BL - 48 Christian Education

Introduction to the Subject
It is a study of Christian education program in the local church and of the principles, techniques of Christian education.  This course is designed in order to meet the needs of Director of Christian Education in the church.  As well, it meets the needs of Pastor, teacher, missionary, and voluntary workers to equip them to serve as leaders in Christian education programmes in various level of ministries.
  1. Definition of Christian Education
                        Primarily Christian education (CE) is the process of  leading a person to salvation which is the beginning point of Christian education.  Secondarily, it is the process to guide the Christian for his sustained and continued growth toward Christ likeness  and for equipping him to do effective service for the glory of God.
                   Based on the above definition, Christian education has three phases in the process.  The very first phase is evangelism or leading a person to Christ   for salvation.  This phase is emphasized in Matthew 28 : 18-20.  The second phase is edification or guiding him (New believer) to grow continually in Christ.  This growth is sustained by God’s word as in 1 Peter 2 : 2.  The third phase is equipping the Christian to render effective service in the will of God.  An equipped Christian will perform great service by teaching others as Timothy did in his ministry (2 Tim. 2 : 2).  Thus Christian education includes Evangelism, Edification, and Equipping.
  1. The Need of Christian Education
                    Christian Education  is very much necessary in every local church, because it was commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ (Mt. 28 : 18-20 – Teach).  The apostles also taught to the early church (Act 2 : 42).  As Apostles taught from scripture, our Christian education must be based on scripture (The Bible).
  1. The Importance of Christian Education
                   Christian Education not only results in Christian maturity but moulds and makes a person as good citizen of the nation.  Christian Education is important because –
  • CE helps a person to have proper value for his life so that he would invest his life meaningfully.
  • CE prepares a Christian to serve for the development of his nation.
  • CE helps a person to face the challenges of life. (When a person is able to face the challenges, he will not commit suicide).
  • CE guides and motivates the youth for patriotism so that they will never become terrorists against any nation. Hence proper Christian Education is the only solution to terrorism.
Christian Education is important and valuable for the above mentioned reasons.
  1. Biblical Basis for Christian Education
                   Christian Education is not a new concept in the New Testament.  It has its root in the Old Testament.  In Old Testament (OT) times, the Jews taught the children in their homes.  Mother taught children upto their age of three.  After three years, she took care of education of girls.  On the other hand, father took care of the education of sons.  They taught children from scripture. (Gen. 18 : 19 ; Deut. 6 : 7 ; Prov. 1 : 8 ; 4 : 1-4 ; 13 : 1 ; 22 : 6 ; 23 : 22).  During inter – testament period, synagogue played important role in teaching children.
                   In the New Testament, parents as well as the church have the responsibility of teaching to the children (Eph. 6 : 4 ; 4 : 11 ; Act. 2 : 42 ; 11 : 26 ; Rom. 12 : 4-7 ; 1 Cor. 12 : 28 ; 1 Tim. 2 : 7 ; 2 Tim. 1 : 5,11 ; 3 : 15).  As both testaments guide, Christian Education must be programmed even today.
  1. Institutions for Christian Education
                   God has ordained two institutions for Christian Education; namely the Christian home and the local church.
  1. Home : True Christian Education begins in home.  Parents must first take the responsibility of teaching scripture to their children (Deut. 6 : 6- 9 ; Eph. 6 : 4)  (Ex) Timothy was taught in his home (2 Tim. 1 : 5).
  1. Church : The local church has the responsibility of teaching to its members of all age groups.  Jesus Christ commanded the apostles to teach to new believers (Mt. 28 : 18-20).  The apostles taught scripture to believers from the very first day of the beginning of the church (Act. 2 : 41-42).  In order to fulfill this great task, God has given teachers to the church (Eph. 4 : 11 – Teachers, Pastors).
Hence we understand that the Christian home as well as the local church must give equal importance to Christian Education to its members.
  1. Stages of Development according to the Age.
There are many stages of development from birth to adult.  They can be divided as the following:
  1. i) Children – (a) Childhood
                                         (b) Elementary (6-9 years)
  1. ii) Youth – (a) Pre-teen (10-12)
                                         (b) Teens (13-19 )
                                        (c) College
iii)     Adults        – (a) Unmarried
                                         (b) Married
                                         (c) Middle-aged
                                         (d) Senior
                   Christian Education programme must focus on all these age groups.  God’s word is sufficient for all age groups. However, Christian Education Department of the church must design the syllabus to meet the spiritual need of different age groups.  Based on the age groups, the classes can be divided.
