October 2022 Connection

A Learning Church

As your pastor, one of the things I commit myself to is regular continuing education. It’s something I enjoy, as well as something I very much appreciate as it continues to nurture my own capacities for effective ministry and leadership. It is also my aim to ensure that I gain nuggets of learning that I can
pass on to you all as a church!
Currently, I am taking an online course called “Creating Learning Environments” through my seminary Alma Mater, Methodist Theological School in Ohio. The course is designed to help think through ministry as a constant process of creating learning environments for each and every one of us, as people of faith,
to learn, grow, and discover the goodness of God in all that we do. One thought that the class has been playing with for a couple of weeks now is this: The church does not have a Christian Education program. The Church is a Christian Education program
Admittedly, that sounds a bit like a fortune cookie saying, doesn’t it? But, what it is getting at is a very important truth. It reminds us that our education as Christians – our growth as disciples on a journey toward a community of God (sometimes we call that the “Kingdom of God”) – is not just something we do in a Sunday School classroom, in a pew at 9am or 11am, or in a Bible Study.  Those are vital and meaningful, to be sure! But, they are by no means a complete listing of the ways in which we “learn” as Christians. We also learn as Christians every time we expand our capacity to offer compassion and extend
God’s grace. We grow every time we find ourselves breaking bread with neighbor, friend, and stranger. We educate ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ every time we dance to the rhythms of forgiveness and reconciliation. 
Our means of Christian Education in the church that we are most familiar with – Sunday School, Bible Study, Small Groups, and even worship – are, once again, vital and important. But to assume that our Christian Education box is checked with just these is to ignore our greater purpose as a church. All that we do as a church – as a Christian Education entity – is to make disciples for the transformation of the world into the Kingdom of God that we glimpsed through Jesus presence, ministry, and promise.
And so, what do we do with all of this? We commit ourselves to learning and growing. We commit ourselves, not merely to knowing more, but to discovering, dancing, playing, and witnessing God’s grace, love, hope, and peace, in all that we do as a church – as Christians. My prayer for you as you read this is that you would rediscover (or perhaps discover for the first time) the deep joy of being church. And once you’re there, come and make community with each of us! 
Pastor Brian
Download Connection