Educational Ministry of the Church - Lesson 21

Conflict Resolution and Summary

Being trained in skills for conflict resolution helps you to have realistic expectations and gives you the tools you need to effectively resolve situations as they arise.

Gary Parrett
Educational Ministry of the Church
Lesson 21
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Conflict Resolution and Summary

Contact: Who does the work of Christian Education?

Part 3

IV.  Conflict Resolution

A.  Weigh the seriousness of the matter.

B.  Make appropriate use of time and space.

C.  Guidelines for action:

1.  Look in the mirror; search your heart before proceeding.

2.  Resolve to deal with the issue.

3.  Try to separate the person from the issue.

4.  Preserve the dignity of the other person.

5.  Be sure you know the facts.

6.  Choose your words carefully.

a.  Speak the truth in love.

b.  Aim at restoration and encouragement.

7.  Take appropriate measures appropriately.

a.  Pray before acting.

b.  Seek counsel, if possible.

c.  Consider all the ramifications.

d.  Recheck your motives for action.

e.  Be ready to own your decisions.

8.  Be ready to act boldly as God directs.

9.  Be ready to forgive, receive again, and follow-up.

10.  Be sure to learn through the experience.

Part 4

V.  One Final Word

The importance of the spiritual discipline of listening for the teacher ...

Some Ingredients for Significant Christian Formation in the Church

1.  Attention to all three of the Church's chief tasks: worship, outreach and Christian formation.

2.  Community worship service(s) that is(are) focused on worship of God in Spirit and truth, sensitive to seekers and concerned for Christian Formation.

3.  Some form of community teaching/telling of 'the Story' of God's plan of redemption.

4.  A training of would-be members in the basics of the Christian Way.

5.  Ongoing equipping of parents to do their part in raising their children in the faith.

6.  Consistent, ongoing teaching of all members, regardless of age. This may include a Sunday School format and/or Small Group Bible studies during the week.

7.  Occasional opportunities for extended times of teaching/learning - seminars, retreats, etc., that focus on specific themes, topics or Bible books.

8.  Teaching of appropriate materials to specific groups of people - grouped by age, gender, ministry teams, special needs or interests.

9.  Memorization of Bible portions, creeds, catechisms, hymns and other teaching tools can be encouraged and coupled with appropriate teaching/explanation.

10.  Provision of some form of mentoring or 'discipleship' in a one-on-one or other high accountability situation/Spiritual Direction.

11.  Seizing upon teachable moments for the whole community.

12.  Equipping of members in the areas of their giftedness and other avenues of service through mentoring, workshops, service opportunities and evaluations.

13.  Planned and spontaneous community experiences of genuine fellowship, recreation and work.

14.  Outreach activities of various sorts, including mission trips, accompanied by pre-briefing and debriefing.

15.  Regular invitation of guest preachers/teachers from outside the community to bring perspectives from different cultures and Christian traditions.

16.  Provision for a variety of teaching/learning experiences in a variety of settings-throughout the week and throughout the year.

17.  Timely teaching of individuals, a word according to need.

18.  Ongoing training for those engaged in teaching ministries at any and all levels.

19.  Discipline as needed, biblically practiced, including correction of false teaching.

20.  Reading groups and other kinds of discussion groups.

21.  Development of a resource center of Christian Formation materials available for parents, teachers, and all members.

22.  Nurturing within all members a teachable spirit; challenging each one to continual growth and progress.

23.  Ongoing evaluation of all teaching/learning activities, with particular attention to whether or not life transformation is occurring in individuals, groups and the entire church body.

24.  Training in the area of relationships; for example, marriage and family education.

25.  Intergenerational and coordinated learning experiences.

  • Seven questions that provide a framework for choosing and implementing curriculum.

  • Our misconceptions about Christian education can cause us to choose poor or inaccurate content and use ineffctive strategies.

  • The three essential tasks of the Church are worship, outreach and teaching.

  • Christian formation focuses on the process of becoming more like Christ.

  • Instructions for spiritual education from passages in the Old Testament and New Testament.

  • History of Christian education from the early church to modern Sunday school.

  • The Heidelberg Catechism provides essential elements for a Christian education curriculum.

  • The Torah contains the essence of what God wants us to know. Jesus clarifies and exemplifies the Torah.

  • A CORE curriculum should be Comprehensive, Orthodox, Reforming and focused on Essentials. Delivery systems may include bible studies, small groups, Sunday school and sermons.

  • The Ten Commandments are the basis for Old Testament Law and the core teaching of the New Testament.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • A key element for effective education to take place is for teachers to know their students relationally.

