The great football coach, Weeb Eubank, had a tradition at the beginning of every season. He would take all the new and seasoned players, sit them down, and then begin his lecture. He would take a football, stick it in their faces, and say to them, “Gentlemen, this is a football! Get to know it all over again.” He would go on to explain that unless they remembered the basics of the game of football, they could not win.
The same is true of the church. Unless we keep going back to the basics of who we are and what we believe, we will not continue to grow in the truth, for the truth starts with the basics.
Time is the most precious commodity God has given to us, and it is not renewable! Once it is gone you can never make up for lost time. No one has more, or less, time than you do. You have 1440 minutes per day and 168 hours each week in which to offer faithful service. Even Jesus had the same amount of hours in His day, but think about the ways He invested that time. Peter said to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18).
To answer this question we need to go back and define what parts of the church involve Christian Education. The answer: everything the church does is Christian Education! Unless we clearly understand this principle true discipleship will not happen. With this understanding we can begin to comprehend what Paul meant when he said the job of the pastor (and note he really says pastor/teacher) is NOT to do the work of the ministry, but to EQUIP the members of his church to do it.
We teach a great deal by how we communicate. For example, when a student asks an off-topic question with true sincerity and curiosity, how do you deal with it? Do you dismiss the question? Do you tell the student that the question is not important because it has nothing to do with the lesson? Here, your hidden curriculum is how you decide to handle the situation. While we don’t want to get off the topic, we must make sure the students understand that they are important, and their question is important, but at a more appropriate time.
One of the hardest things I had to do as academic dean in a seminary in South Africa was to educate the faculty to understand the different between a “content driven curriculum” and a “process oriented curriculum.” Read more…
We have all used the word curriculum, but not many really know what it means. To most it conveys the material we use. It comes from the Latin meaning “a race.” God’s curriculum, or race, for His children is that in the end we are more like His Son Jesus. What we generally refer to as curriculum is really a curriculum plan. When we use Great Commission’s material for, say, grade three, it is a segment of the overall race that will take a child through the third grade with specific experiences for that quarter and year.
Two negative outcomes are possible when a small group of the same people meet together indefinitely. One is that the group gradually disintegrates. Another is that the group becomes exclusive. Other people aren’t really welcome-even if it’s said that they are.
Small group ministry is an important facet of many church programs. But small groups meeting without wrestling with the implications of the Scripture for their lives, individually and corporately, are at the very least deficient.
Small group suggests a level of understanding that grows as people come to know each other better. And that is a significant inhibitor. Many of us don’t want to be known. This makes us vulnerable. If they really know me will they still accept me? I ask myself that question. Whether you ask it or not, there’s a real possibility that it makes you cautious in relationships.
Small group ministry is a program. Like any program it should be viewed as a means to an end. If you don’t have a clear idea what you want a program to accomplish its value ought to be seriously questioned. To put it another way: don’t have a small group ministry because you think everyone else has one.
Christian Education and Publications is a committee of the Presbyterian Church in America, charged with the task of equipping and discipling the churches of the denomination.
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