B.      Special Groups according to the need
                   Although all can come under different age groups, there are some who need special care due to their status in society.  The following are the people who need such a special care.
  1. Single Parents : These people have no life partner due to either death of spouse or divorce. They live with their children without having any help from life partner.
  1. ii) Divorced : The Divorced (with children or without children) need special care.  Sometime, they may have no income to run the family.
  1. ii) Care groups :  These are people who are going through crisis due to old age, prolonged sickness and handicaps (Physically or mentally challenged).  The orphans can be placed in this care group.
              So our CE programme must be able to guide these people also in God’s word.
C.      Various Christian Educational Programs in the Church
                   There are various CE programs that can be used to teach God’s word in Church.  According to the need of the people and the programmes the syllabus must be prepared.  The syllabus must be suitable to edify the people based on God’s word.
  1. Sunday Schools
Generally, we think that Sunday School is for children only.  But we can design Sunday Class  syllabus for adults too.
  1. Bible Study Cells
Bible Study Cells can be arranged in the church as well as in homes.  Book studies (Bible books – Genesis, Exodus, etc.) are very useful  to Bible Study Cells.  Lessons can be prepared on special topics of the Bible too.
  1. Prayer Groups
Generally Prayer Groups gather for prayer.  However, the leader of the prayer group must use the opportunity to teach God’s word through brief exhortations.  Such exhortations must motivate the people for prayers.
  1. Christian Parenting
              A most neglected ministry in church is Christian Parenting.  As a result of it, children lost their way, especially during their youthhood; and the family relationship is in jeopardy.  In order to make good Christian families, church should teach to the parents on Christian parenting according to God’s word.  CE department and the pastor of the church must take initiative to teach to young parents. CE department can invite old successful Christian parents to share their experience of parenting to young Christian parents.  Their experience will greatly help the young parents to understand the value and techniques of Christian parenting. (Jud. 13 : 8, 12, 13).
  1. Pre-marital Counselling
              Another area in which CE is very poor in Indian churches is Pre-marital counselling.  As a result of this negligence, some young couple do not know how to live as a Christian family.  This often results in divorce.  In order to avoid divorce and other family disputes, Christian young people both men and women must be taught well before marriage about family, finance of family, husband-wife relationship etc.  Pre-marital counselling is the best way to do it.  Matured Christian men can teach to young men before their marriage; matured Christian women can teach to young ladies as well.
  1. Young Married Couples Fellowship
Each local church could arrange a fellowship meeting at least once in two months for young married couples.  If possible, such fellowships can be arranged every week.  During such fellowship, couples must be taught well to handle emotional issues, husband-wife adjustments, inter-personal relationship, financial matters etc.  Senior members of the church, if they are matured spiritually, can handle such fellowship, under the supervision of the pastor, or the leader of family counselling cell of CE Department.
  1. Biblical Counselling
It covers all kinds of people in the church.  Every individual may have different problems which need special counselling.  In those situations, CE department must have special cell to counsel the individual.  The counseling must be given based on God’s word; because human philosophical counseling often fail to bring required result.  Hence biblical counseling is the most successful one for all people.
  1. Women’s Fellowship
It is also a special ministry of CE department of the church.  Only women can attend this fellowship.  In such fellowship, they can discuss the problems of women and find solution from God’s word for their problems.  A matured Christian lady can lead such fellowship.  It is better that the leader of women Fellowship is trained theologically in counseling.
  1. Men’s Fellowship
Some Indian churches have men’s Fellowship.  The Pastor of the church or a matured Christian can lead such fellowship.  It can address the problems faced by men in society, families, financial management of family etc.  If men’s fellowship is strong spiritually, the church will strong in all areas of its ministries.
  1. New Comer’s Group
There should be special classes for New comers who attend the church newly.  Such classes can be arranged for them for atleast four weeks from the day they come.  In those classes, the pastor or any senior member of the church can teach about the Bible, its importance (2 Tim. 3 : 16 ; 1 Tim. 4 : 10-11), and Salvation etc.  This class will help the new comer to understand the importance of salvation, fellowship, etc.  If a new comer has any problem, he should be counseled well biblically and the church should help him in prayer and fellowship.
