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Christian Education Articles

  • Rob Lister — 

    Recently, prior to one of our family trips this summer I stumbled across what looks like a great resource for kids produced by “Faith Comes By Hearing.” It's been a blessing to our kids, so I thought I'd pass it along.

  • Kevin E. Lawson — 

    Over the last two months I have introduced and explained a “coaching” model for teaching that I believe has greater potential for encouraging deeper, more transformative learning. Unfortunately, not many of us are teaching in this way and we need to begin changing how we prepare our lessons and how we use our time as we teach our students. This month and next I want to share about a dozen ideas for how to begin moving from a “teaching for knowing” to a “teaching for growing” ministry. After these blogs I’ll go back and spend more time on issues of how we prepare for our teaching, how we move beyond teaching for knowing in our use of time in the group, and how to develop a longer-term approach to promoting growth through our teaching. First, how do we begin to teach more like a coach?

  • Rob Lister — 

    Here’s a summer reading suggestion. Take Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga for a spin. It’s a stirring fantasy epic that is sure to delight both young and old in your home just as it has in ours.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Despite the evil that exists in our world, the Bible says that God keeps it from unraveling. So, for now, God allows evil to be unleashed-- at least to a degree-- while keeping it in check so He can fulfill the plan He has for all ages— and until He establishes His eternal reign after the defeat of evil and all evildoers.

  • K. Erik Thoennes — 

    A book I wrote came out today. It's called Life's Biggest Questions: What the Bible Says about the Things That Matter Most (Crossway). I pray it will help people to know God and his truth better.

  • Kevin E. Lawson — 

    Last month I shared a “coaching” model for teaching that I believe can help us deepen the impact of our teaching, helping us avoid the problems of biblical amnesia and aborted application. This month I start by looking at Paul’s teaching ministry to see how this coaching approach fits with his efforts. Then I go back through the phases of the coaching model and talk about what that would mean for us as teachers in the church. What does it look like to begin teaching like a coach?

  • Dave Keehn — 

    “Eye spy with my little eye…” –is this a child’s game, a way to pass the time on a long road trip or the secret to effective ministry? You decide…

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    We’ve seen a lot of death, pain, suffering, and evil in our world during the last few years, so today I want to address a few questions having to do with evil, pain and suffering— questions that, I believe, all ‘thinking’ people ask.

  • Kevin E. Lawson — 

    Over the last three months I’ve described a “right-handed” model for thinking about what we do in Christian education. It pulls together five “right” aspects of what we need to focus on in our teaching: right relationship, right knowledge, right passion or heart, right will, and right actions. For the next few months I want to explore and unpack a “coaching” pedagogy that helps promote real growth, not just increased knowledge. Let me start with a verse from one of my favorite Psalms and a story.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Is your church similar to a family holiday celebration? The table is set, the decorations adorn the room, all ages are gathered together… but sitting at different tables. The “adult’s table” is the set with the large platters of food, and the fine wine to match the fine china. At the “kids’ table” are plastic plates that won’t break, no table clothes that could be stained, and no food platters – the plates of food will be served to the children by a parent in pre-approved samplings that the adult chooses. Does this sound like the difference between the adult worship vs. kids worship: one gets the better equipment and musicians while we assume the kids are content with student musicians. Adult mission trips push the limits of opportunities while kids are often ignored for true missional experiences. Even our language of “big church” gives away the “second-class status” with which we classify the children and youth ministries. The larger the church, the more professional the youth ministry becomes… the more segregated youth are from the church. The result is tragically youth are “guests” in church, and hear the message “don’t mess it up”.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Evil is present in the world. It was seen in the face of Usama bin Laden. It is also seen in things like murder, child abuse, terrorism, and natural disasters. Many Christians and non-Christians don't understand why evil is present in the world. Here's why.

  • Jeffrey Volkmer — 

    I am now in my second year as a faculty member at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology. Prior to this, I’ve spent the last 16 years of my life doing primarily two things: 1) attending three different universities, and; 2) working for local churches in a variety of capacities. You would think that after that amount of time invested in both theological higher education and church service, I would have learned quite a bit about the local church. Yet, this is anything but the case and not because the curriculum of my seminary lacked adequate focus on ecclesiology. Rather, teaching at a Christian university has opened up an amazing new curriculum for me and afforded me a unique and fresh vista from which to view the Church and learn from one of her most precious treasures – young people – and in this case, undergraduate students. I would like to share some of the greatest lessons this new curriculum has taught me as I seek to teach undergraduates.