  • Effective teachers know their audience and avoid attitudes and expressions that would create obstacles to communication.

  • Asking the right questions about the curriculum and the audience can help you identify what information to emphasize and how to present it effectively.

  • How you define teaching determines content and strategy.

  • Effective teaching engages the whole person.

  • When preparing curriculum, an effective teacher will take into account both the content and the audience.

  • Many people fill the role of teacher in your life at different times and in various ways.

  • Christian education involves recruiting, training, modeling, organizing and supporting people who volunteer to teach.

  • Being trained in skills for conflict resolution helps you to have realistic expectations and gives you the tools you need to effectively resolve situations as they arise.

Through this course, you will gain a deep understanding of the educational ministry of the church, its foundations, principles of teaching and learning, and the development of an effective educational ministry. You will also explore strategies for different age groups, including children, youth, and adults, and learn how to address contemporary issues such as cultural relevance, technology, media, and special needs inclusivity.

Educational Ministry of the Church 
Dr. Gary Parrett 
Conflict Resolution and Summary 
Lesson Transcript


I wanted to talk a little bit about what happened so often when we when we do engage with others on the team of ministry. So funny how many times to take another page out of Baxter in my own life. I could I could be guilty of un saying with my life what I said with my mouth. But cumulatively I think sometimes the church does this in the lives of young people. When leadership of the church in front of the very eyes of the young people or young believers that they're trying to disciple in leadership of the church enters into conflict with one another and don't resolve it. Well, that's kind of what I experienced. Again, my first Christian experience when probably 10% of the people polarized on this issue of whether we should raise our hands or not in praise and ripped the church apart, you know, basically that was it. So that kind of thing is so often devastating for young Christian things to be going well, you're moving along and in actual Christian formation is occurring. And then you watch all this talk about love one another and submit to one another kind of unravel before your eyes through conflict. Conflict, of course, can come in many forms and it can come with many things in mind. Sometimes it's a conflict over philosophy. People have different philosophy. Sometimes it's just personality thing. Sometimes it's based on conviction. Sometimes it's more about pride. But wherever it comes from, I do think it's very important that we just think through some biblical ideas about how to handle it. And whatever your place in the place in the midst of it may be.


These are just some thoughts. I've heard from some students previously that they didn't really have some of this stuff addressed elsewhere during their time here, so I thought we'd just do a little bit of it here, first of all, before I did anything in the midst of a conflict, I would want to weigh in the seriousness of the matter. And I'm thinking here of two things don't make mountains out of molehills, which sometimes we do. And again, sometimes especially, I think because our pride shows up in the midst of the mix, we can be guilty of making mountains out of molehills. But on the other hand, you don't want to allow a molehill to become a mountain again here. I wouldn't be surprised if this is a place where one of where we each have a tendency in one direction or another, where we have a tendency to either blow things out of proportion and make big things out of small, or a tendency just to ignore things and kind of hope they go away. I've always been guilty more on the latter than on the former, and you pay for it in the end. So another thing that I would weigh in terms of seriousness of the matter, I would just want to review, I use the phrase here core values, but just ask yourself the question, what really is important to me and what do I and how does that affect how I'm going to approach this conflict. For example, there may be a conflict, and if I'm focused on the task, I might handle it one way. But perhaps if I handle it that way, it will be at the expense of some of the relationships unless I handle it differently. So think about persons task goals, evaluate the impact of each of these on each of these areas.


You might want to maintain the relationship, but the task may suffer for it. Sometimes you have to weigh this. Here's another place where we have our tendencies. Some of us will be very task oriented and you're fine with confronting people and and just picking up the pieces. If they leave tough, you pick up the pieces, you sweep the floor and you go on. Others are hard. Have a hard time doing that. Just know who you are and think through implications. Make appropriate use of time and space before you decide to attack a problem. Time and space is always very important. You know, we tell parents that when they discipline their child, try not to discipline with spanking or something like that in the heat of your anger. That's one of the wisdom of send your child to the room. And that's not for the child sake so much as for years. Sometimes you can calm down and think about it more objectively and think about what would appropriate discipline be. Well, same thing in case of discipline or conflict matters in the church. Give, give some time and space. The person that you may feel you're in conflict with, they may need some time and space. You may need some time, and space won't just jump immediately into action. If you do take some action and you know that you have to. You've thought about it, you prayed about it, and now you realize you have to take some action. Here's several principals, maybe maybe ten of these that we can think about together. If I feel like I write a thought I've given space, have given time, I have to act. First thing I want to do then is look in the mirror before I decide to act.