  1. Baptism Classes
If any new comer or any one accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as his / her saviour, he / she should be taught well about baptism; the meaning of the word (Baptizo means “to dip or immerse”) and spiritual understanding of baptism (Rom. 6 : 3-10).  This classes can be conducted for atleast six weeks before giving baptism.  Then they have to be baptized by the pastor.  A baptized believer will become the member of the church with all rights pertaining to a member of the church.
  1. Vacation Bible School (VBS)
Many churches have this programme for the children.  It is usually done during summer or winter vacation.  Good teaching materials are available in India for VBS.
  1. Seminars
CE department of the church in consultation with the pastor must arrange various seminars on selected biblical topics.  Renowned Bible scholars can be invited as resource persons.  It is good to have at least two seminars in a year.
  1. Retreats
Every church must arrange retreats for its members.  There could be separate retreats for youths and families.  It is good to select peaceful locations with the best environment.  When selecting retreats location, safety and protection of participants must be ensured.
  1. Camps
As retreats are arranged, there must be camps for different age groups of the church members.  It is good to select camp centers which are located in natual environment with good flora and fauna.  Every church can select camp center according to its budget.  Better financial management is important so that funds will not be spent lavishly in arranging camps.  Each camp must have a specific goal.  Based on that goal, the biblical topic must be dealt according to God’s word.  The scriptural topics must help the participants to grow in Christ.
  1. Leadership Training
The pastor, church committee, and CE departrment of the church must give extreme importance for Leadership Training.  Many Indian churches do not have any programme as well as plan for leadership Training.  It is the need of the hour.  If new leaders are not trained and raised up in a church, the future of that church will be in question.  It is good to select youths and middle aged persons for leadership Training.  They should be trained according to their call and spiritual gifts. (1 Cor. 14 : 12 ; 1 Tim 4 : 15).
  1. Evangelism
Our Lord Jesus, has commanded us in “His Great Commission’ (Mt. 28 : 18-20) about evangelism.  The apostles and the early church were zealous on evangelism (Act. 13 : 1-4).  It is evident from scripture, that evangelism is the responsibility of every Christian.  However, it is the duty of the church to train its believers on evangelism.  The church should train, send and support missionaries for evangelism.  CE department must take special care to train evangelists in the church.
  1. Care Groups
‘Care Groups’ refers to a special group of selected individuals with a specific ministry for the needy people of church.  The care group must have concern for sick people, old people, neglected people of church.  The members of care group must visit the needy people and help them by spenting time, sharing, comforting, praying etc.  A very few churches in India have formed ‘Care Groups’.  The care group can visit hospitals and neighbourhood to meet and to  help the people.  It is good that the members of Care Group are trained biblical counsellors.
  1. Christian Teaching
  1. Definition of Teaching
              Teaching is basically communicating and transferring knowledge from one person to another.
              A good teacher not only communicates and transfers knowledge  but also transplants his idea and vision in the mind of pupil (learner).
B.             Difference between Secular and Christian Teaching
There is a vast difference between Secular and Christian Teaching, although the term ‘Teaching’ is common.  Secular teaching emphasizes on giving intellectual knowledge, whereas Christian Teaching gives both intellectual knowledge and experimental knowledge (application of intellectual knowledge).  Secular Teaching stresses intellectual capacity and the ability of the teacher.  Christian teaching stresses mainly teacher’s spirituality based on the Bible..
Therefore, Christian Teaching teaches not only scripture but also applying the principles of scripture in the life of learner.  In addition, Christian teaching recognizes the importance of both ability and spirituality.
  1. Teaching Principles of Jesus Christ
Jesus is the good master-teacher (Mk. 10 : 17).  His teaching made great impact on his disciples as well as listeners.  People astonished concerning His teaching (Mt. 7 : 28-29).  The following are the key principles that Jesus used for teaching.
  1. i) Teaching with clarity
Jesus used many parables and practical illustrations in order to teach the truth clear.  He presented His message clearly to the listeners (Mt. 5-7).
  1. Teaching with authority
Jesus began His ministry by reading from scripture (Lk. 4 : 18-22).  He explained scripture.  He, Himself had authority over His teaching.  Even His opponents marveled at His teachings. (Jn. 7 : 46).