  • Kevin E. Lawson — 

    Two months ago I raised a concern about a problem some churches struggle with in seeing limited impact of their teaching ministries in the lives of those who participate. I talked about some ways this problem has tended to be addressed, and my own conviction that there is a need for a better model or approach to our teaching if we hope to see real growth occur. Last month I introduced the basic ideas of “right-handed” teaching and discussed the first half of the model. This month I want to continue and complete my discussion of the model and then begin looking at how it works together.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    I have noticed the same principals that I am trying to teaching my son to be a better ballplayer are really the same fundamentals that help me coach students to be tools in God’s hands.

  • Kevin E. Lawson — 

    Over the next several months, I will be addressing the problem of the shallow impact of many teaching ministries in our churches and ways that we might “Teach Deeper” for greater openness to God’s transforming work. In this second blog I share the first half of a proposal for how to understand the goals of our teaching to more naturally help those we teach both understand and begin to respond to God’s Word in ways that can lead to lasting change.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    One of the greatest compliments I ever received was from a student who rose to speak at a “thank you” celebration when I left my first church. I had been involved in youth ministry at this church for 14 years, the last ten as the youth pastor. I had begun to recognize the benefits of developing a comprehensive mentoring program for the youth ministry and invested many hours in the lives of a few young men. All five of these men are currently serving in full time ministry today, most as youth pastors. This particular student, James, was one of those five I poured myself into during the last few years at that church. As many people stood to say nice things to my family and I, this young man silenced the room when he simply said, “You are my Paul and I am your Timothy!” And with that he sat down. The emotion I had been trying to control burst forth at that moment and I realized I was finished. I had completed the task God had called me to at that church. What a compliment that student paid me; on my worst days, I think about that moment and smile. Mentoring may be a “buzz-word” in the business world but the practice of developing another person for specific purposes of skill development or leadership (Smith, p. 95) has been around since the beginning of civilization, evident throughout Scripture – especially in the lives of Paul and Timothy.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Ideas are not neutral and irrelevant. They are constructs of language that can have helpful or hurtful cooresponding effects. All ideas are not equally valid and are not necessarily even true... but, true or not, ideas can have powerful effects and great care should be taken in our handling of them.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Purity begets personal power. This personal power comes from integrity. Integrity creates inner strength, which manifests itself in strong character. This 'character' increasingly produces unmitigated power in the life of the person possessing it-- and such a person is fueled by nothing other than pure conviction.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Edvard Munch's ultimate work was his expressionist series The Frieze of Life. In that series Munch sought to illustrate some of the most fundamental themes of the human experience: life, love, death, melancholy, and fear.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    I have found it rather easy over the years to convince our Talbot students of the value of expository preaching. The challenge comes when our students leave the classroom and find themselves ministering to church folks who live in a sound-bite culture, and who have a strong affinity for topical sermons that “scratch ‘em where they itch.”

  • Dave Keehn — 

    The church I grew up in is no more. It was small when I was a child; my youth group was 5 teenagers – 2 of which was my sister and I… slim pickens for potential dates. And now the church is a shell of what it was – a few older people I knew from childhood, systematically opening the doors each Sunday for the “faithful” who still come. So what happened? Sinful revolt? Apathetic attendees? No, the community’s culture changed and the church failed to reach out to the new language speakers. So a church closes its doors because it can’t speak the language of the new culture.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Last week I posted a piece in which I encouraged each of us to actually pray when we pray. Since then my thoughts about prayer have moved in another direction, particularly as it relates to the training of our children. I am becoming increasingly convinced that one of the most significant ways we convey spiritual truth to our children is through our prayers. I believe that when we pray with our children, our children learn about our relationship with the Lord and what we believe about God. Let’s look at three things we teach our children when they listen to us pray.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    A sage once said that "Truth-telling is an act of violence." Regarding violence, anyone who has ever been victimized and that has suffered the resultant trauma knows its resonant results. It is like the proverbial pebble which causes a disproportionate effect-- rows of ripples that circumnavigate far from the point of impact, long after the rock has settled in the silt below.

  • Kevin E. Lawson — 

    Over the next several months, I will be addressing the problem of the shallow impact of many teaching ministries in our churches and ways that we might “Teach Deeper” for greater openness to God’s transforming work. In this first blog I pose some questions about why some of our teaching ministries seem to bear limited fruit and how we might better approach our teaching ministries.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Fear can be rational or irrational. That said, there's a 'sense' in which it doesn't always matter whether one's fear is rational or not. That's because even if a particular fear happens to be irrational, that doesn't necessarily make it any less troubling. In fact, irrationality doesn't "negate" fear in the least-- and, in some cases, it can even breed terror.