by Steve Veazey, President of the Community of Christ Church
Re-blogged from: Connect-Engage-Inspire
As I journey throughout the church, I have many opportunities to discuss various issues with members and leaders. A common topic is the need for Community of Christ-based Christian education (disciple formation) resources for children.
I agree. As my own experience attests, the basic foundations for active church membership and discipleship are laid in age-appropriate Christian-education classes and related activities. I will be forever grateful to those loving, dutiful, Sunday-school teachers who shared the sacred stories and vision of the gospel with me during my formative years. We need to give more attention to this important element of congregational life.
With that vital need in mind, we have some great news to share! The new Of Water and Spirit materials for children will be available in time for classes this month.
The Of Water and Spirit curriculum originally was envisioned as pre-baptismal and pre-confirmation preparation for children. However, after reviewing the draft material, I was overheard saying, “This is so good it ought to be taught to all our children, regardless of whether they have already been baptized and confirmed!”
I stand by that statement. All English-speaking congregations are strongly encouraged to order and use the material with children 7–11 years old. In fact, we recommend that this material be used for an intergenerational class that involves all ages.
The lessons provide an excellent overview of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in community with other disciples. They emphasize Community of Christ identity, message, mission, and beliefs, including understanding the basics of church history, scriptures, sacraments, and priesthood. The church’s Enduring Principles are woven throughout the lessons.
I recently attended several congregations that are placing a major emphasis on ministry with children and youth, including disciple-formation classes for specific age groups. Those congregations stand out with noticeable positive outlooks, loving intergenerational relationships, and effective neighborhood outreach. It is not surprising they also regularly celebrate the baptisms and confirmations of younger people!
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t currently have many children attending congregational activities. Plan for the future by organizing classes and then creatively publicize them among member families and in your neighborhood. If Sunday morning is not a good time for classes, be innovative and try other times that work better for people’s schedules. You may be surprised at the results!
Church leaders are grateful for the creativity, skills, and insights that Of Water and Spirit writers have applied to developing this material. Now, it is up to congregations to use these resources as part of their ongoing efforts to form faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who serve through Community of Christ.
You can purchase Of Water and Spirit Facilitator Guide and the Disciple’s Journal here