As disciples of Jesus, who recognize and respond to our call to transform the world for the sake of the gospel, we are lifelong learners. We recognize we all come into this learning endeavor at different points from different perspectives with different beliefs, questions, doubts and traditions. God invites us all to wrestle through the mysteries of the scripture to discover God’s love and redemption, even when it seems confusing or contradictory. Through our lifelong learning, we are drawn into the living word of God and sent out to live our faith in the world.
Instructing learners within a faith community in what and how to think and believe, without opportunity for question, practice reflection, or disagreement no longer serves the development of faith in today’s church and world. Our core values of learning include: relationships, critical thinking/awareness, community service, dialogue, mutuality, and vulnerability among others, that invite us to make a shift in how we teach and reframe our understanding of Christian education principles.
To promote the transformation of society, community, and ourselves, we are all called to reimagine sharing and constructing knowledge in community. Knowledge that is acquired and constructed in community, must be applied to everyday life so that it is useful and impactful. Once we apply and practice what we learn, the learning process moves toward how the applied knowledge affects and changes our attitudes, behaviors, conducts and lifestyles. Then it is possible that what was once “something I know about” transforms into “I live my life differently because I have experienced…or know about…”
We imagine this framework for transformational learning as deepening throughout the life of the learner and educator. Each stage, with its distinctive learning areas, generally takes the learnings from the stages before it and “goes deeper.” Stated another way, as disciples mature with experience, wisdom, knowledge, insight, and understanding gained from life, the learning areas become more complex. When adults are new to the Christian faith or new to this faith community, they will explore and discern, with guidance, where they would most like to begin their disciple learning, or stated another way, where they would like to dive into the waters of lifelong learning of faith.
Enjoy the journey of lifelong and transformational learning and growing in your discipleship!