Thursday, May 19, 2011

Christian Education

So I want to jump on the band wagon and talk Christian Education. I don’t want to talk venue (home school, Christian School, Military School, Boarding School, Public School), I want to talk some principles. The nuts and bolts of Christian Education that parents and teachers can use. Let me give you a little background, I’m an education guy. I studied education in my undergrad, have a Masters in Ed. leadership and most of my work, passion and heart revolves around the area of Education. I plan to pursue my EdD or PhD in this area, and have already worked through some of my ideas of a thesis. Against my better judgment, I have decided to post them here. No stealing my idea. . . but you can use it!

In Education, there is a principle called scaffolding. It’s pretty simple, just like the scaffolding you use to paint a house. You start with the base, then build up one level at a time until you make it to the top, where you want to be. We see this principle applied in math. You first learn to count, then add, then subtract, next multiply and then division. Until you learn those, you can’t do algebra and geometry. We teach all sorts of things this way, we teach science, reading and spelling, even most sports are taught by teaching the foundational principle and building upon it.

In Christian Education, we have a sloppy version of this. We teach kids Bible Stories and from there, we teach them some principles and repeat the pattern. I am suggesting we take a new approach. Now I know this is difficult, because kids come into the church at all different ages and grade levels. We have to work to make this work, and it’s not easy, but it seems to be the most effective.

In many missions oversees, they use a strategy of telling the Bible Stories beginning with creation, and work their way through the history of the nation of Israel. Do your students by the time they are youth know the history of the nation of Israel? Most of our adults don’t know the history of Israel. It’s important, or it wouldn’t be scripture. We learn from Israel about sin, about God’s holiness and His standard for his people. We need to teach kids about God’s character that we learn from the OT. So often, people who don’t know the Old Testament become either too liberal and reject God’s holiness, or too legalistic, and try to do everything they can to earn salvation, and try to apply the Jewish laws to American Christians, which is hard with no temple.

We need to teach the foundations of faith, the Holiness of God, the sinfulness of man and the need for Salvation. Those are the foundational principles of the Old Testament. There are some great tools for this, missionaries have been doing it for years. Once we lay all this information out, we have taught through the Old Testament history, we begin with the life of Jesus. The life of Christ fits right into the OT because Jesus lived with Old Testament Jews. They lived the sacrificial system and Jesus interacted with the law and introduced grace and a new standard. Jesus provides the perfect sacrifice, which we have built a context on from the OT sacrificial system. Things continue to build into Acts and the beginning of the Church, and onto the epistles. By the time we get to Revelation, the students have a complete Biblical context.

I know that this is idea, and it’s harder to do, but I am working hard to do it in our church and with my family. It’s so important to get a complete Biblical picture. We can’t expect our kids to have a Biblical Worldview without a knowledge of the Bible itself. Those are my thoughts on educating our kids, what do you think?

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