Learning From Disciples Who Flew the Coop

On January 8, 2014 by Steve Miller


You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. —Titus 2:1-8

If you are tired of being “cooped up” at church maybe you need some schooling.

The Christian church is to be more like a one room school house and less like a chicken coop. In the chicken coop not much is expected of the chickens; there is no apparent or expected differences between old and young chickens. The chicken coop is a holding pen, once the chicken is acquired it is just thrown in with the rest of the flock and it will soon acclimate to the minimal requirements to co-exist with the rest of the birds. There is not an edifying structure in the coop, merely an individualistic pecking order. Birds come together to be fed, but the rest of their time is unstructured and unproductive.

“…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” —2 Peter 3:18

One room classrooms are still used in some developing nations and in deep rural areas; they offer us a better model of how to pursue Christian maturity. The teachers utilize and expect the students to be active in the learning AND the teaching processes. The older students are required to help train the younger students. Teachers utilize what is called a “peel off” lesson plan. All students receive an elementary level teaching, the older students then take (peel off) the lesson and show their proficiency by teaching the principles to the younger students. The older students are able to train the younger ones because they themselves were nurtured in the same system, which is to learn and demonstrate ability for yourself, then teach others. Person to person training is more effective than simply expecting pupils to learn information from a book or a lecture. The teachers in one-room schools were often former students themselves who graduated and returned to teach others. Somewhere along the way Christians forgot we are to be actively involved in each others discipleship process. Many churches expect the paid staff to do all the discipling while congregants are free to engage or remain idle if they choose. These churches understand the importance of Salvation but they do not actively engage in the ongoing lifelong Sanctification process which follows with the same intentionality.

“…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” —2 Timothy 2:2

Students were also expected to help maintain the schoolhouse and help provide for others physical needs by cleaning the building and serving one another. Christianity is at least as much about doing as it is about hearing. Jesus engaged in life on life training with his disciples. The scriptures show the disciples failed often and frequently misunderstood Jesus, but Jesus used these instances as teaching moments since he was preparing these men for a life of service and not grading their performance. If your church currently doesn’t embrace this model take the initiative to change the discipleship process before you learn about a member who flew the coop because they were not growing.

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