Below is the beginnings of a discipleship curriculum for discipling a small group of Christ-followers. It was quickly put together for a tentmaker, now missionary, friend in Thailand who is involved in discipling leaders in people movement in Burma. So see it as a draft—a work in progress. Use it and build on it further. Where it is can be most helpful is as an approach to thinking about discipling.
A discipleship curriculum is a curriculum of obedience. Jesus said that making disciples means “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Discipling then is teaching or leading people to obey all Christ taught, what Paul called, “the whole counsel of God.” (Ac 20:27) This ultimately covers every aspect of life—work, family, friends, enemies, authorities, the poor, politics, recreation, sex, money, possessions…everything. We are called to “do all to the glory of God.” (1 Co 10:31)
Discipling begins with modeling everything we teach people to do. Jesus called the 12 “to be with him” so that they could see and imitate what he did. They copied him and so learned to do things they thought impossible before. So our starting point in discipling is to live what we teach and show other disciples how. Where we do not have it all together, we freely admit it and work together to learn Jesus’ ways in that area. We too are fellow disciples following the same Lord.
What we must not do is merely transfer concepts. We must do the truth and we must learn to lead our disciples to do it as well. (Our disciples means those entrusted to our care. In a real sense, they are following us—they are imitators of us, as we are of Christ. 1 Cor 11:1) So it is vital to establish a pattern of doing what we learn from God as we work together. For this reason, much of our discipling should happen in the midst of life and in the midst of serving others as Jesus did with the disciples. Much of their discipling took place as they cared for others individually and in crowds. Then they digested more as they talked along the road. So look for similar ways to disciple key people.
And do it in a group 99% of the time. Jesus was constantly working with the twelve and occasionally with three. They discussed all their personal issues in front of the rest of the twelve, sometimes very personal issues. This accelerates learning and lessens the burden on the leader which is very important for tentmakers who are working.
And whom do you invite to join your discipleship group? The responsive—to God and to you. This means that they follow and obey God as they hear his truth and they follow you in leading them. (This do not mean mindless compliance. You want the thinking and questioning and internalizing God’s heart and mind. And none of us fully know the truth.) A discipleship group by definition must be designed to require doing/obeying the truth. If you have people in the group who aren’t doing this, you are beating your head against the wall and need to find responsive people.
I never excluded anyone from the group. They were welcome to come if they would keep the group covenant—that they will attend every meeting unless prevented by an “act of God,” i.e., something totally beyond their control like sickness or an accident, and second, that they will do whatever God shows us as we study together. In this way, people self-disqualify themselves from the group.
So, with that background, here is my initial letter to Chris.
I’ve been working on/thinking about this. You don’t know how big a question you asked. I collected a list of 10 of the best books on discipleship. However, they have different focuses (foci) and cover parts of the task.
When I discipled students into leaders at Johns Hopkins, I developed my own plan for discipling. I began by asking “What do I want to see in their lives as disciples of Christ?” or better, “What does God want to see?” By that I meant outcomes in terms of being and doing, measurable changes in the right direction for each important area of following Jesus. I looked for this plan on my computer, but I developed it before computers mostly. I probably have it somewhere on paper, but I’ve not yet found it. If I do, I’ll send it to you (Have to scan it).
For now, let me start the list/plan here with my thoughts. In a way, it’s a curriculum. But it’s not just a statement of content to cover. It’s an outline of changes I want to see in people’s thinking, being, and doing. By “thinking” I mean how/what they in their “heart of hearts” really think and choose, thus who they really are and how they really live.
This has an immediate implication for how we disciple—it must be personal. However, by personal, I do not mean one-on-one, but rather ongoing relationship with a small enough group of people that I can really know them and they each other and what is happening in their lives and hearts (though never fully). In fact, such discipling ideally calls for a small group of 6 to 12. While you will meet 1-to-1 at times outside the actual discipleship group, you never want to lead a group of less than two (and that is extremely low) b/c the interpersonal dynamic changes. You become the guru and it becomes extremely awkward (impossible) to state the full power of many passages. Also, you lose the dynamic of working together to help others in the group since there are only 2 of you. That includes member of the group working together to help you as the leader. In the end, you are a brother under Jesus’ authority just like them, even while you are the elder brother.