Let me look in the mirror. For example, if someone has found fault in me and I want to search my heart and confess and change as necessary, there is a. Often we have the the simplistic reaction of someone spying finds conflict in me. Of course we don't like that typically or finds a problem in me. We don't like it. And so we want to reject it and run from it. But I think the biblically faithful thing to do is take it to the Lord, take it to the Lord in prayer. I suspect that behind every accusation there is at least something for us to reflect upon. Doesn't necessarily mean there's truth in that. But I would say take it to the Lord in prayer and see if there be anything to it. Maybe that 190% of it is invalid, but maybe there's 10%. That's sort of a kernel of truth that I need to think about. So look in the mirror. Someone's fallen found fault in me. Change is necessary. The mirror. I mean, really, In a sense, I'm thinking about scripture as a mirror here because James 122 talks about the one who hears the word but doesn't put it into practice is like the one who's looked, gets a glimpse of who he is and then walks away without doing anything about it. If I have found fault in another again, I mean, look in the mirror, this time searching my heart to see if there may be a plank in my eye before I proceed. And that's often I think we probably know that that's often the case that if I'm finding a fault in another, it may be just a reflection of me that I'm seeing in that person and maybe some of the same stuff in me.


So Matthew seven do not judge and deal with what's going on in your own heart before you try to fix somebody else. If I'm sure that I that this is an issue, then let me resolve that I will deal with it as a second principle. I prayed about it. I've thought about it. I've said, Yep, I better deal with it. Well, then resolve to do so and do so as quickly as possible. Matthew five speaks about if I bring my gift to the altar and I recognize this, there's a problem with my brother, let me do something about it. And I just think good thoughts about it. But let me do something. Why is confrontation necessary? Well, usually there's greater problems if we avoid confrontation. I hate confrontation. I don't like it at all. But I used to I used to kid myself into thinking that I didn't confront people because I you know, I loved them. I didn't want to break down the relationship. I didn't want to hurt them. But that was actually sort of lying to myself if I really loved. Sometimes that means I would confront. And it's a lack of love that refuses to confront sometimes. And typically greater problems occur if we don't do what we know we're supposed to do. We often seek to avoid it because we're afraid of rejection or afraid of hurt or afraid of pain, afraid of the fallout. But we need to do it. If I go forward, try hard. And this is not an easy thing to do, but try hard to separate the person from the issue. Try hard to separate the person from the issue. Recalling who are real enemy is and what his schemes are. Ephesians Chapter six. We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities.


So easy to forget that in the midst of conflict. And we, you know, we get into these things, our ego gets fanned and we want to be the that we want to triumph in the midst of this. But Paul says says here, no, that's not our wrestling match. And Second Corinthians two is a particularly interesting one for me, where there's a person that the Corinthians had been in conflict with, maybe linked to an incident, First Corinthians five. There's varying thoughts about that. But apparently in Second Corinthians to someone at least that has been in conflict with Paul and the Corinthians have refused to offer forgiveness to this person. But Paul says, no, I've forgiven this person and you ought to, too, and you ought to receive this person back. And then the last thing that Paul says in chapter two, verse 11 four, we are not unaware of the devil schemes. I think he's saying that the devil would look for any opportunity in every opportunity to divide. Divide the body. Divide the body, Divide the body. Why? Well, think of the impact on the gospel, if nothing else, According to Matthew, are John 17 and John 13. Unity. Unity properly adorns the gospel and this undercuts its authority. So don't be unaware of the double scheme. The devil is going to look for every conflict as an opportunity to break down the body and hamper the witness of the body and don't play into those things. Attack the issue without trying to attack the other person involved. And again, we know this, but it's easier said than done. So it really does take some resolution and prayer related to. That is this principle, which is try to preserve the dignity of the other person, if that's at all possible, try to preserve the dignity of that other person, because this is not about destroying a person.


This is about confronting an issue. So try to to do that if possible. One way we can do that is by following biblical patterns of discipline. Here I see this built into the Matthew 18 pattern, Right. Someone has offended. I go to that person as an individual, if not all two or three. Try to keep it if possible, try to keep it from becoming a big, fully blown issue. Practice confidentiality. There's hints about and second Corinthians 12 Try to just do whatever I can to to in letter D here to demonstrate that I'm serious about what we said in letter C here. I understand who my real enemy is. This is not about attacking you better be sure you know the facts. That's one of the reasons why time and space is so critical is because we think we know what's going on. And sometimes we confront and then we don't know what's going on and we get ourselves in a heap of trouble. I was in a church ministry position once. We had a large group of volunteer teachers working under under us in a youth ministry position. And one day after this team had been together for months, one day we were off. We were someplace with with the youth group in ministry. And after we'd hung out for a while, one of the youth group teachers realized that someone has stolen money from a purse. And so we were all taken aback. But after all, this was Midtown Manhattan. These things happened. So we thought about that, and then it happened again. Happened again in another youth group meeting. This is very disturbing. And you start thinking some of that somebody in the youth group is stealing money from one of the teachers.


