It never ceases to amaze me that anywhere in the world you say “Christian Education” people automatically think Sunday School. Is this the only education that the church does? If it is the only education we are engaged in, then we are in big trouble. Let me explain.
I taught the Christian Education (CE) courses at the Bible Institute of South Africa for eight years. The first exercise we did was to list every activity a church does, from worship to soup kitchens, from Bible study to foreign missions. I then challenged them to tell me which one of these ministries is not in one way or the other CE! I challenge you to do the same, because the way you understand the educational ministry of your church will determine the depth of spirituality existent in your people. You disagree? Then the challenge is for me to prove my point.
Let’s look at some of the things that a church does . . . Download article PDF
The Challenge: Today’s Youth
Do you believe the Word of God is powerful and active? How can you engage students with the Scriptures so they take ownership of their faith?
Mark Lowrey, the Director of Publications at GCP, hosted an hour-long seminar to train youth leaders in how to lead effective Bible studies using the NEW So What? Youth Bible Studies.
Mark spent several minutes discussing the differences between the world we live in (especially as it relates to our teens) and the Christian worldview. This eye-opening narrative outlines secularism in the following areas: Read the rest of this entry »
What Makes a Difference for Children at Church?
When Paul the Apostle wrote to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 3:3 NKJV), he described each one of them as “an epistle of Christ … written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God.” This means that every Christian life has a story to tell and the story is written by God. But just as Shakespeare (the author) is much greater and more important than any of the many different characters in the plays that he wrote (such as “Hamlet” or “King Lear”), so God is much more important than the story of Moses or David or Paul.
It follows, then, that when we study the Bible—and the lives of some of the great men that we read about in the Bible—the most important thing we need is to understand the great work of God as it is seen in the lives of these people. We don’t really understand their significance until we see them as books, or epistles, written by the Spirit. And they were written so that we might know more and more about their Author, who is God.
It is this God-centered focus that we constantly endeavor to keep in all the Sunday school materials published by Great Commission Publications. After all, as the Apostle John says, the central thing necessary to have eternal life is to know the true God and Jesus Christ whom he sent (John 17:3). We should ask “What is David doing in this story?” But we should also ask “What is God doing here with David in this story?” Yes, we need to know that David had the courage to face and conquer Goliath. But we need even more to see the great work of God in David that enabled him to do so. It is not enough to tell our children to be like David—not unless we first help them to see the greatness of the true God in whom David trusted. For of him, and through him, and for him are all things: to whom be the glory for ever. That is what the Bible is all about and our aim is to help you see that it is so!
Learn more about the Show Me Jesus curriculum today!
Do your teens groan when you say, “Turn to Genesis 1–3”?
Do they think they know everything there is to know about the biblical account of Creation and the Fall? Do they feel like they’ve heard the story of Adam and Eve a million times?
Your teens may think they know the stories from Genesis 1–3 very well, but the reality is that (for many), their understanding is limited and their knowledge is sprinkled with misconceptions, such as, Didn’t Eve eat an apple?
Genesis 1–3 is a compelling narrative with familiar names but it also deals with hard, profound questions about life—questions that need God’s answers. Foundational answers to basic questions such as Who am I? and What is my purpose? find their starting point in these chapters. They establish a solid footwork to deepen your teens’ understanding of God, the world, redemption, and themselves.
High school students are beginning to think of careers and marriage. They are wondering about themselves and how they fit into the world. They are also living in a very real present—struggling with school, family interactions, relationships with other teens, just to name a few.
In today’s culture, marriage is mocked, work endured, and the Sabbath not even considered. The individual is frequently presented as the center of the universe. And sin? If the word is even used, it refers only to relationships with others, not to a response to God, i.e., As long as you don’t hurt another person, you are not sinning. Read the rest of this entry »
Show Me Jesus is the motto of Great Commission Publications’ Sunday school curriculum. Sunday school teaching at large has remained trapped in moralism. Instead of teaching Bible stories in the context of the whole Bible story, many curricula aim at enforcing good behavior. Bible characters are studied as models for telling children to be good or as warnings not to be bad. Sunday school has neglected to teach the way of salvation from the Bible.
To teach the Bible story, we must present the Savior. In the Old Testament, Jesus, the Son of God, reveals the Father. He appears as the Angel of the Lord, distinguished from God, but also one with God. The Angel appeared to Moses at the burning bush. When Moses asked for his name, the Angel replied, “I AM.” So, too, God sent an Angel to guard and lead Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land. They must obey his voice, for “my Name is in him” (Exodus 23:21). The Angel that bears God’s name is Jesus Christ. Read the rest of this entry »