In America, we can clearly see the diversity of people, some of them come from Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia and some of them come from Middle East Countries, European Countries and so on. The world is changing rapidly and a lot of young children and teenagers are from all over the world and they come to America for better education. As a Christian educator, we should serve these diverse communities and it is clear for us to see the opportunity of having multicultural Christian education so that we can reach out not only our own ethnic group, but also people who come from different countries.
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Multicultural ministry is more challenging than monocultural ministry due to the culture differences, language barriers and differences in worldview. Regardless the differences, Christian educators value people’s growth. However, our focus is not to get more worldly achievement or be able to make more money. Our focus on the education is to grow people to become more like Christ in different aspects.
Here, we will find some common ground for both multicultural and monocultural ministry. We will discuss about the ultimate goal of Christian education, philosophy of Christian education, the qualification of teacher, the nature of learner, the ideal environmental setting and evaluation for teaching.
The ultimate goal of Christian education
First and the most important goal for Christian education is to teach the students to obey God’s commandment. There are two commandments. First one is to love God with all our heart, all our mind and all our soul. Second one is love your neighbor as yourself. In Luke 10:27, Jesus said “He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Second, the goal of Christian education is to teach for transformation. From the book of creative bible teaching, Lawrence explains how to structure a lesson and he propose the Hook, Book, Look, Took Method to the Christian educators.
For Hook, it is the step to get attention and introduce the subject to be studied. Students will ask question like what will we study. And a great hook emotionally engages learners.
For Book, it is the step to present the Bible, search Scriptures and build a biblical foundation and give students the insight. Students will ask question like what does the Bible say. And a great Bible study explains and explores the Scriptures.
For Look, it is the step to explore life applications. Christian educators can search the student’s experiences, motives, values and beliefs about the subject. Students will ask question like what does this mean to me. And a great application of Scripture will cause students to internalize Truth and apply it to life situations.
For Took, it is the step to lead to life commitments, encourage legitimate life change. Students will ask question like what will I do now. And a great lesson conclusion will inspire learners to act upon what they have learned. Therefore, the Hook, Book, Look, Took Method is a great method to guide the students for transformation.
Third, the goal of Christian education is to teach students about their life mission, which is the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus said to the disciple “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” From this bible verse, we know our purpose for education ministry is to go and make disciples of all nations, baptize them and teach them to obey Christ and His commands.
Philosophy of Christian education
As for biblical foundation, we emphasizes that Scripture is the ultimate source for understanding Christianity and it is important that the bible teacher’s thoughts and practices should be guided by God’s truth; the truth that God has revealed to us through different prophets and through Jesus Himself. Also, as Christian educators seek to be obedient to Christ and take up the task of teaching, biblical foundation provides a standard for judging their teaching.
Besides, in the book of Foundational Issue in Christian education: An introduction in evangelical perspective, Pazmino was trying to explain how Christian education emerged from the development of the biblical text. Pazmino pointed out that the life and ministry of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian education. Jesus is the bread of life and He is the Word incarnated that He fulfilled all the laws and He is our perfect example of how to live a God honouring life. The teaching of Jesus in the New Testament centered on sharing the gospel, which is God’s calling for every Christian.
As for the theological foundation, we need to understand the influence of the Bible on Christian thinking and teaching. Pazmino mentioned four distinctive theological elements that are important to Christianity. Those four elements are biblical authority, the necessity of conversion, the redemptive work of Jesus and the personal piety.
For the biblical authority, the Scripture are viewed as the breath of God and functioned as final authority. We believe God divinely inspires the authors when they wrote the Scripture. Also “believers are called to discern a biblical agenda in Christian education, as in all areas of thought and practice.”
For the necessity of conversion, as people encounter the saving grace from Christ, it requires the personal response to this saving grace. Also, it requires commitment that believers will no longer live for themselves, but they will give their lives to live for Christ and fulfil His calling.
For the redemptive work of Jesus, it is central to the Christian beliefs. Evangelical Christians “affirm the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, including the incarnation and virgin birth of Christ, his sinless life, substitutionary atonement, and bodily resurrection as the ground of God’s forgiveness of sinners, justification by faith alone, and the spiritual regeneration of all who trust in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.” The work of salvation has been done through Christ Jesus, and the only way that people can receive this free gift is by faith in Jesus Christ alone.
