Programming in itself is not bad. Problems come when:
- a program takes on a life of its own rather than being seen as a tool to a greater purpose
- a program exists because "we've always done it this way"
- a program becomes a priority over people
Validate the existence of the various programs using the following questions:
(1) Does it line up with the overall purpose of the church?
Each program or strategy in the church should have a distinct purpose that fits within the overall church purpose which is to love God and to love people, accomplished through worship, nurture, evangelism, fellowship, and benevolence strategies.
The Christian Education ministry of the church focuses more on the nurturing or building up of believers. Programs and strategies should therefore be developed to help people learn more about God and His ways with the end result of loving Him more. Worship, evangelism, fellowship, and benevolence may be included within the various Christian Education programs but not as the primary objective.
(2) Does it have a distinct objective within the overall purpose?
Avoid duplicated efforts, especially if you have limited resources.
(3) Does the spiritual yield merit the resources required to effectively carry out the program?
Certain types of programs require a lot of manpower and/or financial expenditure. Can you justify it in light of available resources against the eternal value it promotes?
(4) Are the resources required to effectively carry out the program available?
The Christian life is a journey of faith. God may want you to step out and do something for Him that seems beyond your means. However, He will ultimately provide for that which He desires. If the resources just don't seem to be forthcoming, ask God if the program or strategy is His will for your church.
(5) Does it stem from prayer as God's idea or is it the result of following after another church or after the ideas of man?
Because something worked well in another church doesn't mean it is God's plan for you. Because you think something is a good idea doesn't mean God wants you to do it. Because something didn't work well in another church doesn't mean God won't use it in your church.
Though God will work in our midst despite ourselves, He is most glorified when we trust in Him over a program or idea.
A list of programs or strategies that may be a part of Christian Education ministry could include:
Bible Study Discussion Groups
Catechism or Confirmation Classes
Christian School or Day Care Program
Conferences & Retreats
New Members Class
Special Education Program
Vacation Bible School
Some of the Christian Education programs may be right for your church and some may not. Run existing programs and desired programs through the validation questions above. If a program passes the test, discern the best use of your resources to determine the way you should structure it. Then give it your best as unto the Lord (Col. 3:17; 1 Cor. 10:31) in the power of the Lord (Phil. 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:3).
Need a big picture perspective and biblical principles for coordinating the Christian Education ministry in the church? Order the Christian Education Ministry Manual.
Want to work at getting your Christian Education leadership team on the same page? Order the Christian Education Leadership Team Training.
Looking for some guidelines and resources to administrate the Christian Education ministry of your church? Order the Christian Education Files.
Better yet, order the Christian Education Ministry Bundle which includes all three of these resources.