Walking With God Through Relationships
Relational discipleship is a crucial part of every Christian’s faith. God designed it this way. We are relational beings made in the image of a relational God. Our walk with God is meant to take place with the Body of Christ. Here at Ethnos360 Bible Institute, we value your discipleship with Jesus Christ.
This discipleship often takes place outside the classroom. Each student is given a dean as a mentor. Your dean is responsible for walking with you throughout your time here. They are also committed to seeing you assume personal responsibility in your relationship with God. They are helpful for answering questions, giving advice, and ultimately pointing you to Jesus. Your dean is one of the many people who will invest in your life during your studies.
Following the Good Shepherd
In John 10 Jesus states: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep … I know my sheep and my sheep know me … My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (10:11, 14, 27-28). Relational discipleship begins and ends with the Lord. He is our good shepherd who we are to know and follow. He is the one who offers life, both for eternity and for today. If He is not involved, all man’s work is worth nothing.
We must never give God’s position to a man nor can we expect man to take a position only God can properly operate.
Man is not your good shepherd. Jesus is. Follow Him.
Our Call to Shepherd God’s Flock
What’s cool, though, is that God has given responsibility to mature Christians: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers … not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:2-4). Being called to shepherd God’s flock is not a threat to God’s position as Chief Shepherd. We are simply to recognize that our role as shepherd is different.
The Chief Shepherd leads people to Himself. But the shepherd of God’s flock leads people to the Chief Shepherd.
And this is what our staff here are dedicated to do. They are simply partnering with God to lead you to Jesus.
Navigating Life as a Disciple
Of course, your Dean does not have superior access to God. They are simply a brother or sister in Christ who is dedicated to your growth. But they have likely walked a similar path to the one that you’re beginning to walk. The wisdom that they have gained from others and from their experiences will help to navigate you through life here. You can be sure that being a true disciple of Christ in this next season will include many decisions. Let us help you.
Face-to-face interaction is always possible at Ethnos360 Bible Institute. Our Deans live in our backyard (some literally). They’re committed to including you in their ministry! This provides unique opportunities for relational discipleship. Knock on their doors, visit a coffee shop, stick around campus, or go for a walk. Through it all, remember that they’re just a servant like you.
A Partnership: Our Investment and Your Responsibility
You can expect intentionality on the part of our Deans. They will try their best to work within your schedules and needs. But at the end of the day, a relationship takes two to grow. Our students are also expected to be intentional. Your Dean will be focusing on many different relationships and do their best to make themselves available to those who seek them out.
It is helpful to understand beforehand that your Dean has limited energy. Any effort that you offer will directly affect their ministry as a whole. It will encourage them to continue building into your life. It will also provide them with additional energy that they need to build into the lives of others. Reciprocity is always reassuring in relational discipleship – so be intentional!
Student Testimony: A Success Story
Below is a testimony from one of our current students. Speaking about his relationship with his Dean, he articulates three important lessons he has learned and integrated.
“When I decided to come to Ethnos360 Bible Institute, I was extremely excited for the mentorship opportunity provided for me as a student. I had previously done a discipleship program and unfortunately had been disappointed in the mentorship provided. Later realizing that I was partly to blame, I learned a lot and was able to integrate those lessons into my time here.
The most important thing I learned was to be more intentional with my mentor if I needed help.
The second most important thing I learned was to reciprocate relationally – not just with intentionality. I believe that having a vision to move from mentor to friend is important. Since I’m offering to give life – and not just take life – I find that it maintains a stress-free meeting for both parties.
My relationship with my Dean here has been a completely different experience with the help of these two lessons. He has always made himself available and has been willing to set up regular meetings when I approach him. He is a great listener and shows genuine interest into the questions and concerns I have. He’s willing to open up about his own life and build a friendship outside of his job. Although the foundation of our relationship is about mentorship, I have spent many nights hanging out at his house with his wife and kids. If something serious comes up, he’s often available for last-minute talks. And if he isn’t, some other staff member is!
The third most important thing I learned was recognizing where my needs are met.
They are met by abiding in Jesus – He is the source of my life.
This has freed our relationship from being misused. He has reminded me to keep my dependence upon Jesus. Most of our time has just been spent processing all the new information and experiences going on around me.
I know that not everyone has the same experience as me but I am so grateful that Ethnos360 Bible Institute values the body of Christ.”
– Dan M (Class of 2018)
Living a Life of Purpose
Our students come from a variety of different backgrounds and situations. Whatever your case may be, we want to provide sufficient opportunities for relational discipleship. Our Deans are here to help because we are convinced that intentional, gracious friendships will encourage you to live a life of purpose. Discuss classes or throw a frisbee. Chat about life and build a relationship. Ask and be asked the hard questions. Pursue truth and receive grace.
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Emily Kurz is a graduate of Ethnos360 Bible Institute. She currently lives in North Carolina, where she is finishing a degree in Secondary English Education. Emily enjoys sports, bungee jumping, reading, and writing, and hopes to one day teach english as a second language in Latin America.