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Feature Friday (09/01/17)

Labor Day weekend. Sunshine. Cookouts. Family. Friends. It is officially here. The final weekend before the reality of “back to school” routine hits come Tuesday. As a parent, this weekend could be exciting as the return of a routine hits. As a student, this weekend is infuriating, summer just started, right?

But the reality is we all want to ease into the school year. So how do you do that? Jon Acuff shares three simple ways to “Successfully Ease Out of Summer and Back to School“. Check out the Parent Cue blog and enjoy the last few days of the summer.

As always, be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s Day!

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Feature Friday (8/21/15)

6600657455_976503bae2_nA new school year has begun. With teaching responsibilities that means I am getting back into that school year routine. It means I have a new batch of students to teach this year. It means a new textbook. It means a new curriculum. It means new technology. A new experience for me this year is teaching a course that is almost entirely digital. The textbook is digital. The course schedule is digital. The homework will be assigned digitally. All of this is accomplished through technology. Truth be told, we all use technology everyday; at home, at work, at school, and at play. Technology is an integral part of our lives in the 21st century. However, what are we to believe about it and how are we to behave with it, specifically as Christians? Should we reject it all outright? Should we embrace it wholeheartedly? The basic question we need to ask and answer is: How should Christians engage with technology?

Enjoy the article, have a great weekend, and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day.

Christian Education: Summary

Node-Christian-Education1-large1Education: there are so many forms of it today–public, home school, Christian, private, adult, special, informal, primary, secondary, higher learning, and the list goes on. With so many choices, how do you know the best option for yourself, your children, and your family? I am not one that thinks there is a one-size-fits-all mold for education. However, I do believe as a follower of Jesus Christ, that any education we undergo ourselves or in which we place our children should be Christian. I have not been arguing that every set of believing parents must put their children in a Christian school or they are sinning. No! This series was not about why you should send your children to a Christian school. Far from it! Instead I hope I have helped you frame your thinking about what “Christian education” really is and is not. Over the last number of weeks we have discussed the many aspects of Christian education. This week,  I want to simply summarize all the discussion on Christian education.

Summary

Christian education may come in many sizes, shapes, forms, methods, and times of life, but one thing is sure—if the education is truly Christian it will be focused on Jesus Christ and growing individuals to become more like him. The whole point of Christian education is not to make people knowledgeable about the Bible, although that will happen. It is not to make a nicer, cleaner, less criminal society, although that may happen. It is not even to cause families, communities, and nations to be more concerned for each other and the needs around them. The point of Christian education is to cause people to love and value Christ so highly that they become more like Him day after day.

Throughout the educational process many things will change—the content distributed, the methods utilized, and the individuals involved—but one thing must remain the same for education to be recognized as Christian. The goal of forming individuals into the likeness of Christ must not change. The goal and purpose is what sets apart any educational program, philosophy, or practice. Only with Christ likeness as its purpose and mindset should any individual or institution claim to be performing Christian education. The only true Christian education focuses on God, forms people into Christ likeness, and looks forward to an eternity spent with Him.

I hope you have enjoyed this series on Christian education. More than that, I pray that you have been challenged in your thinking about and carrying out an education that is truly Christian in nature. Whether it be in your home, classroom, church, or other social setting, may all the education in your life be truly seeking to be Christian. Remember, Christian education flows in every way out of God’s Word as mature believers model and mentor younger believers to spiritual maturity. In case you missed part 1 of the series: Christian Education: Definition and Goals, or part 2: Christian Education: the Teacher, or part 3: Christian Education: the Student, or part 4: Christian Education: the Content, or part 5: Christian Education: the Methods, part 6: Christian Education: Various Philosophies, or part 7: Christian Education: Evaluation, check them out here. Thanks for being part of this series with us!

