WHAT IS PATHWAYS?
The church has been commissioned to “make disciples of all nations”. Matthew 28:19-20. In many different regions of the world we are seeing rapid growth in the church as multitudes are coming to Christ. While that is commendable what we are not generally seeing is the effective transformation of many of those new believers. They are not learning to “obey all that I have commanded you”. The primary resource God has given us to accomplish the task of building strong disciples is the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God working together to transform lives. We believe that one reason for the lack of growth in discipleship is that most pastors do not know how to study or teach the Word of God accurately.
The Pathways Bible Training program is designed to help pastors gain practical skill in studying the Bible so that they can receive God’s message from it for themselves and for their congregations. To learn how to study the Bible well, study skills are needed as well as a disciplined process of study. Some training efforts make the mistake of assuming that because the skills are fairly simple, learning how to study the Bible should be a simple and straightforward process. Often one-week courses are used to teach the basic skills and it is believed that the students will then start to study the Bible well. Unfortunately, this often proves to be wrong. Although most pastors have the intellectual abilities to learn the skills and tools of study, most lack the educational background to apply them well. Many lack cultural experience with a disciplined process of study. Most are from oral cultures and have been educated in a rote memory system of education that does not prepare them well to analyze literature like scripture. The basic habits of writing down ideas; of weekly study and preparation for messages; and meditating on scripture are also new to many pastors. These and other problems make learning to study in a one-week course almost impossible.
The Pathways method uses instruction, practice, discussion, and presentations to teach students how to use the tools and skills for Bible study and to begin to develop the habits that are necessary to study well. We start with basic skills, which we then build upon in later workshops, gradually helping the students learn and implement the skills in their own study and teaching. Practice, repetition, and reinforcement of concepts in successive workshops lead the students to make long-term progress. The requirement that we have for our students to pass on the training to others after each workshop forces them to learn the skills and steps of study better so that they can teach others. The training is reinforced in their own lives as they train others. After working with thousands of pastors in many different regions around the world we are seeing significant changes in the way pastors study and teach the Word of God to their people.