MARTY: The language we use is very important. It helps shape culture. The phrase “community of faith” more clearly expresses the relational nature of a congregation and its appropriate educational concerns: context, content, approach, outcome, and method. The context is the community of faith, not a classroom. The content is the person of Jesus Christ, not a creed or textbook. The approach is relational, not didactic. The outcome is becoming in relationship, not mastery of content. The method is dialogical, not instruction.
This language helps the Christian Education Leadership Team focus on the relational nature of the congregation. The phrase “community of faith” helps the leadership team keep a broader perspective in mind, leading the team to give attention to all aspects of congregational life. The phrase helps the leadership team become clear about the difference between religious instruction and formation education. All of this significantly impacts planning that leads to effective faith formation.