Well, one time, not long after that, we were at a teacher's retreat where there were only teachers, just us. And it happened again and happened to a couple of folks that their money had been stolen. Well, two of our our teachers, they immediately slipped on their Sherlock Holmes hats. And for the next month, they were sleuthing everywhere, just digging up facts and information and, you know, spying on everybody else in the youth group. And then finally, these two came to me and said, we know who it is. And they pushed me for a confrontation. And I had been a little suspicious, too, of this individual. And so but they were confident they had the goods until the next time we were all together. And she wasn't there. And it happened again. So I just you know, I often think about it. There was another person that that fact sort of pointed to this other person. But, you know, no one knew for sure. We just couldn't know for sure. So I had to weigh the possibility here, go with it, sort of a suspicion and confront this person. But think about the setting. Think about what you're confronting with think about the potential fallout here. And I just couldn't do it. There were some suspicions, but there wasn't certainty. They thought they were certain before and they were wrong. And I often think what would have happened in that person's life if they had gone ahead with that confrontation. So be sure that we know the facts and helpful in this regard from James. Again, be quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to anger. James 119 And then from Paul to Timothy, don't entertain accusations lightly. Paul says that again about elders.


Don't entertain an accusation against an elder lightly. But I would say it's a principle ever to be applied. If I am going to confront somebody, make me make sure that I choose my words very carefully, I'm often struck by the fact that we don't we don't pay attention to a whole host of Bible teaching in this regard, and I'm as guilty as the next person. But think about passages like Ephesians 429 through 31 that nothing unwholesome proceed from your mouth. And then the key word here is but only that which is helpful for building up the other or even more scary, I think passages like Matthew 1236, Matthew 1235 the good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him. The evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. Verse 12 Our verse 36 goes on to say that we give account for every careless word we've ever spoken. There's a scary word we will give account for every careless word we've ever spoken. And those are warning words, the positive word, I think also from effusions for Speak the truth in love. Sometimes we speak truth, but it's not. It really in an attitude of love may be true, but our purpose is to hurt rather than to heal careless language in the church. Wounds, people speaking truth without a commitment to love. We had this truth session one time in a youth group meeting after people have been in sort of discipleship together for quite a while, and we have time of just trying to emphasize forgiveness. And, you know, if you've been wronged, forgive, if you've wronged somebody, ask forgiveness. And then we had a time of prayer afterwards. And during the time of prayer, this one youth group member went up to the youth group teacher and said, you know, I want to confess to you that I've hated you all these years, but I forgive you now.


And she walked away. Well, speaking truth, I suppose you could say that. Speaking of love. Now, she she very intentionally wanted to hurt this teacher. And she did. Teacher was just devastated. Had no idea that she'd been hated by the student. And now she's wrestling for the rest of. You know, the rest of the year with What did I do? What have I done to the students? Life in our speaking. Make sure we're aiming at restoration and encouragement. Make sure we're aiming at restoration and encouragement, not at wounding, not simply dumping, not simply our unloading. But the point of this is restoration and encouragement. Ephesians four again, the building up of one another second. Timothy two That's the passage we saw yesterday about helping to that speaking truth so that the other party would escape the snare of the devil who's taken them captive to do as well. Second, Timothy 224 326 Take appropriate measures appropriately. Here's the next principal. Take appropriate measures appropriately. Sometimes we can do the right thing in the wrong way. So think about this. Here's some helps in this regard. Pray before you act. James one five is the promise that speaks about if anyone lacks wisdom on the mask of God, and God will give us wisdom without rebuke. James one five Applying to Falling into Trials. Well, I think it certainly would apply in this regard. I need wisdom in the trial of conflict, and let me pray before I act. Proverbs 1310 speaks about the wisdom to be found in many counselors. So if possible, let me see counsel. There have been a number of times when I've been in major conflict, major conflict, not minor conflict in ministry. And one of the first things I did after struggling in my own soul was pick up my phone and call this person who's been in my life for the last 15 years as kind of a spiritual mentor, been at this a lot longer than I have, and I call and seek out some godly wisdom counsel.


