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Education in the Church

Lesson 1: What is education in the church?
Education is undergoing a great transition within the church.
There are many unanswered questions.
1. What will the role of religious education be in the future?
2. Is the day of traditional Bible, prayer or group study over?
3. Do we need to create new ways to enable people to learn and deepen their faith?
4. How do we encourage people to look beyond themselves and into their communities?
5. How does the church communicate with people who are interested in faith but run from the institution?
6. How can we give quality in place of quantity programming?
7. In this entertainment oriented society how do Christian educators gain and keep their audience attention?

We will examine these questions and others during the coming internet posts.

Since we are educators who ministry through the church, it is essential that we understand
the meaning of education, ministry and church.

Charles Tidwell’s book Educational Ministry of the Church states,
“Education is the act or process of developing and cultivating mentally or morally.
It is preparing one for a calling by systematic instruction. It is teaching, training, discipline, or forming.
It is the disciplining of mind or character. It is a science that deals with the principles and
practices of teaching and learning.
Some trace it to the Latin infinitive ducere, to lead, which when accompanied
by the prefix “e” means to lead out. In the context of the educational ministry of a church,
education is not mental or moral, but mental and moral; it is not mind or character, but mind and character.
It includes knowledge of facts—learning of a cognitive nature. It includes attitudes, how we feel about
things—learning of an affective nature. Education occurs by way of experiences, some direct
and some indirect with regard to the involvement of the sensory systems. Some educational experiences
can be accounted for only as revelations (Galatians 1:12, Matthew 16:17).”

In the same text, Tidwell writes, “Ministry is the act of doing things needful or helpful.
From a Christian’s perspective, ministry has a connotation of service rendered, labor or duty
performed for the benefit of and to others. In the context of the educational ministry of a church,
ministry is that which is done to advance the educational intentions of those who comprise a church.”

Tidwell misses the point that ministry is done in the name of God.
We minister because we are lead by the Holy Spirit to do so.
This outside divine personality leads us to speak and act in the name of the risen savior Jesus.
Our desire to minister does not come from a desire to do good.
It is a call from God that is inescapable.

A church as defined by Tidwell “is a body of persons who have become children of God
by receiving Jesus Christ, by believing in his name, and who have voluntarily joined themselves
together to share the fellowship of his love, and to carry out his will in the world.
Loving obedience to him as we live our lives together is a primary focus of a church.
Essential to the life of this body…are the functions of worship, proclamation and witness,
nurture and education and ministry.”