Preaching or Teaching?

“What is this babbler trying to say?”(Acts 17:18) “In public he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them” (Mark 4:34). “Let your house be a gathering place for sages; And wallow in the dust of their feet; and drink in their words with…

Epictetus: Soul-Wrenching Work

I often talk about church as a car repair shop rather than a Sunday trip through a car wash. While the latter may feel nice and give your exterior a little extra shine for a few days, it does not address the ‘engine’ inside that makes us go. At MainStreet we desire to open the…

Political Discipleship in the Christian Colony

This is an excerpt from a much longer essay I wrote called “Royal Scribes in the King’s Court: Ancient Education & Christian Discipleship.” Enjoy! I hail from good Lutheran stock from the Midwest (Minnesota) where we shared potlucks (with an endless variety of “hot dishes”) in the church basement, and Bible studies in the Fireside…

Aching & Yearning for the Kingdom

A friend in ministry just texted me a light and fluffy Friday afternoon question: “I’m laying out a vision for Discipleship with my people on Monday. What are 3 awesome things about being a disciple? What are 3 awesome things about making disciples?” He might as well have asked me to sum up the mystery…

Wisdom Culture & the Juvenalization of American Christianity

“Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 Churches are busy with many good endeavors, but seeking and passing on wisdom seems to have fallen down the list of priorities. According to my teacher, Scot McKnight: “People today care less about growing up or gaining wisdom and far more about staying young, maintaining relevancy, and dressing according…

Teaching & Interpersonal Relationships

Matt Friedeman’s book The Master Plan of Teaching (1990) examines Jesus’ teaching style and suggests the following formula emphasizing that content alone is not enough, but the teacher-student relationship is a central ingredient: COMMUNICATION = CONTENT + RELATIONSHIP He then offers some steps toward effective interpersonal relationships in the graph below. Pastors and teachers who want to…