For the personal piety, Pazmino mentioned that Christian should continue to walk with God after conversion. It is important to connect with God emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Also, Holy Spirit is our teacher and our guide. He is at work in the world and in the lives of all believers. He teaches us, illuminates us and gives us insight about God’s word. In John 14:26, Jesus mentioned the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father sent to us will teach us all things, and bring remembrance of Jesus’s word to us. Holy Spirit is completing the work of salvation by bringing God’s children from salvation to sanctification. He brings regeneration to all Christ followers and makes them become like Christ and bear spiritual fruit. In Philippians 1:6, it said He who began a good work in us would bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Christian educators should contextualize the Word of God. Culture is the customs, behaviour patterns, characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people. For example, the culture for the Arab group is that they are majority Muslims and most of them are restricted from eating pork and drinking wine. Arabs also have the hierarchy structure and they respect the elders and someone who has authority. Understanding someone’s culture is particular important to Christian education as the teachers can connect better with the students in a way that without misunderstand each other. Culture is like a lens for the teacher and they can see what the students see.
Christian educators are encouraged to use curriculum material as it saves lots of preparation time. It also gives the young teacher some confidence during the teaching since the curriculum provided the framework and they just need to follow it. Even though the teacher may not know enough of the Bible, they can still lead the Bible study when they have the curriculum on their hand.
Curriculum is a growth model for students to learn about the learning material step by step. Curriculum contributes to student learning by informing, forming and transforming the students. Oftentimes, the content of a curriculum would include the materials for learning such as a short bible passage, activities for learning, planning and implementation of activities, evaluation of the learning or teaching experience. When the teacher designs any curriculum, they would ask the following basic questions: What should be taught, Why should this area be taught, where is the teaching be done, how is the teaching be done, when should various area be taught, who should be taught, who is teaching and so on.
The qualification of teachers
First, teachers should be sensitive to the students’ needs. By understanding and caring for the students’ needs, the teacher can be able to connect the Bible content with the students’ lives in a much more meaningful way. While the teachers are able to connect with the students meaningfully, the learning material will be able to transfer effectively and the students’ lives will be transformed.
Second, teachers should understand the students’ culture and respect them. For example, many people still label African Americans as black and Negro (Spanish for black), but they think these labels are offensive and racist. It is important to understand their historical background and understand the taboo that teachers should not call them as black people. We should treat them with respect and treat them the same as other people/ethnic group.
Third, teachers should set a good example for the students. Teacher should be able to demonstrate the love from Christ and continue to grow and be fruitful. It is important for the teacher to grow together with the students.
Fourth, good teachers always use encouragement instead of blaming. They would encourage the students to pursue God when the students feel discouraged or hopeless for their situation.
Fifth, good teacher should have the accurate understanding of the Bible and their teaching is always gospel centered. And God said those who teach falsely would be judged. In James 3:1, it said “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
In order to become a good teacher, teachers need to have a pure motive of teaching, the reliability of information, expertise, passion and reputation. And they should be warm and friendly. A good teacher should also communicate the content, purpose clearly and their thinking will have structure. Also, a great teacher will simulate the learner and involve them in the learning process. Besides, teachers should teach with a good style such as using the vivid words, maintain eye contact, vocal variety.
The nature of the learner
Learners represent a challenge to the Christian education process. Each believer brings a range of personal needs, wishes and goals to the classroom. Everyone is seeking satisfaction and growth in their personal and spiritual life. Each learner begins with his own basic needs, so the educator must seek to motivate the learner to discover and apply the Word of God to his life. In Christian education, true learning comes from the fact that learners experience the miracles of God’s truth that applies to his life.
Besides, student is seen as a worthy person because God calls each of us to be His children. We are so valuable in God’s eyes that the Heaven Father sent Jesus to die for our sins. Also, human beings were made in the image of God. In Genesis 1:27, it said “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Moreover, the nature of the learner is a sinner who falls short of the glory of God. Human beings are fallen and separated from God through Adam’s sin. In Psalm 51:5, it said “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
Furthermore, there are four types of learning styles. They are discerner, constructor, excavator and activist. A discerner cares about the purpose of the Bible passage and they want to find the relevance. A constructor will be interested in the content of the Bible and they care about the facts a lot. An excavator cares about the principle of the Bible and they want to know how to apply the principles. An activist cares about the result and they will ask questions such as how the Bible changes my life.
