WWJT

This last Saturday I was with a group from Salem Presbytery exploring what it means to be The Hopeful Church. We looked at the current state of Christian education in mainline churches, particularly the PC(USA). We talked  about how difficult it is to change the model of Sunday School with which many of us have grown up.

Then we tried an activity to break us out of our preconceived notions of what Christian Education is about. I called it WWJT, which could be translated “What Would Jesus Teach?” or “Where Would Jesus Teach?” Continue reading

What’s NEXT for Christian Education?

Report from 2015 NEXT Church Conference                                                                                    Fourth Presbyterian Church                                                                                                    Chicago, March 16-18

What is the NEXT Church?

It’s a movement within the PC(USA) that—in the midst of severe drops in giving, worship attendance and controversial issues like gay rights and Israel-Palestine conflict—shows that the denomination (and it’s churches) aren’t dead. But instead the PC(USA) is changing, expanding and transforming into the body of Christ that God calls it to be. Here’s how the NEXT Church expresses it on their website.

For me, what truly nourishes my heart and soul at the NEXT Church Conferences is morning and evening worship, connecting with friends and colleagues (as well as making new ones), the presentations on new ways of doing ministry/cultural trends/justice and societal issues, and workshops.

While the conference doesn’t explicitly talk about Christian Education ministry, it is faithfully educating Christians about what it means to be the body of Christ and to do God’s work in the world—to (according to this year’s theme) go “beyond our walls, our fears and ourselves” to be Christ’s hands and feet. Continue reading

Underground Railroad Educational Model

From time to time in these postings, I’m hoping we can take a step back and explore new models for educational ministry. This is one of those days. Several years ago, I was privileged to hear the attached paper presented at the Religious Education Association’s annual meeting. I hear a lot of academic papers presented, but this particular one has stayed with me and sparked creative ways of thinking of our process of Christian education and the roles that we play in guiding others in faith. Continue reading