples, but we get our actual views of reality from somewhere else? For too many, Christianity has become a personal, inspirational, watered-down “faith” without any meaningful implication for how we live life. As Christian sociologist Os Guinness lamented, “Many Christians have a faith too privatized. Privately engaging, publicly irrelevant. It’s not integrated.”

Where should we start in teaching a biblical worldview?

To start with, every disciple and every child raised in a Christian home needs to know the basic worldview of Scripture, with a focus on the gospel. Church leaders have an obligation to make that framework crystal clear. It is the priority in disciple-making homes and churches. We teach preachers and elders, who tell us they want to shift to disciple making, to start with this focus first. We teach leaders to start with the gospel itself. Make it clear for the people.


“Start with the gospel itself. Make it clear for the people.”


New Testament scholar Matthew Bates helpfully summarizes the gospel, our response to it, and its benefits for us in the following ways:

What is the gospel?

Jesus is the saving king who[1]

  1. preexisted as God the Son,
  2. was sent by the Father,
  3. took on human flesh in fulfillment of God’s promises to David,
  4. died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
  5. was buried,
  6. was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
  7. appeared to many witnesses,
  8. is enthroned at the right hand of God as the ruling Christ,[2]
  9. has sent the Holy Spirit to his people to effect his rule, and
  10. will come again as final judge to rule.

What is the gospel response?

Our response to the gospel is faith, which is allegiance, loyalty, and faithfulness to Jesus the king.

What are the gospel’s benefits?

The gospel’s benefits for those who have faith is new life in the forgiveness of sin, the indwelling Holy Spirit, new identity, purpose, kingdom life here and in eternity, and all of God’s promises for the new heaven and new earth.

Conclusion

Again, there is a bigger storyline to a biblical worldview, but the gospel is the magnificent core.

In Scripture, God gives us the true view of the world. Everyone will be blessed by knowing and believing it. So, let’s share the gospel and Scripture’s answers to life’s biggest questions. As we do so, we help the people we disciple think and live with Jesus Christ at the center, in a way that is personally and publicly relevant.

And in so doing, we will invite a hearing for the truthfulness of our faith in a rapidly changing world that needs the hope of a biblical worldview now more than ever.


[1] Matthew Bates, The Gospel Precisely: Surprisingly Good News about Jesus the King (Renew, 2021).

[2] The reason Bates italicizes #8 is that Jesus’ enthronement is often repeated in the New Testament as the gospel’s climax. 

 

 

 

Book by Richard A. Knopp
An Introduction to Knowing Truth about our Creator
 
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Holy Hurricane

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Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind—

no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building.

Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks

and they started speaking in a number of different languages

as the Spirit prompted them.

                                Acts 2:2-4 THE MESSAGE

 

 

Let My Divine Wind blow through your life and cleanse you of iniquity.

     I sweep away moral trash if you turn your heart in My direction.

     I move you toward My will if you turn your heart away from all evil.

     I flood you with light if you firmly refuse to walk in perverse darkness. 

     I purify you if you let My holy hurricane roar through your inner being.

     I burn away all undesirable elements if you let Me baptize you with fire.

     I reassure you of My love if you nestle near My heart and detest sin.

     I give you joy too wonderful for words if you trust My omniscient mind.

 

Let My Vitalizing Breath ignite your passion and set your soul aflame.

     I resurrect you to new life if you desert your egocentric deadness.

     I soak you with My Spirit Rain if you grow tired of emotional drought.

     I help the young envision a brighter future if you believe My promises.

     I help the old dream of a painless, tearless, deathless day if you trust Me.

     I let you find life’s noblest purpose if you serve Me wholeheartedly.

     I embolden you to live courageously if you hold My omnipotent hand.

 

Let My Holy Spirit change you from inside out and revolutionize your life.

     I cheer your heart if you become intoxicated with heaven’s sweet wine.

     I lead you to know the truth if you turn a deaf ear to Satan’s propaganda.

     I help you speak My native tongue if you are weary of the Devil’s dialect.

     I teach you to speak beautiful languages if you want to learn them—

       sacrificial love, not selfish talk; invulnerable joy, not ungrateful whining;

       calm peace, not restless chatter; lasting patience, not ignorant criticism;

       kindness, not insensitive small talk; lavish generosity, not stingy self-talk;

       dutiful loyalty, not dropout talk; angelic gentleness, not rude sarcasm;

       supernatural self-control, not indulgent devilspeak.

     I inspire spontaneous creativity if you do not extinguish My eternal flame.

     I energize you to do what pleases Me if you rely on My unlimited grace.

     I empower you to accomplish all I ask if you trust My almighty power.

     I grant you pleasure of my company if you seek My omnipresent Spirit.

 

I am able to do infinitely more than you could ever ask, wish, or imagine.   

     Pray your highest prayer—I will answer by sculpting you into My image. 