So seek counsel if possible, particularly from people who've been in ministry a little bit longer than you have. I think that would be very helpful. Consider all the ramifications, go through the checklist again as well as you can. If I do a what? What is that going to what's going to follow if I decide that the proper answer to this conflict is A and B, what's going to be C that comes out of this? So think about it before I act and recheck my motives for acting. Let me recheck my motives. Ministry. Again, this could be a matter of pride that's really behind all of this for me. I might not be thinking essentially of the kingdom. I might not be thinking of the body. I might not be thinking so much of what's right and good and just I might be thinking about me. I've been threatened. I've been wrong. Well, if I've been wronged, I hear Paul saying why not rather be wronged and do something that's going to drag the gospel through the mud or that's going to injure the body. So check my motives once again. And finally, under this point about appropriateness, be ready to own your decisions. If you've wrestled with all that and say, here's what I need to do. And that involves confrontation of some sort. And if I decide to do that, let me own my decision. For example, if it turns out I do this and there is fallout from it, I'm not going to back away and try to point the finger and say what happened, you know, because of this, this or that, or if it turns out that I was wrong, I confronted and it turns out I was wrong. And yes, that happens.


I'll be ready to own your decision. I saw this model wonderfully when I was a Bible college student by the president of my Bible College at Multnomah School of the Bible. The president in those days was Dr. Willard Aldrich. And after during my freshman year at Bible College, we had this group on campus that came from the church across the street, right across the street, there was a very strong Pentecostal church. And they had they had suddenly sent a big number of students. And it's very clearly seemed to some of the rest of us that these students were at school on a mission. They were there to proselytize, they were there to convert. They were there to make Pentecostals out of all these dispensation at home dispensation lists. So they they really were in some ways a healthy influence, but in some ways kind of a disturbing influence on campus. Well, after my freshman year, the board of trustees and the president of the college and they got together and they talked about this and then they came out with the decision and I received in the mail during the summer before my second year notice that no student while they were at the school would be permitted to attend a charismatic or a Pentecostal church. Well, I was from a church. My church had just become charismatic about two years before this. I didn't count myself a charismatic, but I was at a charismatic church and I loved my church. Now I was faced with the proposition of becoming a closet closet charismatic or or having to leave my body of fellowship. So it was really hard. It was a hard summer to know what to do. Showed up back at school in the fall, just trying to see what happened.


Well, by the time I got back to school, the board had reversed its decision and I was in class later that semester with Dr. Aldrich, the president of the school. It was a class on Christology, and I have no idea how this came up in conversation. But one day he just started talking about this and he said, you know, we we in the board, we just made a really bad decision. We didn't consider all the facts and we were wrong. And when we came to recognize it, we just had to reverse. And, you know, here I was I was probably 18 years old. And the president of the school was was 60 at that time, I think. And he didn't have to be saying this to me, but he did. And he was modeling this for me. Own your decision. If it turns out you were wrong, be the adult about that as well and confess it. If it turns out there's implications, ramifications, be ready to deal with that. Just a couple more principles here. Letter H. Be ready to act boldly as God directs. We did talk already about the use of time and space, but there's also a time for boldness and action. And it's time to act boldly. We'll be bold. Paul never hesitated to be bold when he needed to be. First, Galatians Chapter one is very bold in his language to the Galatians. Strikes me again that here's a letter where he starts off and he doesn't launch into Thanksgiving in prayer. He launches into what's up with you guys and anathema, anathema, tithing, false gospel bringers. And then chapter two of Galatians. Even more pertinent here is confrontation of Peter. When Peter shows up and refuses or plays the the Gentile game and refuses to fellowship with the Gentile Christians and in the presence of the representatives from Jerusalem.


Paul says, I stood him with stood him to the face publicly. He was clearly in the wrong. So there's a time for that. Be ready to forgive. Receive again and follow up. Sometimes we get into the confrontation, and when we're done with the confrontation, we wipe our brow and we say, that's over with and we hope the person just disappears from our consciousness. But the point of this always in the church is restoration. Therefore, I have to be ready to forgive, receive, back into fellowship. Follow up, follow through. And that just is an important reminder of what this was all about. Second is to again, that's the passage where the Corinthians are having a hard time forgiving this person. Paul says, Get on with it. And then finally, when I've gone through conflict, which most of us will hate, some of you probably love that kind of stuff. Most of us won't. If you've gone through it, be sure to learn through the experience. If you have to go through all that pain, at least make sure you learn something through it. Learn about yourself. How you manage conflict. How you handle. How you respond to it. Learn about how to manage these situations. It's a painful stuff, but it's inevitable working with teams of people in ministry. You're going to bump into these things. One last word for you. This is sort of from me to you on the WHO question. I believe these days that like Calvin, the one feature that really needs to be a part of who we are is the teachable spirit and the one spiritual discipline that I would like to just offer you for emphasis is the discipline of listening. The discipline of listening. In some ways, the discipline of listening strikes me as fundamental and at the foundation of every other spiritual discipline.


