Writing Assignment 1
A paper submitted to Dr. Rick Garner
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the course
Hershel L. Kreis, Jr.
November 4, 2012
While there are those who may be uncomfortable with the idea that worship is a goal in making disciples, the goal of Christian education according to Mitchell is to make a disciple who worships Jesus. Mitchell points out that worship is more than just showing up at church on Sunday morning for an hour of corporate worship. He points out that worship according to John 4:19 -24 goes much deeper than just that time of corporate worship that we often think of as worship. He points out that worship involves the whole person, mind, body and soul. Anderson states that corporate worship is “an action of discipling and discipleship” and a “school for the Lord’s service.” Discipleship is just one part of the equation needed to assist Christians in spiritual formation to maturity. Christian education also has a role to play. The goal of both discipleship and Christian education is to produce spiritually mature disciples of Christ. Education, as the term is used by Csinos and many others, is used to refer to learning that takes place within churches or schools. Formal Christian education and discipleship can be seen as points along a continuum that is designed to increase the spiritual maturity of believers. Mitchell’s definition of Christian education, when broken down gives a number of clues as to the role it plays in regards to assisting Christians to become more mature in their walk with Christ. When Mitchell speaks of Christian education as “engaging learners in acquiring the mind and skill sets,” he clearly shows that there has to be a transfer of knowledge in some fashion. Faithful expository preaching allows the Christian to understand how the Bible is not just a collection of 66 individualized books, but instead an interlocking mosaic that explains God’s love for man and the relationship between them. Topical preaching is good for learning about particular aspects of faith and what the Bible has to say about the issues that Christians confront in today’s society, but expository preaching is faithful to not only the text, but the context of the passage in light of the entire Bible. But, faithful preaching of God’s Word is not the only way that Christian education is being accomplished. There are still many churches that conduct Sunday schools. These Sunday schools have varied curricula and, as a result, their success as a tool in spiritual formation can vary. For those who use Sunday school curricula provided by a denominational source, they can provide a great deal of information to the Christian as to what the denomination believes and why they believe it. Other formats include topical studies or studies that examine books of the Bible in a manner similar to expository preaching. While Sunday school materials vary, the importance to the individual Christian will also vary. If a class was using a topical study, there may be particular lessons or units that may not apply to all that are in the class. While Sunday schools and corporate worship provide Christian education to believers, they are less intimate than small groups. Small groups are, in many ways, a hybrid of formal Christian education and discipleship, depending on the way in which they are run and the content in which they cover. Some small groups tend to be smaller formal education by doing Bible studies. Other small groups tend to lean more towards discipleship in that they are based on encouragement, accountability and support for the members. These small groups are often termed accountability groups for just that reason. These small groups not only help the Christian learn about the fundamentals of the faith, but also allow others to hold them accountable to...