Opinion – More towards a holistic and liberating approach to Christian education

Christian education is the people of God working to reach the gospel (ie “disciples of all nations” Matthew 25: 18-20) and to nourish one another in power of the Spirit through the Word and the Sacraments (Col 3:16).

Therefore, the purpose of the Christian education ministry is twofold: to proclaim the gospel so that the Spirit will call people to a disciple relationship with Jesus Christ, and to live the example of Jesus as a teacher – to share the good news of Christ with those of the community of faith so that the Spirit can edify those who are already among the disciples of Jesus.

This double mission is not an individual enterprise. Education, since it sees the community in action, passes through the faithful. This includes

to participate in each other around the Word and the Sacrament, to know the will of God through an encounter with the Word, to join the suffering of Christ through solidarity with those who suffer, and to share mutual advice, support and prayers of the community of faith.

Traditionally, in the Christian community, Christian education has focused specifically on educating disciples – on enriching and strengthening the life of faith of those who have entered into a relationship of faith with Jesus Christ.

As the Church moves “… to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ, they help the disciples move forward towards …” Knowledge of the Son of God, maturity, commensurate with the full stature of Christ (Eph 4: 12-13)

In Colossians 3:16, Paul presents a vision of Christian education in action: God “.

Through the abode of the Word and the sharing that takes place between believers around the Word, the members of the body of Christ are enriched by the Gospel by applying its meaning to everyday life.

The holistic approach to education begins with the connection that the whole person is created and redeemed by God. The whole person is then involved in the discipleship which seeks to experience a response of faith.

For this reason, Christian education meets people intellectually, physically, socially and spiritually. True holistic education is not just about increasing knowledge.

He does not seek simple assent. It unites the whole person in an encounter with the Word so that the Spirit, beliefs, attitudes, values ​​and behaviors can be transformed. Holistic education: takes place in the community in which it participates; it lasts a lifetime and includes all age groups and all people. It is rooted in the Bible.

The Church must proclaim an understanding of Christian education that is both holistic and liberating. The liberating approach of Christian education stems from concerns for justice driven by the love of God that all live in harmony.

Injustice and oppression abound. Much of this injustice is rooted in the systems and structure favored by commercial and political powers.

Liberating education seeks to help Christians develop the capacity for critical thinking in a way that addresses the ethical and social issues surrounding injustice.

The purpose of this critical reflection is to help learners perceive, reflect on, and act on issues of justice as a response to their faith, based on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Characteristics of liberation education include: inquiry transformation, teacher-learner partnership, participatory community dialogue and the Bible, and the “here and now” of human life. While both approaches are valid and add elements to Christian education, holistic and liberating approaches to education are not competitive.

True, these approaches flow from people’s experiences, but rather than choosing between them, today’s Christian educators tend to mix up some of the elements of these approaches as they continue to expand (holistic) theory and theory. practice (liberator) of Christian education.

The two approaches share many common assumptions and perspectives.

For example, the approaches share elements that are both rooted in the Christian community, emphasize the participatory nature of learning dialogue, and both redefine the teacher-learner relationship into shared and mutually appropriate action. It also seeks to involve learners of all ages and from all backgrounds.

Both see the Bible as a source of a liberating or empowering message and content for Christian education, and stress that the scriptures must be contextualized so that the liberating message of the gospel can be realized in any situation. given.

In conclusion, as holistic and liberating approaches to learning continue to permeate Christian education, our understanding of education increases proclaimed approaches; for example, that learning takes place in many ways: by teaching, by participating and by sharing experiences. Understanding promotes a variety of learning opportunities and activities in local churches. This integrated approach celebrates the power of the gospel in worship, learning and fellowship as it unites and strengthens the priesthood of all believers for common activity in the world.

2021-10-22 Reverend Jan Scholtz

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