Sunday, March 21, 2010

How might a pastor use this book?

ISRAEL: We hope many pastors avail themselves of the resources in this book. The reality is that in many cases the pastor is the sole staff member of a congregation, and therefore, needs to be the primary educational leader for the church’s educational ministry. But it is also true that most pastors likely have not had sufficient training in rigorous educational theory and practice to know how to plan or organize an effective educational ministry program for the church. Much less will most of them know how to assess whether their efforts and their church programs are effective. This is a critical issue for small congregations who so often fall into the trap of trying to emulate and reproduce programs from larger congregations. The irony is, as the book points out, that small churches have within themselves all the resources to provide an effective educational ministry.

MARTY: The pastor is central to the effectiveness of this community of faith approach. Given the fact that the educational curriculum is “the course of the life of the church,” as Maria Harris, wrote, and that worship is one of the most effective forms of educating in faith, the pastor cannot be isolated from the Christian education efforts of the church. The book will educate some pastors towards a greater understanding of Christian education—how people are effectively educated in faith in congregational life; the structures and processes that bring about effectiveness; why it is imperative for the Christian Education Leadership Team to have the pastor’s support; and how critical it is for the team to be given authority that is commensurate with their responsibility in order to effectively carry their work.

Other pastors will find this model refreshing and helpful to his/her vision for the church and leadership of the church, because the Christian Education Leadership Team will participate in vision-casting, brainstorming, collaborating, planning, and assessing—all vital functions of effective congregational leadership. I think pastors will quickly realize how important this team is in comparison to other church leadership teams, such as Church Councils, that often do little more that calendaring and reporting.

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