There is an overwhelming need for trained pastors to interpret and teach God’s Word faithful to His people around the world. It is estimated that nearly 85 percent of pastors worldwide lack theological education and pastoral training. This is nothing short of a gospel crisis. Hearts, Heads, and Hands seeks to combat this crisis by providing theological and pastoral training in a model that can be taught in various structures and to various audiences for various contexts, thus equipping Christians, pastors, and new believers to make disciples who make disciples in obedience to the Great Commission.
Over the course of the next several weeks, I hope to give us a framework for the topics that a disciple should know by sharing a brief sample of some of the content from Hearts, Heads, and Hands. In this module sample, we will explore the personal spiritual discipline of Bible intake (the heart); an overview of the Old Testament (the head); and God’s call to ministry (the hands).
The Heart: Bible Intake
The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God, delivered to His people by the Holy Spirit through human authors. Bible intake is thus an absolute necessity for the Christian life. The Bible is “God-breathed and…useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16) One of the ways of practicing daily Bible intake, besides reading it for yourself, is through hearing it read. Jesus said those who hear it are blessed (Luke 11:28) and Paul taught that faith comes through hearing (Romans 10:17). The Bible teaches in Nehemiah 8, 9, and 13 that the entire congregation of God’s people stood to hear the book of Moses.
The discipline of daily Bible intake and study must become a habit, which means that it is so normal to begin your day hearing from God through His Word that when this practice is interrupted there is a clear sense of loss. To help those we are teaching develop this daily nourishment from the Bible, we give them some practical guidelines, encouraging them to incorporate the ideas in their approach. Even though many people in the world are primary oral learners and thus are not literate, they must find a way to take in God’s Word—either by hearing it read in the congregation by someone who can read or by listening to it on Christian radio or on an audio device.
Head: Overview of the Old Testament
The head portion of this module focuses on an overview of the Old Testament. Of course, one could spend a lifetime studying the Old Testament, but one helpful method of study is to trace themes through the Bible. This study traces five themes through each book of the Old Testament: God’s sovereignty, the law, grace, Christ, and man’s responsibility. In addition to exploring these themes in each of the books of the Bible, the author, recipients, and key events of the book are also included in Hearts, Heads, and Hands. For example, Genesis is as follows:
Author: Moses, around 1400 BC
Events: The principle events of Genesis are the creation of the universe, the fall into sin, the flood, the foundations of world history, and the beginning of the Hebrew nation.
Sovereignty: God’s sovereignty is seen immediately in the first pages of the Bible by His creation of all that exists.
Law: Laws were few and simple in the beginning before the fall into sin; every sin was a capital offence and merited the death penalty.
Grace: The grace of God is seen in the restoration of Adam and Eve, in God coming to them and preaching Good News to them when they were hiding from Him in pathetic coverings of their own design.
Christ: Christ is the Descendant foretold by the first Evangelist in Genesis 3. He would come in the fullness of time and pay for the sins of not only Adam and Eve, but for the sins of the whole world, taking the sins of believing people onto Himself and in exchange giving them His perfect holiness that is required to enter into the presence of God. Adam is said to be a type of Christ for which Jesus Christ is the fulfillment, as Paul teaches in Romans 5:12. Christ is also the Agent of creation (Col 1:16-17). He is also present in pre-incarnate appearances of Christ in the Angel of the Lord passages, in God’s use of first person plural pronouns to refer to Himself, and in the types of Christ that are seen in images such as Noah’s Ark (1 Peter 3:20-22), the blood of Abel, and numerous aspects of the lives of Adam, Isaac, Joseph, and Melchizedek.
Responsibility: While God is sovereign and rules every molecule of His universe, men and women are responsible.
The Hands: The Pastor’s Call to Ministry
The hands portion of the first module focuses on the pastor’s call to ministry. If a man is not called by God, he will not be equipped to stand firm in the midst of the trials and troubles of ministry. He must experience an inward call—similar to the fire Jeremiah felt in his bones—and an outward call, the affirmation of the community of believers around him.
In order to meet the needs of the global church and fulfill the Great Commission, we must train pastors in a holistic fashion—hearts, heads, and hands. The complete version of this module studies Bible intake, love, and truth for the pastor’s heart, the Old Testament for the pastor’s head, and the call to ministry for the pastor’s hands.
Editor’s Note: The following material has been adapted from Dr. Sills’ latest book Hearts, Heads, & Hands. You can learn more about Hearts, Heads, & Hands here.