     Tell Me your deepest desire—I will bless you by giving you My desires. 

     Share your fondest dream with Me—I will make it come true in My time.

     I am your Center of Gravity—be sure you never stifle My Spirit!

 

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© Pastor Johnny R. Almond

Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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The Last Word

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  See, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me,

            to repay all according to their deeds.

               I am the Alpha and the Omega,

   the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 

                       Revelation 22:12, 13 NLT

 

 

 

 

I am the Omega, the Last—the Immortal, Ever-present, Unchanging God.

My Kingdom is coming—sin’s night will not restrain salvation’s dawn.

My promises will materialize—heaven’s perfect peace will last forever.

I will write the end of earth’s story and the beginning of eternity’s—

     a never-ending story of unimaginable love.

Until then, Light beyond light illumines the winding road home.

 



Omniscient—My truth outweighs the trivial.

     I am the Counselor, wisely guiding you through life’s perplexing maze.    

     Exercise uncommon sense to trust Me, and I will teach you how to live.

     I reward humility with the incomparable perfection of My counsel.

 



Merciful—My tenderness out-loves the transgression.

     I am the Wonderful One, helping you persevere in moral struggles.

     My grace helps you succeed; My mercy helps you recover from defeat.

     I reward repentance with the infinite pardon of My compassion.

 



Eternal—My tomorrow outlasts the temporary.

     I am the Everlasting Father, stabilizing you in life’s changing situations.   

     Focus on the Bright Morning Star—you’ll see My face when night is over.

     I reward hope with the inevitable promise of My coming.

 



Gracious—My tranquility outshines the turmoil.

     I am the Prince of Peace, quieting you in the chaos of life’s trouble.

     Do not wring your hands—fold them in prayer and I will care for you.

     I reward prayer with the incomprehensible peace of my calm.

 



Almighty—My triumph outdoes the trembling.

     I am the Mighty God, energizing you for battles with the evil one.

     I reward trust with the inspiring pleasure of My company.

     I spoke the first word—and darkness was dispelled by light.

     I will have the last word—and guilt will be conquered by grace.

 

                                 

                           © Pastor Johnny R. Almond

                  Day 366, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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The Way to the Truth of Life

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                       I am the way, the truth, and the life.

          No one can come to the Father except through me.

                                     John 14:6 NLT

  

 

 

Sallman Head of Christ 

 

 

 

 

I am the only Road that leads to the destination of glory.

     Convicted of sin, do a repentant U-turn and travel the King’s Highway.     

     Challenged by righteousness, set out to be like your Sinless Savior.

     Convinced of judgment, make a conscious effort to prepare yourself.

     My death on the cross paved the highway to the Father’s future.

     My blood on your soul marks you as a child of God He will not disown.      

     Follow the Way—and be confident of reaching heaven.

 

I am the only Reality that defines goodness.

     Lied to by the dark prince, turn a deaf ear to his brainwashing.

     Led by the Spirit of truth, listen well and learn life’s greatest lessons.

     Loved by the One knowing you best, stay near and enjoy My company.

     My light liberates you to sing for joy in the Father’s freedom.

     My Spirit in your mind teaches you truth you would not learn otherwise.

     Learn the Truth—and be changed for good from the inside out.

 

I am the only Redeemer who distributes grace.

     Attacked by the evil one, do not forget that he is a hateful killjoy.

     Attracted by the Holy Spirit, surrender and know life in all its fullness.

     Approved by the Father, revel in His love and rest assured of heaven.

     My promise guarantees the bright tomorrow of the Father’s festival.

     My melody in your heart instructs you in faith’s dance of joy.

     Celebrate the Life—and be cheerful in all circumstances.

 

I am the Way to the Truth of Life.

     Your search for heaven, significance, and vitality ends in My heart.

 

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© Pastor Johnny R. Almond

Day 323, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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Wearing God's Name

In Antioch the disciples were first given the name of “Christians.”

                                Acts 10:26 NTME

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Wear My Name humbly.

     You did not choose Me—I chose to charm you to My heart.

     Stay out of dark, dingy places—walk as a child of the Light.

     Remember who you belong to—conduct yourself as one of Christ’s.

 

 

 

Wear My Name freely.

     I save you from evil’s power, removing hellacious handcuffs—rejoice.

     Let My Holy Spirit cascade through your inner being—dance for joy.

     You are My subject in time and eternity—live royally, like your King.

 


Wear My Name confidently.

     By faith you will reach the tearless, painless, deathless, sinless place.

     Trust Me, and rest assured My promises will all come true.

     You are named for One who is Truth—never doubt My Word.

 


Wear My Name honorably.

     Do not try to get your name up in lights—I am the Light of the world.

     You are part of My kingdom of priests—heaven’s nobility on earth.

     You are My ambassador to the world—represent Me well.

