Last week at our national in-service for people in ministry with children, youth and families, I led a session on this topic, inviting people to reflect on the questions that are shaping my research into the future of Christian education in the Uniting Church. So I didnt give much input at all other than give an overview of the project and provide people with some ways to engage the topic. Anyway, here are the few props that I did use.
Video Clip - Dumt & Farligt - Phantom Flex Highlights
The point of this being that faith development sometimes happens in 'transforming moments'
Video Clip - Portrait of Lotte
The point of this being that faith development also happens gradually, indiscernibly, and you can only see its effects over the space of months or years
Discipleship Quotes - Download PDF
Each person was given a quote and they were invited to walk around, have a brief conversation with another person about their quotes, swap quotes and then move on to another person.
Christian education is "the theory and practice of teaching, learning and formation in Christian faith and discipleship, both for individuals and communities of faith." (my definition for the study)
Christian education is oriented towards life-long
growth in Christian discipleship and
the mission of God.
Research question - What dynamic characteristics of educational leadership and of learning communities are significant for effective education for Christian discipleship in the Uniting Church’s
postmodern mission context?
Discipling is NOT
Discipling does not equal Worship
Discipling does not equal Worship + Pastoral Care
Discipling does not equal Worship + Pastoral Care + Community Service
Discipling includes Vital Worship, Christian community, Mission engagement and Intentional faith development
(The above is not a 'model', just a blunt instrument to make a point about the intentionality of faith formation and discipling.)
People were invited to talk in pairs about something that their church was doing to intentionally develop faith and discipleship.
Four Questions, Four Activities
The following ran concurrently, with people able to move between the activities at any time.
What is the same and different about discipling in 21C?
This was a Mind Map exercise where people could write on an A3 sheet something that they thought was the same or different about CE in 21C. They could also write comments on other sheets.
How is discipling / formation / education related to God’s mission?
This was a fishbowl exercise where 3 people discussed the question while others listened, and people could enter or leave the fishbowl conversation.
What promising strategies in formation, education and discipling are you seeing?
This was a storytelling exercise where people sat in groups of four and could tell each other stories, with the stories being recorded on someone's phone and the audio file given to me afterwards.
What do you see as the critical needs of congregations in discipling children, youth and young adults?
This was a soapbox where people could stand on some steps and have a rant to the crowd below.
People were invited to reflect on the following question in pairs and then feed comments into the whole group.
How do we work nationally to help faith communities be effective in forming and educating people for discipleship and mission?
It was designed as a conversation starter and seemed to work. Thanks to those who helped run the activities and to the participants.