CHRISTIAN FORMATION/CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
Once again we continue our series of articles on the ministries in our Church with today’s focus on Christian Formation/Christian Education. These two ministries are closely intertwined in the concept of becoming a Christian and continuing to grow in faith.
Of course we start with Holy Baptism which is Christian initiation into the family of God. As most of our baptisms are administered to infants, we then encourage our young ones to begin their Christian instruction in Sunday School. Which for us in held most Sundays, the same time as our 10am Divine worship. Ages for Sunday school normally begin at 5 years and continue through Confirmation.
Holy Confimation, which is the confirming of our Baptismal vows and the pray of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands of the Bishop usually takes place around 11 or 12 years old, similarly to the time children enter high school. In our Parish, we run a discipling class, taught by lay persons, to formally prepare our young persons for Confirmation. This class begins in October in the year before Confirmation and runs right up to the big day. Our young people’s Christian learning continues, albeit sometimes sporadically, through Church services, youth group, and our young adult (F.I.F.T.H. Element).
The slowdown of real Christian teaching and instruction continues into our adult years, when the pressures of life, such as jobs, careers, home and family often conflict with the time we spend in Church and organizations and the time we allow for the study of the word and in prayer. This is a common reality across Churches and denominations. Very little time is spent in studying and learning God’s word and instruction for our lives. Bible studies and/or teaching seminars are often poorly attended and in many cases ignored.
My friends, what we say, do and learn in Sunday mass is not enough. Our Christian growth and development is being stifled and we are mainly to blame. It is our duty, if we love God and want to learn and grown in His love and grace, to make time to read and study His word, to pray and communicate with Him. And wherever and whenever possible join and attend Bible Study groups or Bible discussion groups wither here at Holy Spirit or even in small neighbor groups or at a friend’s home.
If you feel inclined to join another denomination’s Bible Study group, maybe through a friend or co-worker, please make sure that the denomination’s teachings are sound and similar to what you learnt and are taught in the Anglican faith in the 4 great essentials. 1) The Bible, 2) the Apostolic traditions 3) The Creeds 4) the Sacraments.
Let’s grow together in Christ.