I think about meditation of scriptures. It's a listening discipline. I think about prayer. Actually, I think prayer is primarily listening discipline. Not so much about us talking to God, but about our communing with him and learning what's on his heart and being willing to submit to it the discipline of listening. Dr. Beale, I mentioned before, said that my fundamental agreement in loving my neighbor, my fundamental obligation in loving my neighbor means listening to my neighbor. So I'm a big believer in this. I'm struck by the fact that Israel's first primary, where it is, Shimon Shami, is right here, or Israel. Listen to the truth that God is one and you must love him with all your heart and soul and strength. I'm struck by the fact that Jesus often spoke by saying that Hebrew has an ear here. I'm struck by the fact that the Book of Revelation, those seven letters to seven churches, ends with that encouragement. He has an ear. Let him hear what the spirit is saying to the churches. I'm struck by the fact that we ought to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. And I'm struck by the model of Jesus himself, who listened to his father and never did anything without the direction of his father. And this model for us, especially in the servant songs from Isaiah and Isaiah 50 verses four and five, one of the servant songs, Jesus says, the sovereign Lord has given me and instructed tongue that I may know the word that sustains the weary. He has opened my ear in the morning and I have not been rebellious. Morning by morning, he awakens me to listen as one being taught. Sovereign Lord has opened my ear and I have not been rebellious.


Some people translate. Isaiah 54, the sovereign Lord has given me and instructed Tongue is the version that most of us will have. But some people translated Sovereign Lord has given me the tongue of a teacher that I may know the word that sustains the weary. Day by day, he opens my ears. And some have thought that the Hebrew may have gotten jumbled up in Isaiah because it doesn't make sense to say and instructed tongue. It makes sense to say the tongue of a teacher, not the tongue of a learner. So they have thought we should correct the text to say the tongue of a teacher, but now the tongue of a learner. I want the tongue of a learner. And how do I get the tongue of a learner? By having the ear of a learner. By having my ears opened. Learn to be a listener. It will set you up well for life and for ministry. This is a kind of a summary of a number of points that we've hit upon, some more, some less throughout our couple of weeks together. Please, please keep in mind the words sung at the top of this page. I don't intend this to be an exhaustive list, but this is some ingredients for significant Christian formation in the church. And here I'm thinking especially about life in the local church and the church's responsibility. There's not a lot of emphasis here outside the local church, parish church, for example. This is primarily a focus in the local church. And these are the things that I would say. First of all, there needs to be attention to all three of the church's chief task worship outreach and Christian formation. And Christian formation has to exist in this context.


If I have a church which is really focused on Christian formation, but our church isn't doing any outreach in our churches and worship in church, then I'm already going to be fighting sort of a an uphill battle in terms of forming Christians. They can't be formed unless they have these other ingredients going on in the part of their lives. So church needs to pay attention to that. And just by virtue of the fact that a church pays attention to that and is really trying to be faithful in all three of these spheres, that's a marvelous step all by itself in shaping Christians, growing up in that environment, seeing that model and being part of that, that's going to be powerful. Shaping number two, a community worship service that focuses on worship of God and spirit and truth is sensitive to seekers and is concern for Christian formation. Again, as I've said, I believe that the worship service today especially is just one of the major context for Christian formation. That concern for Christian formation will include a concern about the songs and hymns, songs and hymns that proclaim truth about the Triune God and His ways, and will also mean sound preaching and teaching of the whole counsel of God's Word Biblical use of the sacraments and other liturgical elements, and a growing sense of God's Sabbath rest. Number three some form of community teaching. We're telling of the story of God's plan of redemption. This could involve either attention to the Church year or Jewish Holy Days, or some creative blending of the two some way, again, that we're telling the story over and over again and our people see it, they know it, and they also understand their place in the story more and more.


