Lecture 3: Overview
A. Question 1, 2 and 3:
What I would like to do now is to consider seven critical questions for the teaching ministry of the church. We should always ask these questions in order to stay on track. The first question will help us clarify a proper biblical conception of Christian education. These are simply one word questions: Why do we teach? Why should we be engaged in the ministry of Christian education? What is our concept of Christian education? The second of the seven questions is concerned with what we teach or rather what must we teach? There are a lot of things that we could teach of course but we want to look at the question of what must we teach? This concerns the issue of essential content in our teaching ministry. The third question is when. When do we teach what? What I mean by this is, when in the course of their spiritual development are we encountering students in accordance with their spiritual growth and their natural development as well, when should we be teach what. Is there certain content that should be delivered at a certain point in a person’s life in faith development? This third question is a question that involves paying attention to issues of readiness; developmental readiness, not only on the natural plain but on the spiritual plain as well. Continuity is related to this question; how can we have continuity in our teaching ministry so that there is a building upon previous learning and preparation for succeeding learning experiences.
B. Question 4 and 5:
The fourth question is who do we teach and what difference does that make? The question of when focuses on certain aspects of the learner, that is their natural development. The question of who is concerned with everything else that we could ask about the learner. For example, who are we teaching in terms of cultural reality? How does the culture of our learners and their experiences affect our teaching and how should we adjust our teaching to be more effective. Here, I want to introduce the term congruence, cultural congruence. How can you teach so that your teaching will be cultural congruent with the reality of the learners; culturally sensitive teaching? The fifth question is the how question. How do we teach? How do we teach so that we can effectively engage the whole learner or the whole community of learners? It isn’t just teaching the mind, the intellect and just passing information. We need to engage the whole person, the heart, and the hands. How do we teach for maximum effectiveness? So I introduce the term, confluence. In education circles, this often means to bring together the head and the heart. This is where the cognitive aspects of learning meet the effective aspects of learning. I want to consider confluence in terms of the whole person. How do we engage the mind, the heart and the hands and bring those streams of learning together.
C. Question 6 and 7:
Immediately related to the how question is where; where do we teach? Once we discuss how we are going to teach; this has direct implications in regards to where we are going to teach. Where can we teach for maximum effectiveness? What would be the best context in which learning can occur? What kind of setting can we use for effective teaching? Finally, the seventh question is important because of its key emphasis; who teaches? Under this question, there are three issues: whose job is it to do Christian education; to do the teaching ministry of the church. We will find that there are many people who should be involved in that task. Another question that flows out of this; how do we organize these various teachers for maximum effectiveness? Finally, who do I need to be if I am called to teach in terms of character; so that I can teach effectively with my life? This involves the issue of personal contact. What is the role of contact between individuals and Christian education?
D. Three Commitments:
These are the seven questions that will guide our discussion as we look at them one by one. We are not going to treat them equally because I feel that there are three of these questions that need special attention. These three questions correspond to three different commitments that need to be reaffirmed such as a biblical based starting point, teaching and obeying the faith in Jesus Christ and a commitment to co-operative servant leadership. These commitments correspond to the three questions of why, what and who teaches. We will look at these three questions in more detail.