First, Biblical framework of approach. I really believe in the authority and power of Scripture in people’s lives. So, I always teach each truth/discipleship area directly from a key relevant passage of Scripture. This is God’s authority, not mine. Further, in so doing, people are learning to study and learn from and apply Scripture from the start. They are learning the practiced authority of Scripture. So, find a key Scripture passage for each topic/issue/truth and teach from that. Ideally, lead an inductive Bible study on the text as the foundation for the teaching.
Second, purpose & orientation of the group. The purpose of the group is to follow Christ in all that he commands (Mt 28). The group does not meet just to gain knowledge for passing along to others, but to follow (obey) and imitate Christ as Lord in everything he shows us in the group. The diversity of the group will bring greater insights and perspectives to the group in understanding Christ’s teaching. But we are committed to doing what he shows us and to serving him together. So actually working together in two’s and three’s during the week and sometimes as a whole group is normal.
At JHU I asked everyone who wanted to be a part of the group to commit to this: Whatever God/Christ shows us, we are going to do. Sometimes this involved direct actions in obeying him. Other times it involved changing our thinking/perspective in important ways which resulted in different perspectives, attitudes and actions. Besides this commitment, we only asked for one other commitment: –to be at every meeting unless an act of God prevented us, by which we meant something from God’s providence over which we had no control. (eg, being sick and throwing up, a sudden death in our family, etc. You get the idea.) For the group to work, people have to be committed to each other and to the whole process of growth through which we are working. Of course, this is beginning to teach one key component of obedience to Christ—keeping one’s word—letting your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no. (I found that group meetings need to be at least at 1½ hours long and 2 is better and meet weekly if at all possible.)
Third, flow & structure of content. I sought to build the flow of truth/discipleship practices in a step-by-step flow, setting the foundation first and then building on that. Foundational to all of discipleship is commitment to Christ’s Lordship. Then, practicing the means of grace (spiritual disciplines), understanding the gospel more Biblically, fellowship-co-laboring in serving God, and getting started in evangelism-disciple-making. These are all basic, foundational aspects of following Jesus. Then, from there we need to build further, including getting into Christian worldview and apologetics, plus many other issues.
Lordship – reorientation – surrender to Christ as Lord is fundamental to who he is. This was the confession of the early church for good reason. Today most Christians think it is optional, thus they are not basically surrendered to Christ many times. (This raises questions about their new birth—Were they ever really born from above? Are they in fact, new creations in Christ or do they still need to be saved? However, I focus on surrendering, not on whether or not they are Christians.)
Everything else flows from this. Acknowledging and surrendering to Christ’s Lordship is exactly what repentance is all about. (You can see some of the key passages you could use on this topic.) This is positive and not merely negative. We turn from being self-centered to being God-centered, seeing for the first time how incredible is his grace and love toward us—totally underserved and un-attracted by our lives. So we begin to feel deep thankfulness, to adore, and to long to know God and to please him. This leads to the next foundational practices of discipleship—Bible study/meditation and prayer (quiet time).
Bible study-Meditation. We need more than Bible reading. We need to read like someone in love, seeking to understand fully what the One we love is telling us. This means we will learn to study the Bible effectively so that we are able to see what it is saying vs. our cultural or personal read-into it. And we will be able to determine that we have understood with some accuracy what God saying through the original inspired author. So, you need to train in inductive Bible study—how to let the data control our conclusion so that disciples read out of the text what the author is saying vs reading into the text what they think. When they can do this, they are able to feed themselves. This does not mean they will get everything right immediately, but they will continually understand more of Scripture more accurately. Effective inductive study is the only way to take the authority of Scripture seriously. The tentmaking course CD has a lot of material on this. If you can’t find it, I can send some.
In my thinking, it is great to teach this early on and then to build all discipling on inductive Bible study of relevant passages of Scripture. By so doing, you are constantly building from the authority of Scripture, training in a way of thinking, studying, and responding to Scripture/God, and developing self-feeding disciples who can continue learning and leading the church among their people.
Perspective: Scripture clearly calls us to meditate on it. This means thinking about it and its meaning and how our lives align with it. Oral cultures can more easily do this than Western by memorizing and then reviewing-analyzing-reflecting on the passage over and over. Using pencil and paper is just another way of doing this which enables this process further. Also, we should never study Scripture academically just to learn ideas. We should always put into practice what God shows us which involves not only obedience, but worship, thanksgiving, crying out to God, repentance, etc., whatever is appropriate to the text.