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Besides, different people have different learning modalities. Learning modalities is the students’ preferences for the sensory input. There are three different learning modalities such as visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners. Visual learners prefer seeing image while auditory learners prefer hearing the lectures. And kinesthetic learners prefer moving their bodies during their learning such as note taking. Some students are may prefer more than one type of learning modalities. For example, they would prefer both visual and audio learning. As a teacher, it is his/her responsibility to figure out the student’s learning modalities and styles so that the teacher can make a good connection with the learners.
The ideal environmental setting
For the discipleship, it is a lifelong journey of obedience to Christ that transforms a person’s value. Discipleship must be an ongoing activity and constantly guide people to know the Word of God and help them live it out in their lives. Therefore, an open bible study group is an ideal environmental setting. The group will meet once a week at church, and the small group leaders will lead the discussion and foster the spiritual growth of the members. Since it is an open bible study group, the material will be very basic, so teachers or students can invite and welcome the non-Christians to join the bible study group. As the size of the group grow, it will need to split the group since statistically small group stops growing when they reach twelve people. When the group needs to split, they can either meet on the same day at the same time or a different day depends on the members’ availability.
We should also have the closed bible study group for the advanced Christians. Through the closed bible study group, teachers can study the bible in depth with the students and talk more about the theology and challenge their thinking and values that would ultimate bring transformation in their lives. The group size of the closed bible study group should be less than six people, so that everyone has the opportunity to share their thoughts.
Also, teachers should recommend everyone in church to look for a mentor to have one-on-one discipleship. Oftentimes, people may have issues that they do not want to share in public or in the bible study group, and it is important to have someone to help them and guide them. Therefore, it is important for the church people to be mentored by a person or leader and they should also be a mentor for someone else.
Evaluation for teaching
For the evaluation, leaders should engage in reflection on ministry experiences and assess the effectiveness of people and the program. There are two main types of evaluation: Program and Leaders.
To evaluate the leaders, we can use some tools to find their strengths and weakness such as Strength Finder. We should also encourage self-discovery regarding giftedness since it is better than the pastor pointing it out to them. We should also do some survey for evaluating the teachers so that they can understand which area they should improve.
To evaluate the program, we can also do some survey to see how the church people react to the program and how much the program address their needs. Through the survey, we can also understand how we should improve the program so as to fit what people want and needs.
Moreover, we should also evaluate the students by observing their commitment to Christ and see whether they have applied what they have learnt. We can also ask them to self-evaluate their personal growth every six months.
Besides, curriculum is also an important part of evaluating the education ministry. Some curriculums are theology centered, while some of them are for the new believers. We need to ask questions like whether the curriculum matches the target group, whether the curriculum be able to achieve our goals, could the materials relate to the students naturally and so on. During the evaluation, leaders can analyze the strength and weakness of one particular curriculum and decide whether they need to use other materials or not.
We have discussed about the ultimate goal of Christian education, philosophy of Christian education, the qualification of teacher, the nature of learner, the ideal environmental setting and evaluation for teaching. All of these areas are essential to Christian education. In order to have an effective Bible teaching, teacher should teach people but not just the lessons, teach for life change, teach heart to heart, teach using relevant issues, teach in ways appropriate to your age group, teach only what the Bible teaches and teach from a humble heart. Teachers should dedicate themselves to study the Bible and understand it well and correctly before they teach the materials as Jesus warn about the judgment regarding the false teaching. In a healthy ministry, evaluation is crucial for the growth of the educational leaders. We should evaluate the
learner, the teacher, the curriculum and the program once a while.
- Pazmiño, Robert W. Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2008.
 Luk. 10:27
 Mat. 28:19
 Robert W. Pazmiño, Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2008), 58.
 Ibid., 58
 Ibid. , 58
 Ibid., 59
 Ibid., 63
 Jn. 14:26
 Phil.1: 6
 James 3:1
 Gen. 1:27
 Psalm 51:5
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