Probably you cannot read the above chart in this compact blog space.
But it’s an important element in the toolkit of my ideal incoming freshman.
To illustrate, consider the following story, which is based on a thousand real life examples:
Kendra grew up in the church. She arrives at college lacking any kind of big picture overview of the Bible’s message.
Sure, she knows a smattering of devotional thoughts and concepts gleaned from sermons, worship songs and her teen Bible, including:
- A bit of Paul’s teaching
- A small helping of Jesus
- A smattering of the 10 commandments
- The Lord’s Prayer
She knows she’s a sinner, that Jesus died to save her and that evolution is false.
At college, she’s confronted with atheism, agnosticism, Islam. All seem to offer comprehensive worldviews that challenge her hodgepodge of devotional ideas.
They all seem to make sense of the world in their own way.
Kendra’s feeling overmatched, confused, embarrassed.
How great it would be if she had a big-picture grasp of the Bible that she could articulate in a few sentences — and that offered a deep (and wide) explanation of human experience.
Christianity begins with God and his love, moves tragically to human rejection of God, then begins anew with Israel and crescendos into Jesus’ death and resurrection. It culminates in the restoration of all things. Those who participate in faith live in God’s presence forever. Those who don’t, don’t.
You could go a long way in college as a Christian, just knowing that larger narrative.
I’d recommend The Bible at a Glance! Every Christian should know the big picture. Especially the “Kendra’s” out there who are headed off to college.
I was going to comment on last week's post, but it seems just as applicable here.
I think this idea is great, but I wonder what the percentage of adult Christians that possess even 2 of your 5 “standard equipment” items is? Even among those who attend church regularly I bet it's shockingly low.
Few people I know could offer a big-picture overview on short notice, or any of the “simple” outlines of the Gospels you list. Forget about inductive Bible study skills or a beginners apologetic.
Like those depressing surveys we hear about what percentage of Americans can't name their Senators or the Vice President (or the “man on the street” bits from the late night shows), most Christians do not have the interactive, analytical relationship with their faith you're suggesting here.
A more baseline, bare bones essentials recommendation (today's post is a good start) would make this a message you could take to the average church to speak to a parents group.
John, Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I totally agree that many adults in the faith don't possess these basic skills.
What I hear from pastors and staff is that finding a time and a venue for delivering quality Christian education to adults is very tough. Sunday school is fading out, many folks attend church only 1-2 times/month, small groups tend toward topical studies and fellowship.
I think more could be made of special cohorts in Christian ed, where you go through educational experiences with small teams of motivated people. In fact, you can't get into the cohort unless you're highly committed. I know this sounds exclusive but it's also more attractive to leader types — precisely the people you need to reach your own people and beyond.