Journey with me up a mountain, a spiritual mountain. This journey is hard by nature but is life-altering, extremely satisfying, and leads to life. A.W. Tozer spoke of this mountain as the mount of God:

“Our Lord said to His disciples, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.’ Let me exhort you to take this seriously. It is not to be understood as mere Bible teaching to be stored away in the mind along with an inert mass of other doctrines. It is a marker on the road to greener pastures, a path chiseled against the steep sides of the mount of God. We dare not try to by-pass it if we would follow on in this holy pursuit. We must ascend a step at a time. If we refuse one step, we bring our progress to an end.”

This mountain is climbed by every believer as they mature in the faith. In this climb, they all come to the step in the journey of obedience labeled “make disciples.” This is the direct command of Jesus given before He ascended into heaven. There seem to be many people who stop short of taking this step. This begs the question, “Why?” Why would any believer stop short of discipleship?

The Church in the past several years has relied heavily on its society, parents and teachers to accomplish the task of discipleship. Each has been prominent in history, but our current difficulty with the classroom involves our techniques and structure where we are mostly centered on information about the Bible with an assumption that the student will have plenty of examples to follow in their lives for application of that knowledge to take place. Unfortunately, in the post-Christian era full of broken family structures, we no longer live in a society that shares our Biblical worldview. Our culture is segmented and leans toward a private faith experience which leaves infant believers wandering around the base of the spiritual mountain without direction on how to grow. Today, four out of five teens who grow up in the Church leave their home for college or the work force and fail to seek out a church. To stop this trend, it is paramount that these young believers are shown how to take ownership in their own spiritual journey up the mountain. We not only find ourselves in great need to disciple our youth but our adults as well. Discipleship is totally reliant on intentional relationships initiated by mature Christians, and those relationships can be wonderfully fostered in the classroom.

Eighty percent of churches in America today have plateaued or are in decline. Intentional Discipleship Ministries, under the leadership of Jon Jenks, has been pro-active in helping church leadership to revive the momentum and culture of discipleship in the church where people disciple people (2 Timothy 2:2). Now IDM is launching a parallel track designed for teachers, guiding the way they educate “to equip them for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).

Teacher Journey Training is designed to help teachers master the art of equipping. This course begins with an in-depth weekend retreat and continues with weekly online meetings for six months to help guide their preparation and creative design of a discipleship-driven classroom experience. Learning to teach for discipleship will help teachers take another step on their own personal ascent of the mount of God, and it will enable them to equip students on their journey as well. Upon completion of this course there is continued help as we facilitate the discipleship process to continue.

Please contact me at cwood@bcpusa.org to inquire more about the Teacher Journey Training. Teaching is a spiritual activity that demands us taking every step up the mountain for full obedience to God, and it is my heart’s desire to see that momentum and culture of discipleship reach into the instructional settings of our churches.