Romans 12:2 says that it’s the renewing of our minds that leads to transformation. That means education has the potential to be a transforming influence – and for me, it truly has been.
I might, however, define education a little differently than most. True education doesn’t happen in a classroom. Transformational education isn’t necessarily formal. As a matter of fact, to our knowledge, Jesus never taught the disciples in a classroom. He taught them wherever they were using their surroundings and situations as springboards to teach lessons which were easily applicable to their circumstances. He taught them by showing them. As a model for them, he didn’t seek to have them ascend to some greater knowledge or understanding but to have them actually become like Him – to apply the things he taught and live them out – he was interested in their transformation, not mere knowledge.
The education I’m speaking of (that which has been life-changing and transformational) has come in many forms in my life. Mike Mathews (my father-in-law and ex-boss/Pastor) discipled me and led me to go deeper in my spiritual life. He challenged my status quo by showing me that there was more. He sent me all over the country (and overseas twice) to go to conferences where I could see new ministry methods, and gain valuable insight into culture. These conferences enlarged my thinking, but when I’d return, it was Mike who came alongside me to encourage new efforts – this is where true transformation happened – in the daily grind of ministry – in working to live out the things I’d been learning.
My time at CBS (College of Biblical Studies) has also been transformational. Dr. Loken, Dr. Shockley, and Dr. Ayers have each stretched my brain capacity, but it has been the experience of working on staff in full-time church ministry which has guided me to transformation. The ideas and concepts which they taught have played out over and over in different circumstances within the church. Through their teachings, I’ve been able to “know what to look for” in order to recognize the real issues going on within the church. My growth has come as I have sought to “be like Christ” in every circumstance. Watching God work in these situations and feeling my way through/learning my role is what has been transformational.
True education (not just knowledge) changes us. The things we learn inform our decisions and affect our behaviors. I have been changed by the education God has granted me – and I’m grateful to Him. I hope to continue to be a student – to continue to be changed/transformed throughout my life.
I’ll close with a quote from Leonard Sweet from his book “Soul Tsunami.”
“In the medical world, a clinical definition of death is a body that does not change. Change is life. Stagnation is death. . . . Skin replaces itself every month; the stomach lining, every five days; the liver, every six weeks; the skeleton, every three months; cheek cells, three times a day. Ninety-eight percent of the atoms in your body are replaced every year – your whole body every five years (men) or seven years (women).”
If “education” = “change/transformation” and “no change” = death, then it only makes sense that we should all be concerned about our continued education/transformation.