Christian Education: the Methods

Node-Christian-Education1-large1Education: there are so many forms of it today–public, home school, Christian, private, adult, special, informal, primary, secondary, higher learning, and the list goes on. With so many choices, how do you know the best option for yourself, your children, and your family? I am not one that thinks there is a one-size-fits-all mold for education. However, I do believe as a follower of Jesus Christ, that any education we undergo ourselves or in which we place our children should be Christian. I am not arguing that every set of believing parents must put their children in a Christian school or they are sinning. No! What I want to continue sharing today in a series of posts concerning Christian education. This series is not about why you should send your children to a Christian school. Far from it! Instead I hope to help you frame your thinking about what “Christian education” really is and is not. Last week we discussed the content of Christian education. This week,  I want to discuss the methods of Christian education.

The Methods of Christian Education

Christian education must have a holistic approach if it is to have any lasting, life-changing results. In other words, if Christian education wishes to form people into the image of Jesus Christ, it has to focus on more than simply relaying information. Information is a great starting point, but if the only result of education is intellectual individuals, then the educational process has failed. Christian education must speak and teach to a person’s head, heart, and hands. It must change not only what a person knows about God, but how they feel and what they do in response to the knowledge they have.

When speaking of a holistic approach there are three elements in focus: intellect (Col. 3:10), emotion (Gal. 5:22), and will (Phil. 2:13).[1] Christian education must address these three areas if it is to make any progress in being used by God in the sanctification process.[2] In Deut. 6:5, God calls believers to love Him with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their might.[3] He wants people to love and serve Him with their whole being. Christian education must equip students to understand and fulfill the purpose of loving God with all they are. This means that the education process should include service trips, mission trips, Bible studies, worship time, prayer times, time for interaction and discussion, and a place to use their whole being to worship and love God. Peoples’ intellects, emotions, and wills must be addressed in the educational process.

Christian education must not only be holistic, but also varying. Christian educators must utilize differing teaching methods throughout their time with students. These different methods can include thinking activities, active learning, interactive learning, field trips, hands-on activities, drama, and music.[4] Christian education should mimic the teaching of Christ and the many differing teaching methods He used in educating and growing His disciples while on the earth. From parables to object lessons, Christ employed many methods to teach his disciples (Lk. 19:11-27; Matt. 21:18-22; Jn. 2, 10).[5] Estep quotes D. Lambert saying, “The world’s worst teaching method is the one you always use”.[6] His point is that variance in educational methods is essential.

One varying method of Christian education that is becoming popular and highly utilized is online learning. This experience should not be banned by Christian educators, but it must be thought through in a discerning manner in light of the entire educational process. Online experiences can be helpful because they enable people who typically could not get a specific education to gain that education since it is more readily available to the masses. Education should be extended and accessible to all socioeconomic classes which is the opportunity that online education provides. However, online education can prohibit or exclude an important feature of education—community. Community is not just important to Christian education; it is essential.

Christian education must take place in community. God is one who is by nature (Gen. 1:26; Matt. 28:19-20)[7] constantly in community. He has also designed mankind, particularly believers, to live in community (Gen. 1:26-27, 2:18-25; Acts 2:42-47; Ps. 78; 1 Cor. 12:12-30).[8] If the goal of Christian education is to cause people to be formed into the likeness of Jesus Christ and He is always in community, then Christian education must pursue a setting where community is highly valued and employed. Lack of community can be a downfall of online education; however, it is possible for Christian educators to intentionally include a community aspect to online education.

Christian education flows in every way out of God’s Word as mature believers model and mentor younger believers to spiritual maturity. Understanding what the content of Christian education is vital to having an education that is truly Christian. In case you missed part 1 of the series: Christian Education: Definition and Goals, or part 2: Christian Education: the Teacher, or part 3: Christian Education: the Student, or part 4: Christian Education: the Content, check them out here. Stop by next week where the topic will be Christian Education: the Various Philosophies.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version, (Wheaton: Good News Publishers, 2003), 984, 975, 981

[2] Michael J. Anthony. Introducing Christian Education: Foundations for the Twenty-first Century. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 86-87

[3] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2003), 151

[4]  Thom & Joani Schultz. Why Nobody Learns Much of Anything at Church: And How to Fix It. (Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, 1996), 107-108, 133-134, 179-180

[5]The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2003), 878, 826, 887, 896-897

[6] James R. Estep Jr. A Theology for Christian Education. (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 289

[7] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2003), 1, 835

[8] Ibid., 1-2, 911, 959

 

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