So, what do we DO about Christian Education?
Tighten up curricula? Churches who depend on membership aren’t going to want to run off the Sunday School Social Club crowd – and to be fair, this is a LOT like leading the horse to water and trying to shove his nose in.
Do away with Sunday School in favor of small groups? There are advantages to this but if not SERIOUSLY committed to accountability and learning, it’s going to become another social club.
Offer better classes at other times? Better – let Horsey come see if he wants the water – assuming he can work it into his schedule.
Require ‘certification’ after x period in classes? Um, yeah, as long as you can talk every other church in town into it… Next?
Require certification for teachers? Okay – better, but how do you handle Ms Annie who has taught in that church since Adam discovered fig leaves?
My answer – all and none of the above!
Hang in there – I plan to make sense soon.
Yes, we NEED to tighten up our curricula – and our selection processes. NO, we DON’T shove it down people’s throats – we do this a year in advance, have suggestions readily at hand when classes hit there inevitable ‘what next’ phase and socialize the idea (translation – talk to everyone well in advance and get them on board rather than instituting change from On Middle Level (The On High gets to institute whatever He chooses!).
No, ‘doing away with’ doesn’t really solve the problems, it just tosses them elsewhere. However, we CAN make adjustments with a nod toward reality. Sunday School designation goes to classes meeting curricula requirements; devotional class designation goes to those that wish to chart their own course – or stay forever in Adult Bible Studies.
Yes, a more user friendly schedule is a good thing – but the Sunday School block should be for Sunday School – moving devotional classes slightly earlier or later. Then offer School level classes at other times as well. Be flexible – schedules change – let them.
Yes, OFFER certification for School level classes – for pity’s sake, let’s graduate occasionally! Devotional classes can keep right on keeping on if they like – but School classes should GET somewhere and a lovely piece of paper once they reach it. This is a goal oriented society – use it.
Yes to teacher certification for School classes – Ms Annie can keep doing what she’s been doing. And don’t for a SECOND knock Ms Annie – God has been using her for umpteen years – only He gets to give her the final grade. Of course, Ms Annie may well surprise you – she may be your first certified teacher!
It sounds easy – it isn’t. There’s a LOT of work here – but leaving our education in the state it’s in is NOT an option. His children deserve to know His word and to understand how it relates to them – and how very much He loves them. A functional Christian education system is a brick in that wall – and ours is crumbling. We need a better brick!