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Christian Methodist Episcopal

Department of Christian Education

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Formation + Nurture + Leadership = Mission

As local churches in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church seek to better understand the principles of discipleship the commitment and participation of involvement from cradle to grave is crucial. Who is it that Jesus calls to carry out this commission of making disciples – and who are the intended recipients of this mandate?

In reviewing the purpose and foundational principles of Christian education within the structure of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church we are guided by our polity and organization structure as set forth in the Discipline. The ministry of Christian education is ministry that touches every age level within the local church – it is cradle to grave ministry.

Who is called to make disciples and who are called to be disciples? If we truly discern the Great Commission of making disciples of all nations – “teaching and baptizing them in them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, NRSV) then we can answer truthfully that persons who make up the body of Christ in our local churches are called to be disciples and make disciples.

The Department has crafted the theme “Making Disciples through events that form and transform.” It is in such events that take place at the local church level that members are formed and transformed resulting in committed disciples.

Therefore, we contend that all members should be involved in the methods and processes of Christian education. Every person (members and non-members) who is a part of the local church should be touched at some level by the ministry of Christian education. This is why it is called cradle to grave ministry. From infancy to death, persons who make up the faith community, the local C.M.E. congregation, should be included in some aspect of the ministry of Christian education.
In recent years Christian Education in the C.M.E. Church has been regarded as ministry to children, youth and young Adults. Other than Sunday Church school and weekly Bible Study far too few local churches have Christian education ministries that are directed toward Adult members in the local congregation. Older adults (those over the age of 35) are in need of formation and nurturing as much, if not more than the younger generation of the church. Senior members oftentimes feel excluded when ministry focuses primarily on the youth and young adults of the church. Some feel that after giving their lives to the church they have been put out to pasture. There are many ways in which Christian education can reach and reconnect this generation to the church and revitalize their commitment to the faith community. We must begin to create multi-generational and intergenerational events and ministries that involve older adults and the younger generation in teambuilding, partnerships, and mentoring.

Again we must take a serious look at the age divisions within our congregations. Adults are lumped into one category (over 35 years of age) without regard to their social, economic, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual capabilities. We must recognize the different age groupings within our
local congregations. While the makeup of some congregations may reflect all senior members over the age of 65, others may have a variety of adults ranging in ages between 36 – 100+. How do we connect and provide Christian education that reaches across the spectrum? What are the commonalties that exist among all adults in this age range and what are the differences? What are the needs? How do we meet the needs of all of our adult members?

We must find ways of grouping our adults into Christian education ministries that are holistic and reaches them at their spiritual level and addresses their social, emotional, mental and physical needs as well.

Resources for Adult Ministries include:

21st Century Discipleship Bible Study – Developed by the Department of Christian Education
Disciple Bible Study - Abingdon Press

"If you make my word your home, you will indeed be my disciples.”
~John 8:31 The New Jerusalem Bible

Are there people in your congregation who are hungering for the Word of God? DISCIPLE Bible Study can help transform your church into a biblically nourished congregation that nurtures and encourages people to live as disciples of Christ.

The DISCIPLE Bible Study program is designed to develop strong local churches through the in-depth study of Scripture. Through DISCIPLE, persons are strengthened in their faith and guided into service and ministry. Strong, biblically nourished leadership will help your church grow in vitality and Christian discipleship.

Companions In Christ Series – Upper Room Ministries

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Companions in Christ offers small groups a powerfully transforming experience in opening yourself to God's presence and guidance. Explore classic spiritual practices, and develop new daily patterns that will open your life to a deepening relationship with God and with your group.