Finally, we must lead people to establish Bible study-meditation (and prayer), closet time with God, as one of the first habits of their Christian lives on which everything else builds. Practically, people may not be able to study everyday depending on their temperament and situation. If so, then they can structure their week so some days they read-meditate and pray, and one to three longer blocks of time to really study. The idea is to steadily keep progressing in understanding more of Scripture (and learning how to study it). The practice of prayer must be integrated into this discipline, but it also needs additional training focused on it.
Prayer. Lord’s (Disciple’s) Prayer as model—centered on seeking God’s honor, reign, and pleasure (will) and asking for our needs to fulfill these goals ourselves—daily provision, forgiveness for past sin, and deliverance/empowering to not give in to temptation to dishonor, displease, or rebel in any way. Praying in his name as requisitioning as his emissary that which we need to fulfill what he calls us to do. Interceding for others and petitioning for ourselves in concert with the Lord’s Prayer. Also, spending time enjoying his presence, looking at his beauty and glory, and listening to him.
Gospel – Let me go on to say that we actually need to teach (re-teach) the complete gospel to lead people into a more true, adequate, and saving understanding of the gospel. The reality is that our preaching of the gospel today is distorted by our desire to make it attractive (a good sales pitch) and to minimize offense. As a result we have watered it down and defused it. As a result, many in our churches are not truly saved, they are not supernaturally re-born. They are stillborn—merely Christians in name without new life within them b/c they’ve never really heard the real gospel. Others are anemic. They are actually supernaturally re-born and thus show some genuine signs of life, but very weakly b/c they wrongly think there is no necessity for them to really submit to Christ, though the Spirit within them inclines them toward that. This distorted gospel comes out of the US, but as you know, the US has the greatest influence worldwide in exporting our thinking globally. I know from observation and experience that this is a global issue. This is certainly a big part of the reason we have such a huge exodus out the back door of churches around the world even when there is a huge in-flow through the front door.
So, I find the need to work through the key truths of the gospel—the majesty or “Godness” of God and his rightful ownership of us, our revolt against him, his utter holiness and righteous anger/judgment against the sinner (Note: Not merely against sin, but against the sinner. The Bible clearly affirms this in numerous places , most notably Rom. 1:18 & 2:4-5. Just as God loves people personally, so he also takes sin personally b/c it is personal. It is anti-God acts and orientation.), his incredible and extravagant love for rebels in sacrificing (punishing) his only Son who willingly (joyfully) gives his life as a payment for our rebellion, so that all who give up their revolt and surrender to him and trust wholly in him are fully pardoned and also supernaturally transformed by the power of the Spirit so that they are then able to obey and begin to do so.
Note the specific words and flow of thinking. It is crucial. The points all interrelate so that you teach each truth to show how it clearly leads to the next and flows out of the previous. Feel free to ask me about anything you have questions about. I realize the previous statement is very compressed and needs to be filled out. You would find Walt Chantry’s Today’s Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic? very helpful, though very strong. Don’t let that prevent you from benefiting from it. If he’s right, he has reason to be strong. An alternative would be Metzger’s Tell the Truth which indirectly comes out of the thinking expressed in this book. There are others who’ve talked about this, but these are two of the clearest. You can get these from Amazon, though I don’t know how easily you can order from Thailand. I can help if necessary. There is another book I’m reading right now which I one of the best I’ve read relating to the distortion of the gospel in our culture. It is much more analytical and insightful into the culture vs Scripture, heavier reading, but very articulate—David Wells, God in the Wasteland:The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams. I am very sorry I did not read it when it 1st came out.
Let me fill this out a little further. To paraphrase Tozer: Our perception of God determines everything else about us.
The bigness of God’s love and grace depends on the bigness of his saving grace.
The bigness of his saving grace depends on the bigness of our offense against Him.
The bigness of our offense depends on the bigness of our obligation to God.
And the bigness of our obligation to God depends of the bigness of God Himself.
Or, in reverse: If we have a small view of God, we have a small view of our duty to Him; and if we have a small view of our duty to Him, then we have a small view of our offense against Him, and if we have a small view of our offense against Him, then we have a small view of His saving grace. And this is the situation today. (I’ve attached “The Godness of God – Handout” on this plus “Gospel.”)
