June 27, 2022
by Susan Reese, Professor of Spiritual Formation
While in conversations with students, I will find myself waiting on their response to our discussion of a certain outcome, and then I will realize that they are waiting on me to tell them what to do.
Adapting to a competency-based theological education style of learning can be a challenge for learners who are not accustomed to self-direction and self-discipline along with a reliance on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit required by Kairos. Students often come to Kairos asking, “What is required of me as a student?” or “How do I develop and maintain a posture of learning and mentoring in content, character, and craft?” Through these questions, the beauty of the discipleship process begins.
4 As a result of this, he has given you magnificent promises that are beyond all price, so that through the power of these tremendous promises we can experience partnership with the divine nature, by which you have escaped the corrupt desires that are of the world.
5 So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness,
and to goodness add understanding,
6 and to understanding add the strength of self-control,
and to self-control add patient endurance,
and to patient endurance add godliness,
7 and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters,
and to mercy toward others add unending love.
As described in II Peter 1, discipleship is a process of transforming to the image of Christ for the sake of others (J. Robert Mulholland). The passage describes the nature of Kairos as we design learning experiences that shape content, character, and craft–leading us to live from unending love. (It appears we could use an extra measure of love in our world these days!) In my work in higher education, I have often relied on the work of educational theorist, Newitt Sanford, who described students as being ready for growth but needing support for the challenge of learning. This model of education integrates nicely with Kairos:
What have you been made ready for?
Whom have you made ready to serve?
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
Where are you needing further training and perseverance in faith?
What breaks your heart for others or what goals do you have as a disciple?
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5).
Who is “around your table” that offers insights and encouragement?
Who can help prepare you for the challenges before you?
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Corinthians 13:11).
As formation happens in community, in Kairos we value being a community of learners living into the call we have been made ready for while coming alongside each other with support for the challenges set before us.