By Paul Wilkinson

Pastor Mike has been saying for the entirety of 2017 that the time is coming soon when we will be called to pastor our neighborhoods and house churches as opposed to expecting unbelievers to come to a centralized institution. We, as LIFE Group leaders, are crucial in this endeavor. What Mike cannot do when speaking to a couple thousand people, we can do speaking to a couple dozen people. We have the opportunity to train and equip those in our groups to pastor their neighborhoods!
We want transformational learning to empower our group members to pastor their neighborhoods. There’s some debate about the order of head-heart-hands, but in keeping with the command to renew our minds for the sake of transformation (Romans 12:2), I want to begin with the intellect. As I sat with a young man last week to talk about possible teaching opportunities and his continued development in the faith, I gave him the assignment to write out his personal statement of faith. To equip our people to pastor well, we must help them think through and shore up their own beliefs. They don’t need to know every answer, but they have to understand their own faith and be able to help others think through faith.
A tool that I use for theologically training is theological triage (I’m endorsing the concept rather than the details). This tool helps me focus on:

  • First-order Doctrines that I want to hammer into people’s minds
  • Second-order Doctrines that I want to help people think through because they are important but not essential
  • Third-order Doctrines that I want to answer quickly and move on from

We must help our group members develop their skills in thinking biblically about life with respect to the essentials. Break out your Transforming Truths travelogue to help you think through these first-order doctrines. And please reach out to an adult team member to think through these doctrines with you as you have need or desire. Here are the prompts I provided my new friend (in no particular order):

  • Articulate your understanding of the Trinity. Do you think that the Trinity is a necessary belief for salvation?
  • Articulate your understanding of the Incarnation. How can Jesus be truly human and truly divine?
  • Articulate your understanding of the Bible.
  • How do you defend the historical resurrection?
  • Articulate your understanding of God’s power; of God’s knowledge.
  • How do you reconcile evil and suffering with a loving God?
  • Articulate your understanding of sin and the Fall.
  • Is Jesus the only means of salvation? How does one “get saved”?
  • Articulate your understanding of the Holy Spirit.
  • What is the purpose of our (humanity) existence?
  • What are your thoughts on eternity and the afterlife?