I usually take at least 2 sessions to work through these truths Biblically. Remember that the purpose is not to cover as much truth as possible, but to get as much truth as possible into people’s hearts and lives. That’s the measure of success. These sessions obviously relate to Lordship, so they can be done together with it in the opening times together. But you can also wait and work on the gospel a little later on.
The Call to Christ’s Global Mission
Integrate the key mission passages –
Mar 8:38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (cf. Luk 9:26)
It is impossible to be Jesus’ disciple without allegiance to him and his claim upon all humans. Thus it is impossible to be his disciple without commitment to his message.
Jn 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
As the Father sent Jesus into the world to demonstrate, proclaim and create the gospel through his life, death and resurrection, so he sends us into the world to finish his mission. This is central to our very identity as well as task.
Mat 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
First, Christ calls all Christians to his mission of reaching the world. There is no separate, special call into the ministry which lets the rest of the church off the hook for reaching the whole world. I believe it is very important to teach the Biblical truth about calling which is first to God/Christ himself in total surrender of all we are and have to his Lordship. Thus we are also all called to his announce his claims and to carry out his mission.
The Bible nowhere supports a special call to the ministry. In the NT, there is no longer any special class of priest, there is no clergy, thus there is no laity, but only the people of God who are all called to be a “holy, royal priesthood…toproclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Pet. 2:5, 9)
Along with the special ministry call come the concepts of special training and of “full-time” ministry. This has caused enormous damage to the church by communicating that you cannot do much ministry because you don’t have the special training, and even worse, that the most consecrated, committed, elevated ministry is “full-time.” This teaching severely marginalizes the vast majority of the church as second class citizens, and largely redefines all non- ministry work as secular work in contrast to the sacred ministry. This tragically distorts the understanding of work, of ministry, and of calling and thus all of discipleship.
Not only is this view of calling negated by NT priesthood of all believers, but also by the actual examples of Paul and his co-workers who were fully self-supporting throughout their ministry for the sake of the gospel. The level of their leadership and impact matches or surpasses any full-time worker that I have heard of. Paul was one of two top leaders of the church as a workplace witness. He carried the highest authority in the church along with Peter. So our requirements and expectations of highest leaders being “full-time” and having seminary degrees is not supported by Scripture and is handicapping the church. For more on Paul’s self-support model, see
So we need to lead people into a Biblical understanding of calling and work (more on this later), and into a Biblical understanding that every Christian is called to full engagement in Christ’s global mission. If you’d like more input on this, let me know.
Second, Christ’s command is to “make disciples who observe everything [he has] commanded.” He does not call us to make converts, but disciples whom he defines as those whom we teach to obey everything he has commanded us. These are the sheep he counts and whom we are to count.
When we count “converts,” we end up counting anyone who shows some positive response toward Jesus including many who have never surrendered to him as Lord and been supernaturally born from above. Thus they are Christians in name only (nominal Christians) and not real Christ-ones. Further, we “disciple” genuine Christians into an anemic, world-conforming lifestyle.
Christ does not need votes. He wants Christlike, Christ-devoted disciples. According to Eph 5:25-27,Christ’s goal is a holy, spotless, magnificent bride. Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
As this is our Lord’s objective, so too it must be ours. Thus we must embrace his command to “make disciples” and learn to make the kind who obey all that he commands.
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
This is not command, but prophecy. It is not demand, but promise. Jesus is proclaiming what will happen as a result of the coming of the Spirit in NT fullness to God’s people. They will be Jesus’ witnesses in ever expanding circles beginning with Jerusalem and extending to the end of the earth. What hope and confidence.
The Call to the Church, God’s restored family (major ideas only)
Fellowship as sharing together what we have in common in Christ and thus sharing together in knowing him and making him known.
Church is God’s restored family. We do not get to choose our brothers and sisters. We are required to accept all Christians who demonstrate a credible profession of faith. All the divisions within the Church are ultimately wrong. We are called to stick together in the Family and to work through issues and conflicts, submitting to and learning from each other.
No talking about each other to others, but only talking with each other when we have any tension. Obey Christ’s command about relating to one another.
