We all have key beliefs that come together and shape how we view ministry. We may not be able to verbalize our philosophy well, but deep down, what we believe about different factors in ministry does tend to affect what we do.
Example of How our Ministry Philosophy Affects What We Do in Christian Education
People may not always be able to put what they want from their Bible teachers into words but their inattentiveness, and maybe even lack of attendance, suggest they aren’t finding what they want. Here are three things that have biblical merit.
What do people want from their Bible Teachers?
1) People want Bible teachers to provide real answers to real problems.
Bible teachers need to respond with candor rather than mere cliches, fluff, and ‘Christianized’ language. And, they need to be answering the real questions, the ones people are asking, not just the ones they think people should ask. They need to be willing to truly engage people and not shut them down or minimize their questions. If their Bible teachers aren’t going to provide realness, they may turn to the world for answers.
Let’s remember that God intends for His Word to be useful in people’s lives.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
2) People want Bible teachers to be relational, not merely dispensers of knowledge.
Despite all the social media in our high tech world of information overload, people still feel a disconnect. Bible teachers who take a holistic approach to students will touch their lives so much more than those who merely show up and pour all they know into their students. Teachers who structure for dialog and interaction among fellow students, as well as themselves, will tap into a need people may not even acknowledge they have. If Bible teachers aren’t consciously promoting community in their class, they may be blocking it, and hence perpetuate the disconnectedness people already feel.
Let’s remember all the “one another” commands of Scripture that promote supportive relationships.
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Rom. 12:5)
3) People want Bible teachers to be relevant.
Bible teachers who tap into the real needs of students will make greater inroads into their lives than those who fail to consider the implications of the lesson to people’s lives. Relevant Bible teachers tend to grab people’s attention so they can step out of the world and into the Word wherein they will find a God who not only cares about but is also able to meet their needs.
Lets remember that walking the walk goes beyond head knowledge to being able to see the implications of truth to our lives and then applying it.
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience … (Col. 1:9-11)
Building a ministry team for the administration, coordination, and implementation of your Christian education programs or strategies could be one of the most important tasks apart from the discipleship process itself. If you have the right people involved in this ministry, the likelihood of seeing lives changed through the various strategies and programs will increase.
What to Look for in People When Building your Christian Education Ministry Team
Ask the following questions for each position needed to implement the various strategies in your Christian Education Ministry. (Click on the links for more about that factor.)
Spiritual Gifts: Does this person have the special divine empowerment to do the task?
Heart Passions: Is the person’s heart drawn toward that group of people, issue, or ministry?
Personality: Does the person give enough attention to details necessary for the task? Or, does the person get along well with people if it is a people-oriented position?
Walk with God: Does the person know Jesus as Savior and Lord? Is the person committed to growing and becoming more Christ-like?
Experience: Is previous experience required? Experience can be helpful but doesn’t always have to be a requirement depending on the position and if the person is teachable and you are willing to invest into the training of the person.
Philosophy: Does the person’s philosophy of ministry sufficiently blend with the philosophy of ministry established by this ministry? How critical are any discrepancies to this person’s ability to be a team player?
Availability: Can this person devote time to adequately prepare and fulfill the tasks needed to effectively minister in this way?
This content is part of the Christian Education Ministry Manual along with other information in the Christian Education training section of the site. A simple manual scoring spiritual gifts test, which you are permitted to copy, is also provided that assesses only the eight spiritual gifts most commonly used in Christian Education Ministry. In addition you will find tools for assessing people’s passions and personality temperament to help you find qualities most fitting to the various tasks / ministries to be accomplished in Christian education.
For on the Christian Education Ministry of your Church, read the following:
A previous post emphasized that Christian Education is an ongoing process. We never arrive at a built product. Rather, we are in a constant state of building. But, what are we building … programs or people? As was also communicated in the previous post, God’s objective is for believers to grow and keep growing to become more and more Christ-like. Will your programs and facilities help people grow? Prayerfully they will be used by God but we must keep perspective.
Programs are tools, not the means of growth.
Building up people begins with the cross and requires that we keep taking people back to the cross … not that they attend our programs.
When thinking about how God wants us to grow, we must take a look at 2 Peter 1:3-9. Verse five points to being intentional in the growth process — “make every effort to add to …” but notice where it begins: “to add to your faith.” We begin our journey as believers accepting God’s salvation “by grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8) because of the cross and add to that faith “goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love” (2 Pet. 1:5-7). But, it doesn’t end there if we are going to be effective and productive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus, we must “possess these qualities in increasing measure” (2 Pet. 1:8). The only way we are going to keep increasing is to keep throwing ourselves at the foot of the cross, the basis for His continued working in our lives — “But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins” (2 Pet. 1:9).
