In just a few weeks, our Fall 2014 classes begin. And I can't wait! I get excited to teach. I love to learn alongside others. Studying God's Word closely and interacting with others about it "fuels" me like few other things. In addition to this, I'm a learner by nature (my Strengths Finder "top 5" include "Learner," "Input," and "Intellection"), and so I'm pretty sure if there was a class on something offered sometime, somewhere I'd be at least interested.
But I know everyone's not like me. The simple fact that a class is being offered doesn't spark immediate interest. Many others (who are more wise than me!) need additional reasons to consider attending classes. After all, everyone is busy. There are more things pulling for our attention than we can devote attention to. Most of us are looking for ways to create margin - not additional things to add to our plate.
Since this is the case, why should you be considering an Institute class this Fall? Here are four worthwhile reasons that come to my mind first:
1. Classes will build & reinforce strong foundations of the Christian faith.
Foundations matter. This is the core message of the Brookside Institute. Foundations ensure we can build a strong structure, and they protect against shifting soils. We never move past the foundations of the Christian faith. And the two classes we're offering this Fall will build and reinforce strong foundations in vital areas.
Our New Testament Survey class will introduce you to the Person, message, and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus is central to the Bible, and to the Christian faith in the 21st century. Few things are more essential than an understanding of the message of the New Testament. The Fuel for Faith class will look at key areas of Christian theology and consider what God's Word tells us about important topics like the Bible, who God is and what He's like, the Trinity, how to think about Jesus' return, what the church is, and more.
These topics are foundational to Christianity, and they need repeated attention as we seek to live faithfully today.
2. Classes will line you up on a trajectory for continued growth.
Will you know everything about the topic of the class you take when you're done? Will every question you have get answered? No and no. Instead, our classes will provide a strong foundation off of which you can continue learning. You may not have every question answered, but you'll be more equipped to ask the right questions and pursue resolution.
I say this in pretty much every class I teach: The (symbolic) "punctuation mark" that follows the completion of each class isn't a period, but should be a comma. In other words, our classes aren't the "final word" on any subject, but they should faithfully further your thinking in these key areas, serve as a sort of "filter" helping you become more discerning, and feature ideas and resources that invite your continued study. In other words, our classes will line you up on a trajectory for continued growth.
3. Interacting with learned teachers and adults who are motivated to learn can be just plain fun.
This one is pretty simple and straightforward, but that doesn't mean it's not important. We want our classes to be fun. As I teach, I want to have fun doing so. When I learn, I want it to be a dynamic, stimulating, and enjoyable experience. And so we try to build these sorts of things into our classes. After all, if people have fun teaching they'll want to continue doing so (and they'll be more fun to listen to). When people have fun learning they'll be thirsty for more.
So yes (and just so we're clear), the subject matter we're looking at is serious. But that doesn't mean we can't have fun looking at it, and enjoy ourselves as we do so. The seriousness of our subject matter doesn't mean we need to take ourselves too seriously.
4. God wants to keep doing His good work in you and through you. Our classes will surround you with key influences to keep you moving in this direction.
Most of us have heard the axiom that our lives will stay pretty much the same, unless influenced by people we surround ourselves with and books we read. Our classes will provide both. In terms of people, our classes offer godly teachers who have spent time preparing and studying, and other adults who are ready to learn. In terms of books, each class will feature a textbook designed to guide and advance your thinking in key areas. Imagine how surrounding yourself with these sorts of influences might influence you in key areas - maybe even areas that aren't on your radar screen yet! What might God want to do in you and through you, that our classes can equip you for?
What additional reasons would you add for people considering Institute classes? What reasons do you find most motivating?
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Christian. Husband. Father. Pastor. Learner. Contributor. Reader.