Love. Everyone knows Christians are called to love, but love has been grotesquely diminished and distorted today. So we need to teach the Biblical understanding of love—seeking the welfare/best good of another at whatever cost to ourselves. It is not merely an emotional feeling. In fact, we sometimes have to love despite natural feelings. It is a settled commitment/disposition to seek the true good of the other person without conditions (thus costly) and it enjoys what is good in the other. It is thus a supernatural activity, impossible apart from the grace of God. Non-believers are only capable of give-and-take love—of reciprocal love. I Cor 13 is obvious here along with 1 John’s teaching on love.
In the romantic arena, this gives the lie to any premarital sex which is only self-serving and self-gratifying. It is also totally unnecessary and useless in determining “compatibility” even in this narrow arena. If a person feels desire/attraction toward the other person, they already know that area can work, and any idea of working on making sure it is good enough is absurd, b/c it can sometimes take years of practice to work out fuller satisfaction, as per our experience. Of course, there are all kinds of other gratifications in romantic love like enjoying the other’s admiration of our wonderful qualities, enjoying their affection (apart from physical), enjoying their personality, and on and on. This is why some social scientists have recognized romantic love as (one of) the most self-centered and selfish in human experience. I used to tell Kendra when we were dating (after having fully discussed this Biblically) that I adored her, enjoyed her, etc, and I was trying to love her. I recognized that I received so much gratification from her that I had little chance to sacrificially love her (though that has come since, possibly more for her than for me!). I was not trying to be anti-romantic, but to help us both to think more deeply re loving each other to withstand the tests of time and to love each other better. We are still learning and seeking more grace.
You can also see the obvious implications for love in all other relationships—parents, siblings, friends, customers, bosses, government authorities, etc. I believe that the most pivotal, practical word for practicing genuine love in all these relationships is servanthood. This conveys the idea of seeking the best good of the other person in the humble posture of being their servant (slave). But, this understanding of “seeking the best good” automatically involves discernment of what true good is. We cannot simply meet people’s felt need when that need is evil. That is indulgence and enabling. And that is destructive and unloving. Seeking another’s true good requires Biblical judgment based upon moral absolutes so that what we do genuinely helps rather than harms. Though sometimes hard to discern, this bases loving on solid, objective ground, rather than mere subjectivity which is destroying lives in America.
From here, we need to work on specific relationships because these are central to all of life and to all discipleship. God has made a personal world, ie, of real persons so that the whole world of physical things, plants, and animals are to be developed for the blessing of human persons ultimately bringing glory and pleasure to God, the ultimate Person. (Thus there can be no raping of the environment, but only stewarding.)
This is the focus of the 10 commandments—loving God and loving people. Thus personal relationships are crucial for living out the gospel. The gospel must change all of our relationships. At the core of all human relationships is family centered in the husband-wife relationship and extending immediately to the children and then on to extended family. Ultimately, all families/people on earth are extended family from the one original family created in the likeness of God. God designed human life so that family is at the cores and the health of all other relationships radiates out from that core.
You will recognize that all I said about family grows out of the early chapters of Genesis and is further developed through the Bible in its teaching on the Fall-revolt, the teaching and commands, redemption, and final restoration. All of these great revelatory pieces must be brought into our teaching and call to obedience as disciples. BTS, this applies to every single aspect of living life under Christ’s Lordship.
So, how does God call us to live out relationships with:
Parents. Honoring them better than we ever did before coming to Christ including respect, caring for them, helping them, yet without dishonoring or betraying God in any way. It is usually possible to honor God and parents without alienating them or disrespecting them.
This is so important that it is worth a brief aside on how to respond to unsaved parents when children come to Christ. Let me explain through a real example.
In Catholic countries, Ruth Siemens counseled new believers not to run tell their parents about their wonderful new relationship with God through Christ and how they needed to come to Christ. Rather, she told them to honor/love their parents like they never had before and correct/confess any wrongs they had done and to make amends. Also, they were to seek to affirm their parents everywhere they honestly could for the good they had done for them. And simply let their joy in Christ show, including through brief comments, but never with extended “preaching.” Wait for their parents to ask about the change. Then when they ask, affirm them for whatever they did which helped prepare the new believer to come to Christ.
