Why the 300-400 level material in DC?
There are a number of studies/programs that do something like what we do at the 100 and 200 levels. We don’t know of any program that does what we do throughout the entire 21 months—and a big part of that is our approach in the 300 and 400 levels.
DC301 starts with Larry Crabb’s classic book, Inside Out. The book will stir insights for DC’ers ranging from provocative to life-changing. But opinions will probably differ—perhaps wildly so. In discussing Crabb, your goal is to make sure that the environment is safe for everyone to talk.
From our perspective, Crabb’s book is quite useful for a number of reasons.
- Crabb refuses to put God or Christianity in a tidy, little box—a principle that will bear much fruit in the material that follows in DC401-403.
- In terms of its impact on building leaders: Merely wrestling with a book that tries to convey big ideas is useful—the process of discerning wheat and chaff, seeing how theology affects worldview, handling disagreements and conflict with other Christians, etc.
- Crabb attempts to engage the heart whereas much of our material is aimed at the head. He also challenges us to pursue authentic relationships.
- Crabb’s book typically increases group intimacy and the depth of its discussions. In that sense, we really don’t care if any given individual enjoys or thinks that he profits significantly from the book. Our larger goals here are for the group.
>Don’t feel like you need to “convert” them to liking Crabb. Push/prod them as useful, continue to develop an environment where it’s ok to wrestle, enjoy the ride, and look forward to what it will help you do in your groups going forward.
In the second part of DC301, we move into an emphasis on teaching, including Teaching to Change Lives by Howard Hendricks. His book is an easy read—enjoyable, profitable
and not controversial.
We also add “mini-lessons”—an opportunity to read Scripture differently, from the mind of a teacher. And each DC’er will teach at least one 30-minute lesson on one of the Ten
Commandments (or something from Judges or Ruth).
About DC301 (cont’d)…
As you move into their teaching, you may need to motivate the importance of teaching for “non-teachers”: we’re all teachers at some level, whether in our homes, the workplace, the church, and so on.
Summing up, DC301 will be great for your DC’ers—individually and especially as a group.
About the 400-level topics…
Here, we expose DC’ers to big topics and difficult doctrinal issues.
On the former, we want people to get introduced to important topics that are often overlooked—most notably, 1.) Cults and World Religions; 2.) Denominations, and 3.) Christian History. A disciple-maker should be able to compare and contrast Christianity with cults of Christianity and other world religions. A disciple-maker should be able to compare and contrast one’s faith tradition with other Christian denominations. And a disciple-maker should be (more) aware of the heroes of the faith, on whose shoulders we stand.
On the latter, we want DC’ers to wrestle with difficult doctrinal issues (e.g., free will and pre-destination). Our approach is to make the best biblical and practical cases for all positions within Orthodoxy. It’s common to emphasize a single position on each of these issues. And that’s fine, in some contexts. But our goal is to equip DC’ers for ministry and evangelism. To do so, they need to wrestle earnestly with their own beliefs—many of them, doing so for the first time. And they need to develop empathy and flexibility to understand others within ministry—and to take away stumbling blocks within evangelism.
Especially from this point forward, we want to encourage unity on essentials, charity on non-essentials, and earnest wrestling with the difference between essentials and nonessentials.
(This is a primary reason why the 400-level doesn’t start until we’re 12 months into DC! It’s also one of the reasons we use Crabb’s book after 9 months—to soften the ground of how to disagree agreeably. It’s also the reason we chose “Liberty vs. Legalism” as our first topic in DC401.)