Education & Formation: Final Paper
Statement of the Case
Church of the Redeemer began as a new church plant in the hip Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago three years ago. Mark and Anne, the two 30-something founding pastors rented an abandoned Catholic church for Sunday services. The relaxed preaching style, and eclectic worship style (combining everything from folk music to traditional hymns complete with organ music) has drawn people of all ages to Church of the Redeemer. In fact, the church has drawn so many people — nearly 300 every Sunday morning — that Mark and Anne have become a bit overwhelmed. They had not anticipated the growth they’ve seen in the past three years, especially the number of young families who have begun to attend the church. The need for a Christian education program for children, youth, and adults is becoming more and more apparent. Currently, children remain with their parents in the service until the sermon when they’re sent downstairs. Children ages 5-years to third grade are together in one room and do crafts and play games. Sometimes one of the leaders will tell a Bible story. Children under five years-old are in a nursery-type environment without any instruction. The church doesn’t have any formal youth ministry, although many teenagers participate in the worship service. Currently, there are no adult education classes except for two Bible study groups that have formed spontaneously and meet in homes. While it seems the church has done well with building fellowship (a potluck follows the service each Sunday morning, and most everyone in the church attends) it now seems a more sophisticated and developed plan for Christian education and formation is desperately needed. After bringing their concern to the elder board, Mark and Anne have been urged to find someone who can design and execute a plan for education and formation at Redeemer. They’ve hired you, a recent seminary graduate.
What are the key components for Christian education and formation that need to be established at Redeemer? Drawing on materials from the course, describe what such a plan might look like.