Number four, a training of would be members and the basics of the Christian wing. This might include a mandatory catacomb in it. Once again, restoration of the catacombs. It makes a lot of sense to me today a some duration in which believers are introduced to the foundational truths of Christian behavior, beliefs and the devotional life to the distinctiveness of the particular church that they're joining various blessings and obligations of church membership. I think, again, that the most one of the easiest ways to do this is tie it to membership and then make sure that membership means something in your church. Some people type the membership, but nobody has any motive to be a member, become a member in the life of the church, but find some way to do this. Number five ongoing equipping of parents to do their part in raising their children in the faith. This may include challenging them, training them, providing them with quality resources. And this has to be a very explicit commitment of the church. Number six, consistent, ongoing teaching of all members, regardless of age. This may include a Sunday school format or small group Bible studies during the week, and the content of these opportunities could include a balance of core and elective teachings. I put those words both in quotations. I still haven't found a good word for to say what I mean by elective, but I'm trying to highlight the idea that we have to identify something as a non-negotiable, something as core number seven, occasional opportunities for extended times of teaching and learning like seminars and retreats that focus on specific themes, topics, Bible books. I would personally get over the insecurities that we often have in church and and enjoy having guest teachers in.


And then I would also encourage members to participate in ministries outside the local church, parish church organizations coming in for a family seminar. Let's partner up with them and send our folks to those those things. Number seven, especially for people in ministry, means, you know, recognize the church is not your church, it's God's church. And you're not building people for your kingdom, for God's kingdom, and get off your insecurities and let go a little bit. Number eight Teaching of Approach Appropriate materials to specific groups of people grouped by age, gender, ministry, team, special needs or interest. What I mean here by number eight is we do have to think about the congruence issue and target your audience. At least part of the ministry should be age specific or group specific kind of ministry number nine. Memorization of Bible portions, creeds, catechism. Sam's other teaching tools encourage memorization. Don't jump on that bandwagon of some folks who say memorization is passé. We don't need that anymore. This is critical for both formation and content, but couple memorization with appropriate explanation. Number ten, provision of some form of mentoring or discipleship in one on one or other high accountability situations. Sometimes we might think of this as spiritual direction. Sometimes churches call it discipleship, sometimes they call it mentoring programs. But in addition to a large group training, I think this is a very essential component. So find ways to do it. There's a church in Korea that I served that just automatically fixed people up. If you're a new believer, you become a member of the church and then you're right away assigned to an older member of the church and they go through a one on one discipleship program. They use actual actually materials, which are a modified version of the one on one discipleship that you can get in the bookstore.


Dr. Shu chooses in his class. And they they've modified that for use in Korean and they do it one on one or often they do it one on two. They do this as well at this church in Korea. It's it's the person who's been trained in this program themselves that turns around and trains other. These are not clergy led sessions. This is led by members of the community. And Jesus did this. Jesus had his ministry at varieties of levels, didn't he? So we have Jesus in the multitudes, Jesus and the self-proclaimed disciples, Jesus and the 12 Jesus and the three. There becomes sort of an inner circle with Jesus. It's only two or three, for example, in Mark 14 that Jesus and guest Simone makes this old confession, Friends, my soul is in anguish to the point of death. Please watch and pray with me as to the three. Some people think there's also Jesus and the one the disciple whom he loved. Gospel John. I read that a little bit differently, but at least Jesus and the three. So some sort of small account, high accountability situation. Number 11 seizing upon teachable moments for the whole community. Context issue here. But I really wish that we did more with weddings, for example, than we do. What a horrible thing. You know, I'm I'm speaking a little bit carefully now, but I've just performed another wedding last Saturday. I have another wedding coming this Saturday out in Vancouver. In fact, I leave today to Seattle to a wedding on Saturday and one more through the year. That will be my sixth or seventh this year. And more and more I get discouraged, participate in these weddings. I'll meet the couple, I'll counsel them about their marriage.


I'll try to make some comments to them about the wedding. And I'm always trying to appeal about why don't you? Why don't you consider jumping out of the marriage of the wedding industry? Don't be manipulated into this $80,000 extravaganza, which sometimes that's what we're talking about here, $50,000 reception. And it's all and more and more it's about keeping up with the Joneses. And I'm thinking, you know, why are we doing it? Reminds me very, very much of what's happened to our holy days, where we took the holy days and we just let the gods of consumerism steal out from us something that was a very meaningful part of our life. And we've done the same thing in this area, at least in some circles anyway. It's much more East coast than West Coast for sure. But every wedding, of course, can be a great opportunity for both Gospel proclamation, but also understanding the story better, because every wedding prefigures that wedding that is to come and these kind of events, even the on the opposite side of funeral, these can be powerful community experiences and we should seize upon them and not just give them over to consumerism again. Number 12 equipment of members and areas of their giftedness and other avenues of service through mentoring, workshops, service opportunities and evaluations. Here go back to our core idea of ongoing equipping and vocation, and that's what I have in mind here. So we help people discover who they are, who they've been created to be, and help them find opportunities. Number 13 Planned and spontaneous community experiences are genuine fellowship, recreation and work, and all of those things can contribute to Christian formation. Of course, number 14 outreach activities of various sorts, including mission trips, but always accompanied by some pre briefing and debriefing.