 


Wear My Name joyfully.

     Satan destroys influence, kills joy, and steals enthusiasm—watch out.

     My Presence comforts, guides, instructs, and defends you—be glad.

     A frown is a poor advertisement for Christianity—whistle in the dark.

 


Wear My Name comfortably.

     I direct traffic patterns of constellations—I also orchestrate your life.

     I hold the universe together—and I understand and stand under you.

     I cheer your soul when you are down—remember you are Mine and relax.

 


Wear My Name optimistically.

     Mention of My Name will bring the universe to its knees—count on it.

     My promises brighten the future—march forward with head held high.

     Because You wear My Name, I remember yours—look forward to glory.
 

  

                                        © Pastor Johnny R. Almond                               
                            Day 328, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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Jesus took my rebellion and independence and restored to me daily fellowship with God.

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him (Isaiah 53:6).

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one (John 17:22).

  • My lack and need: rebellion, independence
  • Jesus’ gift: restored fellowship
  • Kingdom reality established: I have fellowship with God, Eden restored, walks in the garden in the cool of the day.
  • Kingdom emotions experienced: I feel loved, accepted, warmed, and inspired.

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GUEST POST: How to Ask Good Questions in Discipleship

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Jesus is our model for disciple making.  In the following article, Matt Dabbs, an experienced disciple maker and church planter, shares what he has learned about a crucial component of discipling people, and that is, asking questions. 

We often think of discipleship—which is the state of being a disciple—as something that leans heavily on bible education.  But Jesus shows us that there is so much more, especially the way he asked good questions.
          – Bobby Harrington

In John 5:6 Jesus asked a paralyzed man, “Do you want to get well?”

The answer doesn’t take a masters degree to figure out. Of course a paralyzed person wants to get well. However, there is more to this question than that. Does this man want to take on a life that is required of him when he is able and has full agency? More will be expected of him on the other side of healing. The truth is, some people would rather stay with what they already know than get better. Health can be far scarier than paralysis for some. It is important that he owns the answer to Jesus’ question before Jesus heals him.

Or, how about Matthew 8:26 where in the middle of a raging storm Jesus asks his disciples, “Why are you so afraid?”

Again, the answer is obvious… or maybe it isn’t. The sentence right before the question is, “You of little faith.” They are with Jesus. They don’t need to be afraid. However, fear is a natural human emotion that is understandable in those kinds of circumstances. Instead of saying, “Don’t be afraid,” he asks them ‘why’ they are afraid, and it is important that they wrestle with their own answer to Jesus’ question. They might not all have the same answer!

Both the paralyzed man and the disciples in the boat have something in common. They are both learning and growing in their faith and Jesus is working with them.

Like Jesus, when we disciple people, we need to use questions. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come natural to many of us. Try this–the next time you meet with someone (or a group) you are discipling, take a mental note of how many times you use declarative sentences versus interrogative sentences (periods vs. question marks). The next time you meet with this same group, try to convert some of your statements into questions.

So much of our teaching can be done most effectively when we let people wrestle with things rather than by simply telling them things. When you feel like telling someone who you are discipling something, make sure you aren’t short-circuiting their learning process. Stop for a moment and consider if what you are trying to teach them might best be learned by converting your statement into a question–then work through their answer with them.

When all of our instruction ends in periods rather than question marks, we can create disciples who are far too dependent upon us for the answers. The reality is that it can feel good to have people depend on you for answers and wisdom, but if the goal is for them to learn, then it isn’t about what makes you feel good as their guide, but rather, what it takes to grow them closer to Jesus. We can also feel like we aren’t a successful teacher if the person you are discipling doesn’t get it right away. We can buffer that anxiety a bit when we ‘tell’ rather than ‘ask,’ because it is much harder to determine if those being discipled get what we have taught when we tell rather than when we ask.

Here are ten questions to add to your disciple-making repertoire:

  • What is the Holy Spirit trying to teach you in this moment?
  • How do you navigate this decision in a way that upholds your integrity?
  • How can I really help you? (Matt 20:32)
  • What do you need most from God right now?
  • What is keeping you from doing what you know you are supposed to do (obedience)?
  • What good thing is God doing in your life today that we can celebrate together?
  • What is on your mind/what are you thinking in your heart? (Luke 5:22)
  • What is one thing you are going to do with what you just learned?
  • Who is someone with whom you can share what you learned?
  • What is God doing in your life right now?

These are a few questions that can work in concert with your learning to convert your statements into questions. This allows the person you are discipling to have some investment in and ownership of the conversation and the process they are walking through. Questions allow people to turn from passive recipients of a disciple-making process to active and engaged participants. The level of growth and maturity you can see through shifting from declaratives to interrogatives can be huge!

For King Jesus,

Matt Dabbs

 

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This article is one segment of "Mini-Course" 101: ReimagineDISCIPLESHIP...

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