For example, Ruth told them to say something like, “Mom and Dad, I want to thank you so much for letting me know about God growing up, for taking me to church to hear Scripture, etc.” whatever you can say honestly. Then, explain how God has led you further into being reconciled with him and brought into personal intimacy with him.
This has often led to parents becoming hungry and coming to Christ. And where does not happen immediately, they almost always respond with acceptance and continue to watch their children’s lives to see how real the change is.
Spouse (Marriage). This is so important b/c this relationship is the foundation for raising children, for providing and modeling real love, for teaching/demonstrating God’s ways, for modeling Christian values vs cultural ones (a point at which the majority of Christians in the US are failing b/c they model typical cultural values re money, status, comfort, pleasure, etc.), for holding regular home “devotions” teaching precept upon precept, for opening their home to care for others, both believers and non-believers, for modeling evangelism and ministry, for modeling a good work ethic and training children to work, etc.
Husband vs wife roles need to be clarified against the culture. I still believe there is a difference despite the de facto unisex obliteration of the difference in nature and role between men and women. This is a major contributor to the breakdown in the West of marriages and to manhood and womanhood. See next paragraph.
When the family disintegrates, the whole culture/people disintegrates into increasing evil and brokenness as is happening with such speed and devastation today. We are increasingly eroding the very meaning of family as homosexual activists push and push for gay marriage, adoption, and acceptance, even promotion, of gays as role models. Similarly, men here are increasingly abdicating their responsibility as husbands and father. In other words, they are increasingly rejecting being real husbands and fathers—they are no longer real men. Even when living with both natural parents, kids are increasingly abandoned to themselves b/c parents are not parenting.
Children. Biblical child-rearing is obviously crucial in light of previous points. Issues to consider: modeling Christ-likeness, teaching Biblical truth-discipling children, ministering to others together as a family, eating regular meals together with meaningful discussion of ideas and issues ranging over all areas of life and of God’s perspective.
Brothers & Sisters.
The Church, God’s restored family – I would actually deal with this under a separate category – see earlier
Other races, peoples.
Hospitality – This should run through all our relationships. Perhaps it is a sub-part of loving. However, it is so important for all relationships and for all service to Christ and to people that it warrants special consideration and response. Here’s a great thought-starter quote:
Hospitality as a Christian virtue has been both neglected and trivialized. This is a term we need to rehabilitate— to invest with new meaning and bring back to the heart of our Christian living.
Hospitality is a gift we need to rediscover and a practice we need to cultivate. If you think for a moment about what God has done for humanity, you will see that hospitality is a central feature of the Gospel.
We are adopted, made friends of God, beneficiaries of grace, comforted and guided by the Holy Spirit, promised life eternal and sustained by divine love.
Surely hospitality should be at the heart of Christian mission.
—John Franklin, Executive Director, Imago
While family is the core of human relationships in life, work is the core assignment in human life. In other words, work along with family are central to all life under the grace-imparting Lordship of Christ. Again, it is crucial to understand work in God’s original intent in creation—the creation mandate, the wrenching impact of the Fall on work and real, practical implications, the pardoning and empowering grace of redemption, and the final restoration of work in the fullness of redemption at the end of history.
All of human relationships totally interweave with the calling of work because through it we fulfill God’s mandate to rule over and fill the earth to the blessing/service of humans and the pleasing of God, we provide for family, we serve other people’s needs and they ours in cooperative exchange of specialized work, and we enjoy together the beauty, diversity, and richness of our world.
A Christian view and practice of work is clearly central to life, but it is almost totally ignored in the church. While many Christians have a sense that God led or called them into some line of work, they have little understanding of how to honor God in it, or even that their work on Monday has much Kingdom value except to provide opportunity for witness and money for giving and to provide for family. Combined with the unbiblical view of a special call to the ministry which they do not have, they toil under the sense that their work is a very second rate vocation. Further, most Christians in the West, carry a nagging sense of failure in witnessing under the pressure of political correctness.
This misunderstanding of calling and of how to serve God through their work leads to following the cultural road map about work—pursuing money, things, the good life, pleasure, status, and power in direct opposition to Christ’s teaching in these areas. And these same issues are issues in all cultures.
So this gives us a great list of issues for learning to think and live obediently in work. For a good start, I’ve attached a brief article we prepared for Urbana. The article provides expanded insight into the issues which need further study and development.