Jesus would send folks out, but when they came back they would talk about it. And debriefing is critical part to make it really formative as possible. 15 Regular invitation of guest preachers and teachers from outside the community to bring perspectives from different cultures and Christian traditions. This has to do again a little bit with our levels of security and insecurity. Some of us are so afraid of our people over here from so and so they'll be confused or our authority will be undermined. We're so scared. We're some nervous and we don't trust the Holy Spirit and we think it's our kingdom, not God's kingdom. Of course, you don't bring in heretics just for the sake of this collaboration, I'm going to bring in a few heretics and see if my people catch it. I'll check check up on them a month later. No, that's not what I mean. What I mean primarily here, again, let me emphasize two thoughts other evangelical traditions. Let me hear from other evangelical traditions for my sake. When I do this, this actually magnifies the issues of unity, liberty and charity that we talked about. You don't you don't get a handle on unity, liberty and charity. If there's never any exposure to diversity, you'll never get people there. But also here, people from other cultures and other ethnic groups and other nations. We need to see how the rest of the world sees things, and I think that's really important. 16 Provision for a variety of teaching learning experiences in a variety of settings throughout the week and throughout the year. One of the things we didn't really get time to look at here today is learning styles. For example, a lot of people process things in all kinds of different ways, but while there are learning styles, I also have my own teaching styles.


So I can't. None of us, maybe none of us in this room are capable of being Mr. Keating, for example, from Dead Poets Society. We can't pull off what Mr. Keating pulled off. We're going to teach the way we teach. And I can try to grow as a teacher, but I can never probably succeed in hitting everybody's learning style by myself. And certainly I can't turn every teaching learning experience into a 15 learning style experience. But what I can do is try to provide four varieties of learning experiences scattered throughout the year where I see I'm bringing somebody else's strong and just recognize that people need to process things differently and provide for them. 17 Timely Teaching of individuals A word according to a need. This is just the shepherd who's paying attention to the sheep and you see something and you grab the moment like the time my senior pastor invited me out to play tennis with him when I was about 17 or 18. He called me up at home on a summer day and said, Jerry, I come and play tennis during lunch trying to lose weight. I'm not eating lunch today. I want to play tennis. I said yes because I'd just been in a doubles tournament a week before and I played the best tennis of my life, so I wanted to impress my pastor. So I said yes. And it was six love, six one. He just wiped up the court with me. I was just dead meat. And I was frustrated. I was embarrassed. And and so we got back on our way to the office and he seized the moment and gave me some marvelous ministry and some marvelous teaching because he picked up where I was at and it was really good.


So looking at individuals, signing out what's going on in their lives and seizing the moment. Number 18, ongoing training for those engaged in teaching ministries. We looked at that last time, 19 discipline as needed, biblically practiced including correction of false teaching. Tough, sticky stuff. But as Marva Dorn says, it's also a very formative number to reading groups and other kinds of discussion groups. This is good stuff. I would encourage you to do this, and perhaps especially summertime is a good time for this. You know, things kind of the normal routine of classes sort of breaks down often in summer times with people schedules. It is a good time to try something a little different, like a book discussion group number 21 development of a resource center of Christian information materials for parents, teachers and all members. 22 nurturing within all members a teachable spirit, challenging each one to continual growth and progress. Calvin said that a teachable spirit is the is the what? I forget the word that he used now, but is sort of be the the most fundamental feature of piety to be truly a pious person, a devout person. Above all else, I need a teachable spirit. That's Calvin's perspective. And whatever way I want to, I want to be hammering this truth into my folks and praying for them that that's what God nurtures within them. I don't want to be someone who can't learn. I want to be a teachable person. Have to model that, of course. Number 23 Ongoing evaluation of teaching learning activities with particular attention to whether or not life transformation is occurring. Number 24 Training in the area of relationships. For example marriage. Family education. Number 25 intergenerational and coordinated learning experiences. And the next 75, you can fill up. This is just an introduction to some of those things.