Monday, June 22, 2009

Continuing Education: Learning Never Ends

Rick Cromey, author of Energizing Children’s Ministry in the Smaller Church, said on his Facebook status this week, “A person never becomes more ignorant than the moment they believe they know it all. Learning is fueled by driving doubt and wild eyed wonder.”

Over the last few weeks I have struggled to achieve the goal of publishing a book. One agent turned me down with the gentle reminder, “The publishing world belongs to those who are persistent, who grow their craft, and who do the extraordinarily hard work of getting established in the business.” His phrase, “grow their craft” especially caught my eye. If I want to become a published writer, even after I become a published author, I still need to keep learning. I will never fully “arrive.”

I’ve also struggled over the last few weeks over the need to be productive. Shouldn’t my writing, my music, my teaching always be for someone else’s benefit? Isn’t it selfish to study only for myself, to play the piano only for myself, to write computer screens of ideas and ruminations only for myself? The thought came to my mind, You cannot share what you do not have. The practicing, the writing, the music for the Audience of two – me and my Lord – is part of the learning process.

As teachers, we’ve never arrived at the gates of “know-it-all” land. In order to be effective teachers, we need to have the humility to admit that we are still learning ourselves. In fact, our students will be most inspired when they see us continuing to learn and grow ourselves.

Perhaps that is why our children’s Sunday School rooms are so empty. Parents may feel they don’t need Sunday School any more, that it’s just for kids. They’ve become too busy to take time to keep being learners of God’s Word. I strongly believe that if parents made the commitment to learning from God’s Word each Sunday, our children’s classrooms would be full to overflowing. If we can get the adults to commit, the children will be there. Parents send a powerful message to their children when they say, “We’re making Sunday School and church a priority in our family because I need to learn about Jesus.”

So how do you grow your church adult education program? Check out last week’s
Building Church Leaders’ website for ideas on enhancing your church’s adult education program. Keep building your children’s program – but don’t forget to have compelling classes for the adults. If the adults come, the kids will be there.

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