Multi-Ethnic Church : Discipleship / Education

What is Discipleship? – This question has been bounced around for the last few years in the must read books of church methodology. Sadly, none of these books as far as I know have connected discipleship with pre-existing ideology, especially ideology within the Ethnic church.

Many may not consider the theology of ethnic churches to be sound, which we’ll discuss on a later post, but you can’t deny their practice. Ethnic churches for years have had great success in the area of discipleship and training. What has made them so successful? One simple answer… Communal ideology.

When asking a typical Anglo church pastor what their plan is for discipleship, they will usually answer with a “program.” When asking an ethnic pastor, he may respond with a question. “What do you mean discipleship? We just…live.” Programs are useful, and common, so I will focus on the Ethnic view of Discipleship.

Theological education is not common among the ethnic churches like it is in Anglo churches, we'll discuss this in later posts. It is second nature for ethnic believers to teach their beliefs as they go about their lives. This process of discipleship was started because of a couple reasons. 1. There hasn’t always been formal education like is seen in traditional churches. 2. The community was forced to rely upon each others daily due to persecution of numerous kinds. At best there may have been Sunday school, but the regular means of teaching was living life with one another. Elder generations would often teach younger generations as they went along their way.

The traditional churches for a thousand years have used catechisms, classes and other traditional type classes as a means to discipleship. By no means are these tools wrong. However, if you only teach discipleship in this format you will only develop a great knowledge, but very little christian living. 

When we’re considering how a Multi-Ethnic church should do discipleship, I’d suggest that it needs to be a harmony of the two views. Some ethnicities need to learn how to teach better, and some ethnicities need to learn how to live life together better. This is the original meaning of discipleship in the Old Testament Hebrew context. 

Deuteronomy 11:18, "You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

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