Our Book of Discipline outlines the process of carrying our our mission in ¶122.
- proclaim the gospel, seek, welcome, and gather persons into the body of Christ
- lead persons to commit their lives to God through baptism by water and the spirit and profession of faith in Jesus Christ
- nurture persons in Christian living through worship, the sacraments, spiritual disciplines, and other means of grace such as Wesley’s Christian conferencing
- send persons into the world to live lovingly and justly as servants of Christ by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, caring for the stranger, freeing the oppressed, being and becoming a compassionate, caring presence, and working to develop social structures that are consistent with the gospel
- continue the mission of seeking, welcoming and gathering persons into the community of the body of Christ
I was reviewing this list as I was working on plans for adult Christian education for the two little churches I serve. What I notice is how little these steps explicitly include knowledge acquisition. You can see some need for learning in order to nurture people in Christian living, but by and large the mission here is not transmitting a lot of knowledge.
Of course, this is not the only paragraph in the Book of Discipline, but I am struck by the paragraph that is self-consciously explaining how to accomplish our mission how little images of traditional Sunday School or Bible Study come to my mind.
It has me thinking about what kind of Christian education is necessary to support this process, and how I might offer that.