To be a disciple means to follow Christ, like an apprentice follows a master. An apprentice is not a passive follower but someone who actively copies what the master is doing. St Pauls says: “be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us”. To know how to be like Christ we must come to know Christ. Therefore we must pray, read the Bible, and learn about our faith.
Sometimes it is easy to hear “education” and think ‘school’, ‘exams’, or ‘academia’. In fact, to be educated literally means to be ‘drawn-out’ or extended beyond what you once knew. When we follow Jesus faithfully he leads us out to new ways of being and doing. God can reveal Godself to us in many ways. These revelations (in prayer, music, study, nature, preaching, movies, poetry …) grant us knowledge. This knowledge inevitably changes who we are.
Change is good! It’s not always comfortable or easy, but if it makes us more like Christ it is most certainly good. In the church we use the word ‘formation’ to describe the things that we do to imitate Christ.
Imagine for a moment that you are a bowl. To be educated would be to fill you up, but to be formed would be to change your shape. We try to offer education that helps change our shape so that we can be more like Christ (Rom 8.29).