At the forefront of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is the exhortation to go and make disciples. Jesus says that the discipling of the nations is to be done by baptizing and teaching them to observe all his commands. In other words, discipleship follows the order of baptism unto instruction and obedience, which is true of all members of God’s covenant household. This is the biblical picture of the church, which “[grows] up into him who is the head, into Christ” (Romans 4:15). We do so by becoming skilled in the word of righteousness, moving little by little from milk to solid food, and from being a child to being mature (Hebrews 5:13). This skillfulness is not merely academic, it involves a delight and submission to the teachings and demands of Christ, thus loving him “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). This is what is means to be a disciple, to whom Christ says, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” This is at the heart of our Adult Bible School classes each Sunday morning at Tenth, where we seek to foster spiritual growth and nurture disciples to the glory of God.
A number of months ago, I was handed an old brown paper bag with a bunch of loose papers, folders, brochures, and other bits and bobs. I was told, “You may want to look through this. It may be of interest to you and possibly a help in your new task of overseeing the Adult Bible School.” This old weathered bag turned out to be a little gold mine. As I leafed through some of the pages, I was taken back in time, back to Tenth’s Fall Leadership Retreat in 1987 at Eagle Lodge where Dr. Tim Keller was the plenary speaker and the topic of the two-day getaway was A Church of Vision. I was also transported into the various classrooms of Tenth’s Adult Bible School in the early and mid-1990’s, where elective classes such as Racial Reconciliation, Exploring Men’s Issues, Financial Counseling, Evangelism, Biblical Servanthood, and Christianity and the Arts were on offer. These electives supplemented what used to be termed core courses—Bible Study class, Theology class, New Members class, and Preparation for Marriage—and ongoing special groups—Tenth International Fellowship, Tenth College Union, and Campus Medical Outreach—within Adult Bible School back in the nineties.
This fascinating little glimpse through a few windows into our past highlights a few key distinctives integral to Tenth’s DNA. Adult Bible School was a broad umbrella that covered both specific groupings of people (college, 20’s and 30’s, medical professionals, et al.) and general offerings that catered to a far wider array of people. The more specific classes by nature included a relational component to them, a distinctive vital to a large city-center church. As such, many of these classes were entry points into the church for people getting connected to Tenth.
Today, the Adult Bible School (as is true of the church as a whole) stands between its past and its future, grounded upon and informed by its rich history while simultaneously building for the generations to come, seeking to be effective for the glory of God within a surrounding culture that is ever-changing. Our mission remains the same: to disciple men and women with the truths of God’s word into the maturity and likeness of Christ and to see the kingdom of God extended here at home and into the nations of the world. Many of our classes are very similar to those in the 80’s and 90’s, though we speak to a world 30+ years down the road. Structurally, we have returned to the threefold structure of core classes, ongoing groups, and electives, which, in turn, prompted us to bring back the Bible study/survey class to compliment the theology class that George McFarland has been involved with the last two decades.
So why consider one of the classes in the Adult Bible School this coming spring quarter? Well, there are many reasons, a few of which may be true of you. No two classes are alike, though each aims to encourage and strengthen the various members of the church. The class format differs from the Sunday sermon in several ways: the class is orientated around teaching and deliberately makes room for lively discussion, Q&A, and you can bring coffee and a donut from the lobby to class. Moreover, as has been frequently shown, churches without Sunday Schools tend to be biblically illiterate. It is our desire to serve the expositional preaching ministry of Tenth by teaching new and longtime members alike the deep truths of the faith, so that together we can grow in our knowledge of Christ and his salvation. We also see the various classes as doorways into the church for friends and seekers looking into the church, be that the college ministry, the newly marrieds’ class, a parenting class on offer, etc.
The upcoming spring quarter begins with a time of prayer on March 3 at 1710 Spruce (room 1R) at 9 AM. Individual classes and groups begin meeting on Sunday, March 10, at 9 AM. This spring you can look forward to the next section in our Bible survey class as we cover Joshua through Ruth, or else pull up a chair in the theology class for a study of various Christian biographies. The women’s class will be working through Melissa Kruger’s new book Identity Theft, while the men’s class will continue to work through Thomas Watson’s classic, The Godly Man’s Picture. We also have the very exciting news that Tenth College Fellowship will be moving upstairs to the newly renovated room on the second floor (1710 Spruce), beginning this spring quarter at 9:30 AM.
Please join us for our day of prayer on March 3 and then for the beginning of classes on March 10. More information on upcoming classes will be posted to tenth.org/abs later this week.