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Great Curriculum Won’t Make Disciples

Questions to Ask in 2021
We come out of a culture that prizes efficiency and systems.  We apply that mindset to spiritual formation and assume that all we have to do to grow is to find the right curriculum or enroll in the right course. It doesn’t work that way. Curriculum is helpful in the same way that books hel…
By Seth Barnes

We come out of a culture that prizes efficiency and systems.  We apply that mindset to spiritual formation and assume that all we have to do to grow is to find the right curriculum or enroll in the right course.

It doesn’t work that way.

Curriculum is helpful in the same way that books help a parent love their child better. In fact, discipleship looks a lot more like parenting than it does like Sunday school.

Discipleship is about connecting someone relationally to Jesus. It is imparted relationally. One of the first things Jesus wants to ask us is, “who do you say that I am?” That establishes his authority in our lives.

You can’t do that with curriculum. One of the first things Jesus wants you to know is that he loves you no matter what you do or don’t do. Curriculum is about doing. It presumes a download of information from one party to another. When facts pass from teacher to student, we see success.

This is not the paradigm Jesus gives us. It’s what he railed against in the Pharisees. “You study” he said, pointing out their flaw.

His remedy in John 5:40 was relationship with him. Study guided by curriculum will not bring us life. Only relationship will. When people ask for study-based answers, we need to point them to relationship with Jesus.

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