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Lesson 10: The Affects of Age Group Growth & Development of Religious Education

Charles Tidwell’s book Educational Ministry of the Church gives an excellent overview of the importance of understanding levels of growth and development as we plan religious education. We will only skim the surface of this important feature of religious education. The reader would do well to read additional materials on age group characteristics or read more on the subject.

I need to reemphasize that how the church meets needs will vary according to the readiness of the individual.

Tidwell writes: “An overarching statement of a person’s needs for Christians teaching and learning could be stated as follows: A person needs to become aware of God as revealed in Scripture and most fully in Jesus Christ, respond to him in a personal commitment of faith, strive to follow him in the full meaning of discipleship, relate effectively to his church and its mission in the
world, live in conscious recognition of the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, and grow toward Christian maturity.”

All people share these basic religious education needs. The depth and method for meeting these needs will differ.
Need for Conversion
The child needs to begin to associate God and Jesus with feelings of love and happiness; to think of the Bible as a special book that tells about God; to learn that the church is a place to learn about God.
Older Preschool: This age needs to know God loves him/her at all times. To recognize that some things please God. To see the Bible as a book that teaches us how to please God.
Older Child: Needs to understand that all people do wrong and that this displeases God. To understand that wrong actions are a sin against God. To realize that Jesus died so we can be forgiven of sin. To understand that he/she becomes a Christian by trusting Jesus—not by being good, going to church or being baptized. Realize that he/she needs God’s forgiveness. Some older Children
will make a profession of faith and be baptized.
Youth: Recognize God’s judgment on sin. Realize the consequence of his own sin. Understand Jesus live, death, and resurrection. Make a public profession of faith and be baptized.
Adult: To understand they are a creation of God. He is also their savior. By accepting Jesus sacrificial death in their place, they may
receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Follow in baptism. have a growing desire to serve and mature in their Christian faith.