The various teaching methods that Jesus used arosed the interest of listeners.  Jesus used not only parables but question methods.  Many a times, Jesus questioned listeners in order to keep attention (Mk. 10 : 38 ; Jn. 6 : 67).
  1. Qualifications of Christian Teacher
We can get many principles for teaching from the example that Jesus showed us.  He is our Master  Teacher.  However, we derive the following qualifications of a Christian Teacher from God’s word.
  1. He must believe God (Heb. 11 : 6).
  2. He must accept the authority of God’s word (2 Tim. 3 : 16-17).
  • He must have the gift of teaching (Eph. 4 : 11 ; 1 Tim. 3 : 2).
  1. He should be a one who delights in God’s word (Ps. 19 : 7-11 ; 119 : 16).
  2. He should be a diligent reader of God’s word. (1 Tim. 4 : 13, 15).
  3. He should have sound-mind (Sober-minded – 1 Tim. 3 : 2).
  • He should have all other spiritual qualification given in the Bible (1 Tim. 3 : 1-7).
Note :  In addition to above qualifications, it is good that a teacher can be theologically qualified.
  1. Christian Learning
  1. Definition of Learning
Learning is thinking into one’s own understanding a new idea of truth or working into habit a new art or skill (Gregory).
  1. Learning in relation to knowledge and wisdom
Knowledge and wisdom are closely connected; but distinct in practical value.  Knowledge is accumulation of truth or facts through education or experience.  On the other hand, wisdom is application of learnt knowledge in learner’s life.
The following example portrays the distinction between knowledge and wisdom.  A chain-smoker has knowledge of that ‘smoking is injurious to health’.  Although he has that knowledge, he is unable to apply that knowledge in his life, because he lacks wisdom.  A smoker has knowledge but no wisdom.  Having knowledge without wisdom is tantamount to ‘Having eyes without vision’.  Likewise, many having knowledge are unable to practice it in their life due to lack of wisdom.
However, a good learner will always apply in his life what he has learnt.   Every Christian learner is expected to be so. (1 Tim. 4 : 16).
  1. Three Stages of Learning
Learning has three important stages as following:
  1. Accumulation of ideas
It is the very first stage of learning.  In this stage, every learner accumulates ideas in his mind by collecting data, through education, experience etc.
  1. Analysis of ideas
In this second stage, the learner carefully analyses the accumulated ideas and meaningfully interprets them.  It is a process by which the learner understands the values of ideas.
  • Application of ideas
This is the final stage of learning in which the learner applies the interpreted ideas to get the maximum possible result in practical life.  No knowledge is perfect until it is applied to life.
Hence, learning is a process which includes accumulation, Analysis, and Application of ideas or knowledge.
  1. Stimulating factors of Learning
  1. Self-Motivation
The best stimulating factor for learning is self-interest.  A learner who has self-interest will learn better than anybody else.  Self-interest is the inner impulse of a learner.  Self-interest is also known as self-motivation.  It is usually known through unstinted hard work.
  1. Outer Motivation
Outer motivation comes from others; especially from the teacher.  A good teacher arose the interest of learner so that the learner commits himself for diligent study / learning.  Thus the teacher is the real outer motivator of learner.  A teacher can motivate a learner through his life, thought-provoking questions, appreciation on achievement, recognition of talents in students etc.
  1. Result of Teaching and Learning
Man gets physical maturity by the process of natural physical growth.  Physical maturity may not automatically cause mental maturity.  A man aged of twenty-five years may be immature emotionally.
A proper teaching – learning process will help a person to get wholesome maturity.  Hence good teaching and learning process will result in mental maturity, emotional maturity, spiritual maturity and social maturity.  In addition, it also helps to solve the problems of life in the light of God’s word.
  1. Learning Techniques
There are various learning techniques.  However the best is principle of association.  Gregory, renowned  Christian Educationalist stated “The lesson to be learned must be explicable in the terms of truth already known by the learner – the unknown must be explained by means of the known”.
          Ex: Mt. 7 : 24-27
          House build on the rock           =       known truth
          Doing according God’s word   =       Unknown truth
Jesus used known truth of ‘House build on the rock’ to explain hitherto unknown truth ‘the strength of obedience to God’s word’.  As Jesus taught, a good teacher must help the learner to learn by associating known facts to unknown facts.  This technique will help the learner to learn and to remember the truth.
