“God calls the Church to continue the teaching ministry of Jesus Christ, guiding and nurturing one another through all the seasons and transitions of life. In particular, the church offers opportunities for education and formation as members enter the community of faith, discover Christian vocation, and assume responsibility in the world.” (Book of Order W-5.0203)
While many in the church see the pastor, or a staff person in Christian education, as “the professional educator,” in many of our smaller churches, the primary people responsible for educational ministry may be a Sunday School Superintendent or Teacher or a volunteer who enjoys working with the youth or a teacher in the public/private school system. While they have a passion and sense of call, often they don’t have, can’t afford, or don’t have the time to get training in basic knowledge and skills areas of educational ministry/Christian education/faith formation, particularly biblical interpretation, Reformed theology, Presbyterian polity and mission, Presbyterian worship, human growth and faith development, and educational theory and practice.
The good news is that there is now an accessible training/preparation program for leaders in educational ministry who would like to be better prepared and knowledgeable: the Christian Education Associate. This process is available to all who are active in educational ministry in their congregation, including, but not limited to, those who teach and lead Sunday School, youth ministry, or Vacation Bible School; members of the Christian Education (or whatever your Session calls it) Committee; pastors; or Christian educators, regardless of the size of your congregation.
Anyone who is interested in completing this process of study is encouraged to create an account and complete the application form. For each course, the process is the completion of an initial assessment, developing a plan of study to learn more and completing it, and then successful completion of a final assessment. Throughout the process, the presbytery’s Educator Certification Advisor, Susan Sharp Campbell, will work with you to assist and support your work. Find a detailed step-by-step process description here.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-667-9428. If there is enough interest, it may be possible to form a cohort group with participants working together in the process.