Sunday, February 24, 2008

Why Christian Educations (Kinda) Sucks

My friend Tim (aka Feral Pastor) recently shared with me something he had once heard concerning youth and Christian Education. He said that "Jesus played with the children and taught the adults. We tend to do the opposite."

How true. Look at any opening for a Christian Ed director or pastor and what we find is basically someone that works mostly with youth. Churches tend to have strong Sunday School programs that stress the basic Christian story. But as kids get older and into adulthood, Christian Ed becomes nonexistent or become "adult forums" where they talk about the latest public policy concern but not studying the Bible.

I sometimes wonder if the reason mainline churches are languishing is because we make kids sit down and learn, instead of playing with them. I also wonder if it's because people who want a more hefty, deep-thinking Christianity come to church and find nothing that feeds their mind and soul.

If I were to design a position in a church for me centered on Christian Ed, I would design a program for the whole church, not just the kiddies. I would try to create a "lay seminary" where people could actually try to understand their faith. Yes, I would still have some adult forums, but I would also have classes where people would really grapple with Scripture and come to understand the story of God working in the world.

Is there a church out there (in the Twin Cities) willing to take me on?

1 comment:

Feral Pastor said...

Hey, Dennis -

That's one of my favorite quotes so I'm happy to attribute it. I got it from Harry Wendt, a Lutheran Pastor originally from Australia who has devoted his life to creating amazing resources aimed at teaching Bible to adults. He's working locally in Minneapolis and you can still go straight to him for a tour-de-force training in Bible that I highly recommend. Here's his website: BTW - I just learned that he's now offering podcasts with insight and preaching tips linked to lectionary texts. Go, Harry!