  1. Teacher – Learner Relationship
Relationship between the teacher and the learner is very important in Christian Education.  Our Lord Jesus set out the best example concerning Teacher and Learner Relationship.  The principle that Jesus demonstrated concerning Teacher – Learner Relationship is evident in the relationship of Jesus and His disciples.
He found His disciples and called them for ministry.  Three steps Jesus did after calling disciples  must be present in every Teacher  and Learner relationship.
The very first step was Teaching.  He taught them first about His mission, ministry, purpose etc. (Mk. 6 : 1-20).  He taught them many principles through parables.  The second step in Jesus’ Ministry was Training.  After teaching the disciples, He trained them practically.  He gave them practical training by sending them two by two.  He started training His disciples in Luke 10 : 1.  This training was helpful to them.  They returned with joy (10 : 17-20).  Since the disciples came with joy during their training period, Jesus also rejoiced (10 : 21) on training them.  This shows us that both Teaching and Training are important equally.
The third  step or principle in Teacher – Learner      relationship is Trusting.  Jesus not only taught and trained but also trusted His disciples.  Hence, Jesus trusting His disciples was evident when He gave them the Great commission in Mt. 28 : 19-20.  There, He commanded His disciples to go into the whole world.  Since He trusted that they could do ministry, He gave them the Great Commission and sent them in the world.  Since then, the church is ever growing beginning from the day of Pentecost.
The relationship between Jesus and His disciples, teaches us that we should also Teach, Train, and Trust that our students / Trainees can do well.
  1. Work of Holy Spirit in the Teacher and the Learner
The Holy Spirit works in both the Teacher and the learner.  First, for the teacher, the Holy Spirit gives the gift of teaching so that the teacher can teach well as Holy Spirit illuminates him (Eph. 4 : 11 ; 1 Cor. 12 : 28 ; Rom. 12 : 7 ; 1 Cor. 2 : 10-14).  Second, In the life of learner, the indwelling Holy Spirit teaches inwardly to the learner as he is being taught by the teacher.  This inward teaching ministry is known as anointed teaching ministry of Holy Spirit (1 Jn. 2 : 20, 27).  However the Holy Spirit teaches inwardly to all believers, irrespective of believer’s position   in the church, whether as teacher or learner.
  1. Teaching Methods
                   As Christian teaching is important in our churches, the teaching methods are also equally important.  There are many teaching methods, which have to be used according to the age group.
  1. Lectures :        It is useful to adult
  2. Story Telling: It is useful to children
  3. Group Plays / Role Plays : This method is useful to youth and adult.
  4. Group Project : This method is useful to youth.
  5. Puppet Shows : This is another way of story telling.  This method is attractive  to all age groups, especially to children.
  6. Group Discussion : This method is useful to youth and adult.
  7. Class Room Activity : In this method, the teacher and the student will have interaction each other on the subject.  This method makes the class lively.
  8. Home Work : It is also a  way of teaching.  It helps the student to practice or memorise the lesson.
                   There are some other teaching techniques (Picture showing / video show etc.).  The teacher must identify a useful method that will be suitable to his / her students.
  1. Evaluation
Evaluation is the only method to test a student on his learning.  Evaluation is definitely necessary to evaluate how much a student has learnt.  There are various ways to evaluate a student’s performance.
  1. Recitation :  In this method, the students verbally recite what they have learnt from the lesson.
  1. Written Test / Exam : This is the most popular method to evaluate the learners.
  1. Project Works / Thesis : In this method, the learners experiment their knowledge by making / doing a model work.  It is a practical method to evaluate students.  Practical knowledge is tested in this method.  Thesis writing is also one of such project works.
Useful Resource Materials
  1. Outline on Christian Education :
Mrs. Juliet Madavaraj, M.A.C.L., M.A.C.E.
  1. Notes on Christian Education :
                                      Prof. G. Lingala
  1. The Teacher’s Seven Laws :  Roger L. Peterson, Th. D.
  1. What are the qualifications of a teacher?
  2. Explain “Teach – Train – Trust” principle of Jesus Christ?
  3. What is the work of Holy Spirit in the teacher and the learner?
  4. Write a report about “Sunday School Programme” in your church (or) neighbouring church.
Note :         Send your assignment to CALS.  Do not fail to write your Register Number on your Assignment Papers