THE DEFINITION OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY Author: Alcenir R.

de Oliveira, MSA/MDIV Submitted to Anne E. Streaty Wimberly, Ph.D Michael T. McQueen, D. Min by Alcenir Oliveira For CAM-801 - Foundations

of Christina Education

Interdenominational Theological Center Atlanta, Georgia January 29, 2004 The relationship of my my definition of Christian Education and my philosophy of Ministry “Christian Education is the learning process that leads people to learn how to live according to the will of God, showing and practicing the love for God and neighbor.” Alcenir Oliveira, January 22, 2004. I would like to start with a quote of Dr. Charles Melchert, saying that “if we are unclear about what it is or what we are looking for in the process” 1 the probability of reaching our expectations is remote. In management, every action, program, process, plan or whatever one is engaged in are based on a goal or purpose very clear to be achieved. In project management, the idea is that to draw a project a goal must exist, nobody develop a project to go nowhere, to do nothing; a purpose must exist, then a plan can be drawn and projects and programs will be designed for the many smaller goals. In this sense, it becomes clear that we have to know what, why, how, where and who will be doing. One of my concerns is that the church and her processes to avail worship, Christian Education and other services are means to achieve the overall goals. This way, will be no formula applied for all, because it depends on the context. But basic concepts usually have to be addressed, usually within the understanding of Ken B. Tye 2 that it

comprises four stages, being the religious instruction that aims at the learning of the foundations of the faith; the socialization process that is the means of engaging the individual in the community where the enculturation is going to happen; the personal development approach that involves the individual growth and development in many aspects as for instance faith, spiritual, moral and character. And the fourth aspect is process of liberation that means “the development of a new Christian consciousness which will be aware of the global context of oppression and will lead Christians in constructing new, faithful, lifestyles”3. The definition of Christian Education is important since it is going to set the basis of the vision the community develops. My context of ministry is a complex Christian environment that instead of leading the learning process towards preparing the individual to understand the love of God as a practical love, a love that comprises action, attitude changing towards transforming internally and externally, meaning the act of assimilating a different view of the world, a view of transformation, a positive attitude towards the community, a political positioning within the teachings, the love and salvation in Jesus Christ, a missionary liberation view, liberation of sin and liberation of social oppression, it works mostly aiming the spiritual transformation prioritizing praise and worship. Returning to the definition, the goal of the learning process is the development of the ability to love, to show the love of Jesus, a love that is not only of compassion, but also of action, action in doing something to heal, to feed, to liberate, to restore, to save; the love of Jesus is not just a feeling, just a I feel peace, I feel love, I feel cared for; the love of Jesus is a transforming love, transforming attitude, attitude that may be translated into action whenever it is necessary as shown in the parable of the Good Samaritan. To conclude, Christian Education is the tool we have to transform the believer, be a new converted, a daughter or a son of Christian family, into a real Christian that reflects the personality of Jesus, the one who has in the transformation of the world as a purpose of life.

1

MELCHERT, Charles F. Does the Church Really Want Religious Education? Religious Education (Jan/Feb 1974):13-14. In: Basics of Christian Education. Karen B. Tye. St. Louis: Chalice, 2000. 2 TYE, Karen B.Basics of Christian Education. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2000 3 SEYMOUR, Jack L. and MILLER, Donald E Contemporary Approaches to Christian Education. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1982. in “Basics of Christian Education. Karen B. Tye. St. Luis: Chalice Press, 2000”.

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