It’s hard to believe that 2018 is coming to a close. Lead Up has explored a wide range of topics. From articles on how to avoid small talk, to how Jesus can save parents’ sanity, to a series on leadership essentials from the students of Artios Christian College — 2018 has been a time of growth and encouragement. Here’s a look back at your favorite articles of 2018:[ref]Top 5 articles according a WordPress analysis of the most viewed articles of 2018[/ref]
In this series, Israel Steinmetz (co-director of Artios Christian College) observes that the modern church is in crisis. We do not lack the “power, presence or purpose” of God, but we do lack the unified fellowship needed to “fully utilize His power, experience His presence, and accomplish His purpose.”
The word “fellowship” has lost it’s significance. As Rick Warren observes:
‘Fellowship’ now usually refers to casual conversation, socializing, food, and fun. The question ‘Where do you fellowship?’ means ‘Where do you attend church?’ ‘Stay after for fellowship’ usually means ‘Wait for refreshments’…Authentic fellowship is not superficial, surface-level chit-chat.”[ref]Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 138-139.[/ref]
To combat this misconception of fellowship, Israel examines how fellowship was practiced in the early church. Drawing on biblical historians, (such as Vivian H. Green) it is clear that Christianity survived because it was more than simply a religion or set of practices. Christianity is a way of life, and what’s more, a way of shared life. And it is through this shared life—this fellowship with one another—that we can restore the Church.
Do you serve as a Sabbath School teacher in your local congregation? If not, would you like to? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions then this series on Christian education is for you!
Amber Riggs reminds us that a critical task in education is to define success. In short, we must plan out clear instructional objectives. Without such objectives, it will be nearly impossible to determine if a particular class has been successful. If we don’t have instructional objectives we risk merely occupying our student’s time instead of educating them.
Simply put, regardless of the age demographic, instructional objectives provide us with a map of what we teach. They help us focus our instructional time so that we don’t become detoured teaching something that we haven’t identified as being of utmost importance to a particular group of students at a particular time. It helps a Bible study on Ephesians stay focused on the topic of building up the Body of Christ instead of drifting to the meaning of the 1335 days in Daniel. (And y’all know how easily that can happen!)”
Have you ever found yourself trying to explain what baptism actually means? Perhaps you’re talking to a friend about your faith, or perhaps someone is interested in being baptized and you must now explain the significance of baptism. What does the act of baptism signify? And is it really that important?
This two-part series asks compelling questions designed to help you grasp the rich meaning of baptism. As followers of Christ who have been re-created to lead in our daily spheres of influence, it is important that we take time to reflect on the biblical foundation behind our doctrines and beliefs. The questions here do not have easy or simple answers for the one who is thoughtful and humble enough to read across a wide spectrum of understanding on the subject.
By exposing ourselves to the understanding of baptism held by others within the Christian faith community we can come to a fuller appreciation of all that baptism means. If in fact baptism does relate in important ways to washing and purification from the taint of sin, forgiveness of sins and new birth, the promise of the Holy Spirit, participation in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, a covenant sign, and initiation into Christ’s Body, then it is a topic about which we should be very well informed so that we can experience and appreciate its rich meaning and benefits. We do ourselves an injustice if we remain locked in a prison of dogmatism where the limited explanation of our denominational heritage is the only view that we entertain.
In this special article, Artios student Michael Mancha explores how character impacts the role of a leader. As leaders, we are more than just the title we bear. A title may give us a position, but without a strong, upright character, we will have very little influence. While there are a number of qualities vital to Christian leadership, character is not only a reflection of a leader’s communion with God, but also conveys moral authority, and has the potential to create healthy followers.
A good leader will possess many strong and vibrant qualities. But these essential qualities must have a starting point. That starting point is character. Character sets the tone for how the rest of a leader’s talents, skills, and abilities play out. Character establishes moral authority. It is a testament to the leader’s relationship with God and when that relationship is centered on Christ then healthy followers will follow. Who we are sets the bar for what we do and what we become. If we desire to be vibrant Christian leadersfor a vibrant kingdom of God, then it must start with you.
The Lord’s Supper is a yearly reminder of Christ’s death and a time to reflect on the salvation made possible by His sacrifice. However, in this article, Amber Riggs reminds us not to focus solely on the details of Christ’s death, but on the broader picture of God’s plan for redemption.
The story of the Bible is the story of God pursuing His covenant with humanity. Despite our unfaithfulness, God remains faithful. The Lord’s Supper is a time to remember that, through Christ, we are now part of an everlasting covenant with God. As priests of this covenant, our role is to bear the image of Christ and to join with Him in mirroring God’s rule over creation.
Tonight, we remember that, through Christ, we are in covenant with God. And we take the cup and break, drinking of His Life and eating of His Body as physical reminders that this isn’t just a heavenly covenant but is a muddy, earthy one. It’s a covenant in which His life empowers ours to partner with God in laying the groundwork of a new creation that will slowly cultivate God’s perfect rule until the whole earth – dirt and all – becomes a place of God’s holy delight.
We have lots of exciting things in store for 2019. We invite you to come along with us as we continue our mission of equipping leaders for a vibrant 21st century church!
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- Why We Keep Singing Together: An Artios Roundtable Discussion - April 1, 2019
- Lead Up’s Top Posts of 2018: Everyday Christians Embracing Leadership - December 31, 2018
- The Power of #ServantLeadership - October 22, 2018