Building up people requires helping them get to know the God of the Bible … not merely gain Bible knowledge through your classes and programs.
Are you praying similarly for the people in your church as the Apostle Paul did for the Colossian church?
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that … (Col. 1:9-11)
Notice how the objective wasn’t merely that they were filled with the knowledge of God’s will. Paul prayed that the people would also see the implications and application of that truth to their lives and live accordingly. To what end? — That they bore fruit but also that they grew in the knowledge of God … not merely knowing about Him, but truly knowing Him.
Programs are tools, not the source of growth.
How important it is for us to notice in the context of the above referenced passages pertaining to believers growing, that we find the source of such growth.
2 Pet. 1:3 – His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Col. 1:11 – growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that …
God will undoubtedly use our programs and facilities in the growth process as we build them according to His specifications, but we cannot give ourselves or our efforts the credit. Our programs are merely tools to plant and water the seed. “… neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Cor. 3:7).
If we view programs as an end in themselves, there will likely come a time when they are no longer useful to building up people. We will undoubtedly get to the point where Christian Education is about maintaining and perpetuating programs when God’s objective is that people “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” to which we can add, ” To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” (2 Pet. 3:18)
Next step? – Validate the existence of the various programs you have developed.
For help: Questions to ask
Are you satisfied with your Christian education ministry?
You could potentially get to the point where you are happy with the facilities. When I was a Director of Christian Education, my pastor gave me a privilege few ministry leaders get. I was encouraged to evaluate the facilities and make changes. We broke down walls to make some rooms bigger. We divided a larger room into an area for sleeping babies and active babies with the top portion of the wall a big plexiglass window so workers could keep an eye on the sleeping ones. We painted walls, put murals on some, made a couple doors so the top half could open by itself and others with windows, installed new carpet in a few rooms, put in child size toilets for the toddler room, etc. Was everything ideal? No, but I was very happy with it because it certainly was better than what we started with and it was the best we could do with what we had to work with. It was re-built and had the potential of making a big difference in our Christian Education ministry.
You could potentially get to the point where you feel good about the programs you offer. Along with a facilities makeover, I was also able to make changes to our programming. I turned the nursery and toddler programs from being primarily about babysitting to actually teaching on their age level. I revamped the way classes were structured. In coordination with the pastor, I even instituted a Sunday School ministry that focused on one theme taught to all ages and continued by the pastor in his sermon so people left with one big idea and had a platform for discussion as a family. I developed Sermon Grabbers for children who were old enough to stay in the worship service that were based on that day’s sermon and enabled kids to listen for key truths in the sermon and interact with the content on their level. Many other ideas were implemented that hadn’t been done prior. Was everything perfect? No, but there was a higher level of excellence and focus than previously. It was built in such a way that it had the potential of making a bigger difference.
Once built to satisfaction, is your Christian Education making a difference?
You might have heard the statement, “If you build it, they will come.” We built it and they did come. Attendance grew to higher numbers than we had been seeing. Was all that enough? No. Why? — Because while you can get your facilities and programs to a state in which you consider them “built” … at least for a time … it all needs to be making a difference in people’s lives.
The objective is for believers to grow and keep growing.
Unlike facilities and programming, people never arrive. Christian Education must be about constantly building into people’s lives no matter how spiritually mature they become. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:10-12 —
I want to know Christ — yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
If your Christian Education ministry is about your facilities and programs, you could potentially get to the point where you feel like you have it built. If Christian Education ministry is about people, you will constantly be in the building process. From physical birth to physical death, from new birth in Christ to glory with Him, it’s about helping people at all ages and stages to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).
In reality, because we keep building into people’s lives and they continue to grow, the dynamic changes and new needs arise, so we find that our facilities and programs must sometimes be adjusted even when we feel like they had already been built to our satisfaction. That’s what happens when Christian Education is about building people and not just programs.
In a previous post we looked at how memorizing Scripture is a powerful tool in our walk with God. Look back at the verses used in that post and you will find that the verses have no age for beginning to memorize nor an ending age attached to them. From the youngest among us to the oldest, we all can benefit from having Scripture memorized.
from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Tim. 3:15)
Age Appropriate Considerations in Scripture Memory:
1) Think about the length of the verse.
The younger the age, the shorter the length of the verse should be. Preschoolers might only memorize a phrase from a verse as long as it is meaningful.
2) Think about the relevancy of the verse’s content.
Due to life experiences and age level developmental needs at the various ages, certain verses are better for the different ages.
You will find a number of posts on the Train Bible Teachers Blog with verses that fit the different age level brackets. Click on the ages below that fit you or the age you serve.
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