Discipling in Christ
The PAACS spiritual curriculum takes advantage of the opportunity that comes when Christian doctors have set aside years of their lives for intensive training. The spiritual curriculum is designed to be completed within five years, the minimum time frame for completing a PAACS residency. Residents study a different notebook each year, and each notebook contains 20–30 lessons.
Each year, the goal is to have an emphasis on three broad areas:
1) Bible Study
3) Practical Theology (discipleship, ministry, witnessing, etc.).
The curriculum is intended to be used in weekly small group meetings, though participants are encouraged to use the curriculum as a guide to their own daily devotions as well.
Residents and their teachers work together, eat together, study together, pray together, and play together. Together they laugh and cry, work through conflict, celebrate victories, learn from failures, and respond to challenges. This is an ideal context for Christian discipleship! It is exactly how Jesus trained the Twelve. They did life together for three years. It was the best theological education program the world had ever seen.
As the disciples lived with the Master, they were constantly learning by:
Watching how he lived. Godliness is “caught” perhaps more than “taught.” Having a good model to imitate is perhaps the greatest pedagogical method ever devised.
Learning what he taught. Jesus spent many hours teaching. There were things the disciples needed both to learn and un-learn.
Asking questions. Because they had daily access to the Son of God, they were able to ask when they did not understand something.
Taking their first steps in ministry. Jesus was not investing in the Twelve simply for their own edification. He was training them for a life of ministry. Thus he regularly asked them to take on various responsibilities. He gave them opportunities to help with the work he had come to do.
Doing it all together. Jesus’ call was not only to himself but also to one another. And when he sent the disciples out in ministry, it was never alone but always as a team (two by two). Perhaps the most important lessons learned in Jesus’ discipleship program were possible only because they were doing life together!
Not only does PAACS intend for residents to be devoted to medical skills and practices, we pray it will be a season when residents deepen their faith and grow in their spiritual commitment so that they become mature disciples of Jesus Christ, just as Jesus’ disciples learned and grew during their “residency.”
… until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:13–16)
Broadly speaking, we intend to produce men and women who are equipped in three basic areas:
The Head. We expect our graduates TO KNOW the basics of Scripture, what constitutes a Christian worldview, and to be able to give a defense for the hope that is in them (I Peter 3:15). Therefore, the spiritual curriculum includes Bible study, theology, apologetics, Scripture memory, church history, cultural anthropology, counseling, discipleship, ethics, spiritual warfare, etc.
The Heart. We expect our graduates TO BE Christ-like in all their attitudes, conversations, and behaviors. Therefore, the spiritual training encourages residents to be godly in all their conduct, to live disciplined lives, to be humble and teachable, to walk in integrity, to be loving and servant-minded, to be exemplary in their family life, to be filled with the Spirit, to manifest the fruit of the Spirit, etc.
The Hands. We expect our graduates TO DO those activities and to manifest those behaviors that are most consistent with a life dedicated to the glory of God. Therefore, the spiritual program encourages the practice of spiritual disciplines, witnessing to others, tithing, being active in a local church, being discipled and discipling others, maintaining a godly marriage and family, developing good reading habits, the ability to preach and teach, developing skills necessary to be a servant leader, etc.