THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the online event, Theology in the Local Church, featuring Q&A with Eric Geiger and Ed Stetzer. Five continents were represented among the registrants and over a hundred questions were submitted for discussion. If you were unable to join us or think another leader would’ve been blessed by the conversation, we have great news—the video recording is now available for free in our new Online Library!
You can access the video on our Deep Dive resource page (linked here).
Below are a few highlights from our time talking to Rooted Network co-authors, Eric Geiger and Ed Stetzer.
“Theology is thinking about God and people have thoughts about God and life … so how do we help them have big, beautiful, awesome thoughts about God?” -Eric Geiger
Ultimately, this is what disciple-making is all about: helping people see God in such a way that transforms their hearts and minds and, therefore, their lives. Everyone has a “theology,” meaning they have thoughts about God and whether or not God’s existence affects their daily lives.
“Theology is endless in its practical implications.” -Eric Geiger
What people believe about God shapes the way we live. For example, belief in God as our Creator affects the way we see and treat ourselves, others, and even the world.
“Discipleship is relational. Discipleship happens in community.” -Eric Geiger
Relationships are vital to healthy discipleship. So, what is your plan for engaging and moving people into biblical community? How are those smaller groups of community equipped with right theology?
“One of the things we do in church is that we all talk about the same things without actually explaining and defining them to know if we’re talking about the same thing.” -Ed Stetzer
Clear definitions are essential in healthy discipleship. In your preaching, teaching, and disciple-making relationships, is consistent language used with clearly articulated meaning? Do people know what is meant by “gospel,” “disciple,” etc.?
“There’s a hunger from people to have a more theologically grounded understanding of the major teachings of Scripture.” -Ed Stetzer
It’s helpful to recognize three levels of theological beliefs: Essential, Convictional, and Preferential.
- Essentials beliefs are doctrines that all Christians share, regardless of denomination or context. This first and most important level includes things like the nature of God as Father, Son, and Spirit.
- Convictional beliefs often shape denominational distinctions. This second level includes things like specific practices of baptism or the role of sovereignty and free will in salvation.
- Preferential beliefs are still important, but there’s more room for differences within a congregation and even among leadership. This third and lowest level includes things like specific details in our eschatology (view of the end times).
Problems arise when every belief is considered “essential” for salvation or fellowship. Help people recognize the difference between the three levels.
“As pastors and leaders of God’s Church, you have to recognize that people are really struggling theologically and we’ve got to give them deeper opportunities for theological growth.” -Ed Stetzer
“We’re in a crucial moment in the life of the Church … the last few years have shown failures and faults, but the answer is not to run away from deeper theology, but rather to embrace it, help people grow in it, and live on mission through it.” -Ed Stetzer
Don’t shy away from theology as something as optional or reserved for more advanced study. Especially in our age of constant information, people are immersed in countless opinions, worldviews, and agendas. The local church has been commissioned by Jesus and empowered by the Spirit to make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them to put into action all that God has commanded in His Word.
“The news has discipled our people better than we have … We’ve been out-discipled.” -Eric Geiger
“People are being discipled by their cable news choices. They’re being spiritually formed by their social media feed. The result has been seen in people’s lives and church unity.” -Ed Stetzer
“Someone is discipling our people. Let’s be the ones who disciple our people.” -Eric Geiger
If you and people you know are ready to think differently about discipleship and lead people into deeper relationships with God and each other in the local church, Rooted Network is here to inspire, equip, and resource you in that mission.
Access the full video recording of this conversation on our Deep Dive resource page, where you can also find out more about Eric Geiger and Ed Stetzer’s new church resource—Theology and the Mission of God: A Call to Faith in Action.