Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christian Education in the Small Membership Church

Creativity, innovation, inclusivity, improvisation, passion, dedication. 

These are all building blocks of Christian education within a small membership church. 

Making up for limited resources such as budget, space, staffing, not to mention only a handful of students on any given Sunday, may seem like an insurmountable challenge, especially if we compare ourselves to larger parishes with full wings dedicated to Christian education, annual Vacation Church Schools, weekly SOYO events, etc. In a book designed for those of us working and serving in the context of a small membership church entitled Christian Education in the Small Membership Church, author and Emeritus Professor of Christian Education at Eden Theological Seminary Karen B. Tye presents her insight on “the creative possibilities that reside in the small membership church for doing the vital work of education and formation, of equipping the saints for ministry.” (p. ix, Introduction)

Over the course of six chapters, Tye describes how a small membership church is different (in a good way!); a small membership church is beautiful; a small membership church offers opportunities unavailable in a larger parish. Every small membership church is unique unto itself, even when compared to other small membership churches. There is a process to determine the individual Christian education model that is right for your parish, and Tye provides a framework for approaching this process. “Rather than seeking the solution or the program, we need to commit ourselves to exploring the particularity of our setting and what that means for the deliberate, intentional, and faithful work of formation on our community of faith. The church of Jesus Christ, no matter what its size, deserves our best efforts.” (p. x, Introduction)

Through a series of posts corresponding with the six chapters of this book, we will explore and discuss Tye's instructions on how to build a healthy Christian education ministry, with opportunity to successfully grow as your parish grows. Although not written from an Orthodox Christian perspective, the book offers rich insight to apply to Church School Directors' efforts in growing Christian education within your own parishes. 

For regular updates on new blog posts, and to follow this series about the book  Christian Education in the Small Membership Church, readers may subscribe to The Mustard Seed on the main page of this blog.  

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