Friday, December 07, 2007

Spiritual formation, discipleship, Christian education (3)

Spiritual formation, discipleship and spiritual formation (3)

In two earlier posts, I have asked the question about the relationship between Christian education, spiritual formation and discipleship here and here. Thank you for your answers and discussions. It has helped to stimulate my thinking on their inter-relationships. I shall continue by offering some definitions and characteristics of Christian education, discipleship and spiritual formation and then re-examine the models I have presented before. As this is a work in progress, my definitions and characteristics may not necessary be correct so I hope you will correct me if you do not agree with them. I hope you will give me your comments and recommendations

Christian Education

• Education is the process of developing a worldview. Christian education is the process employed by Christians to help other Christians (children and adult) to develop a Christian worldview.

• Purpose of Christian education
o Teach core doctrinal beliefs
o Practical ethical Christian living
o Teaching local church’s mission, vision and traditions
o Community living
o Teach denomination traditions

• Educational activities carried out by the church
o Not all Christian education activities are Christian e.g. tuition, learning second language, skills development, leadership training
o Not all Christian education activities are educational e.g. indoctrination, role learning
o Teaching may have been carried out but learning may not have occurred

• Structured and unstructured components
o Follow a specific program, or theme or mission statement of the church
o There is usually a curriculum; especially null curriculum
o Structured e.g. adult bible classes, sermons, book studies
o Unstructured e.g. fellowship
o Influenced by the church leadership’s underlying philosophy and belief systems e.g. health and prosperity gospel, Spirit-filled, reformed, Wesleyan

• Most activities carried out in the church premises
o Exception outreach point, cell groups

• Educators are pastors, laypersons who may or may not be trained (theologically and as a teacher)

• The main pedagogy used is instructional-schooling (classroom style) though others such as adult learning, learning styles may be used
o Strong historical Sunday School influence
o Architecture of church-classroom or auditorium layout

• Target population are children and adults who attends the church

• Engagement with culture; depends on the church
o Some churches try to engage culture, e.g. emerging churches
o Some churches form religious ghettos

• Some programs are time limited e.g. courses in adult study classes

• More emphasis on cognitive rather than spiritual experiences

• Role of the Holy Spirit in Christian education activities

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