One of key emphases of the Brookside Institute is theological formation (along with biblical literacy, for the purpose of living on mission). A whole category of posts is devoted to this, and one of the Institute's core classes, "Fuel for Faith: An Important Class about Christian Theology" is devoted to building and reinforcing strong foundations in Christian theology. Theology is important!
All of this is why I love Jaquelle Crowe's (she's a teenager herself, by the way - 18 years old) recent post at The Gospel Coalition, reminding all of us that teenagers need theology too. Here are five reasons WHY teenagers need theology. (I've just listed them below - check out the full post to see how she develops things.)
Listen to how she concludes her piece:
So parents, pastors, youth leaders, church members, please teach us theology. More than anything else, we need to know God. He’s the answer to our questions, the solution to our problems, the only One worthy of our worship and trust.
In their excellent book Teaching the Faith, Forming the Faithful: A Biblical Vision for Education in the Church, authors Gary A. Parrett and S. Steve Kang include an important plug for approaching Christian education and equipping in the church with an appropriate intentionality. Check out what they have to say:
There are very few spheres in which an approach to education is an random and haphazard as that practiced in many of our churches today. If someone wanted to study towards a degree in economics, for example, it would be most unlikely that the college would let her choose all her own courses or choose simply not to take classes at all. If we wish our child to learn to play an instrument, we would certainly hope to find an instructor who has some idea and plan about what particular things really must be learned and when and how. When we look at the medical school diploma on the walls of our doctors' offices, we probably assume - and gratefully so - that our doctors actually attended (in the full sense of the term) all the required classes classes in the curriculum and not only those that suited their fancies at the time. How strange it is that, in this matter of Christian education and formation, we have come to adopt a very different scheme" (p. 77, bold emphasis added).
This is a large reason why I'm so passionate about what the Brookside Institute is trying to do for adults, and why - more broadly - content strategy and Christian education are so important in the life of a local church. And all of this is why I'm so grateful for everything Brookside Church does to support these same values through the Institute and other ministries!
As of yesterday, it's officially summer. I laughed when I saw this tweet from @ChrchCurmudgeon:
And since it's summer, I figured I'd post a few books I'm wanting to read and spend time in this summer. No guarantees, but here's to hope! :)
If you've got some extra time over the next couple of months - maybe you're traveling a bit, or your summer schedule allows you more time to read for other reasons, or you just want some book recommendations as you maintain a habit of reading - here are a few books you may want to consider. I encourage you to explore these books a bit (each is looked to their Amazon page where you can learn more) and jump in - the water's fine!
Earlier this week, I ran across this short video where R. Kent Hughes talks briefly about why pastors need commentaries. I encourage you to check it out if you're interested. (By the way: Hughes is always worth listening to, in my opinion. His pastoral wisdom is great, his love of the Bible is great, and he communicates well. Oh yeah, and his book Disciplines of a Godly Man is still one of my first "go to" books for dudes.)
So again: The video is worth watching. But it got me thinking beyond just why PASTORS need commentaries. (I agree with him on that, just so we're clear.) As a pastor and a teacher myself, I also want others who aren't in full-time vocational ministry to know that commentaries can be accessible (at least some of them!), and that commentaries can offer benefit to their own personal study and life of devotion.
One more brief comment that may be helpful. If you're brand new to this word "commentary," here's the scoop: A commentary is basically a book written about a book of the Bible - it's a book that offers commentary on the message and meaning of either a book of the Bible or a few books of the Bible grouped together - often along with other important introductory material on the biblical book, like historical and cultural context, who wrote it and why, etc.. (In some cases, a Bible commentary is a single volume on the entire Old or New Testament, or even on the entire Bible itself.)
Here are three reasons ANYONE may want to read a commentary - even if you're not a pastor:
As we seek to build and reinforce foundations of the Christian life here at the Brookside Institute, few things are as important as cultivating a big view of God, and encouraging a God-centered view of life.
Ezekiel 1:1-28 - as weird as it maybe seems at first glance - is a passage that helps us develop this big of God that is so important. And so - even though this isn't my habit - I figured I'd post the video of a sermon I preached at Brookside Church (June 12, 2016) on Ezekiel 1:1-28. The bottom line? God is bigger and better than we often think. And when we encounter God, we can't stay the same.
Interested in digging in more deeply? Here are some other posts to check out:
Reading commentaries can be a great way to grow in our knowledge of (and love for!) God and His Word. And, commentaries can offer substantial guidance in helping us interpret difficult passages well. (AFTER careful personal study and observation, of course!)
Ezekiel 1 is one of those passages that can seem weird when you read it. But its message is so worthwhile, and time in a couple commentaries can help underline the value of its message. Listen to these great insights from a couple of commentaries I've spent some time in this last week, both commenting on Ezekiel 1:
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
JT English (Still) Isn't Talking ABout the Brookside Institute in this Audio Segment. But in a Lot of Ways, He (Still) Could be.
A little more than a year ago, I highlighted an audio segment where JT English talks about the Institute at The Village Church. (Click here to see that.) I love hearing people articulate a passion and vision for biblical & theological equipping in the church and for the church - because of how closely this aligns with what we're trying to do with the Brookside Institute. And so I figured then that I'd highlight what The Village Institute is doing, and trust that people can connect the dots in some right ways over to the Brookside Institute.
Well, Dr. English is back at it.
Recently, I listened to this audio segment from the Village Church Podcast Show (Episode #30 - May 26, 2016) where JT English gives an explanation of their Institute and an update on it. The whole episode is worthwhile and I encourage you to check it out - below you'll find the first 10 minutes (unedited) where JT English speaks most directly on the Village Institute, because of how closely it touches on certain things we're trying to do with the Brookside Institute.
Remember: Dr. English is talking about the Institute at the Village - he's not talking about the Brookside Institute. Don't expect 100% overlap. There are certain things they've chosen to do there that we've chosen not to do at the Brookside Institute. But there's still A LOT of overlap.
Listen in and you'll hear a lot of things I found myself nodding my head to throughout the course of the segment. And for those of you already familiar with the Brookside Institute, you'll see how so many of these same emphases have taken shape - independently - in our own context.
Here's the audio:
Here are a few notes I was scrambling to type as I listened along - these may pull you into listening, if you're still on the fence:
What do teachers do when prep is slow, intimidating, or overwhelming? How do teachers make progress when the size and scope of content is daunting? What focal points can help teachers teach - in such a way that students learn - when teachers are themselves in process, and continuing to learn themselves?
These are all good questions - questions I've felt numerous times myself as someone who teaches in a number of different environments. Therefore, over the life of this blog thus far I've posted intermittently on "things I'm aiming for when I teach?" (Original posts are included at the end of this current post.) However, I've not compiled these "targets" into one cumulative list. I figured it was time to do so. :)
With that said, here are 8 things I'm aiming for as I teach, with a bit of introduction:
Christian. Husband. Father. Pastor. Learner. Contributor. Reader.