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The Church And Your Role Religion Essay

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This essay will reflect on what arises from a Christian educational background with view to future Christian teaching praxis. It will focus on my appreciation of the topic at this point of time, canvass my views on the educational ministry of the church, and scrutinize my perceived role as a teacher within that framework.

The educational ministry of the church can be defined as the manifestation of the combined facilitation of individual and communal development based on Christian life, and found to be expressed within a Christian faith tradition. It is a ministry based on Christ's vision for humanity and the kingdom of God, and exhibits itself in genuine human development.

It draws from its overall faith story and belief system with outcomes seen in whole people, relationships, communities, processes and structures. It is within this context that teachers in church schools and institutions are called to ministry. [1] Thomas Groome states. "I propose that the biblical symbol that best expresses the overarching telos of being Christian and thus evokes the metapurpose of Christian religious education is the 'reign of God'." [2] 

The role of the teacher in educational ministry is to further the nature of Christian education through informing, forming and transforming. Possibilities for the role of a teacher in educational ministry fall into six main categories. [3] 

These categories are as a bearer of the vision, as a story teller, as one who equips and empowers, as a gentle and persistent evoker, as a prophet and irritant provoker, and finally as a spiritual guide and companion. [4] 

In response to the bearer of the vision this role reminds and sustains the community through our lives of Christian action. The story teller relates to the power and purpose of Jesus' parable teaching style. One who equips and empowers go 'hand in hand' as they are closely related. The gently persistent evoker calls forth, as seen in the life of Tom Groome. [5] 

Moreover, the prophet and irritant provoker is often the content not the person with the parables designed to perpetrate this end. The spiritual guide and companion embody spiritual formation, mentoring, the selfhood of the teacher and an investment in the self. Accordingly, as stated by Dr. Deidre Palmer, 'the self speaks' [6] for we teach what we are.

Overall the role of the teacher in educational ministry is to express a dedication to ministry within the church. This is actioned through teaching the Word in scripture and tradition, and by witnessing as part of a community of faith, hope and love. Furthermore, it is achieved by worshipping through prayer and liturgy as much as by caring for human welfare. [7] 

What is your vision for Christian education in and through the life of the church?

My vision for Christian education in and through the life of the church is defined by its attention to the life giving presence of God. This entails the fostering of a belief in God's love and revelation. Christian education will endeavour to nurture vibrant, passionate, dynamic communities which embrace the on-going active presence of God in our world. [8] 

Christian education of the future will be characterized as being a ministry within the church. This necessitates schools and institutions being central to the missionary vision of the church. They will be in constant interaction with the local faith community and other educational bodies and services, as well as the local and universal church.

The forthcoming Christian school and institution will be defined as a place of learning. Education will be shaped and nurtured by Christian philosophy, will possess a clear enlightening vision and be manifested in valued, goals and outcomes that are aligned.

Christian education in and through the life of the church will be defined as a community of care, and place where individuals belong, are welcomed and nurtured. While reflecting respect and dignity for each person, the school will provide an inclusive and supportive environment in which each person can develop knowledge skills, attitudes and values.

It may be characterized by an inclusive and outreaching culture. The Christian school and institution will embrace the inclusive model of learning by being an open, relation-centred community which respects all. It will be an environment where quality teaching and learning occurs, being shaped and directed by a philosophy based on Christian living.

Overall, Christian education will be defined by its practice of continuous improvement through renewal. Learning institutions will renew themselves through action and reflection with informed educational priorities and processes. It will be a place of edification and erudition for the community's young and a source for enrichment and development for society's seniors. [9] 

What are the strengths that you expect to bring to the role of teacher, and what are the areas that you most need to work on in developing your role as teacher in educational ministry?

The relevant strengths that need to be brought to the role of teacher are a demonstrated commitment to a 'Place of Learning' through educating the whole person, recognising developmental stages and individual differences, providing a relevant curriculum within a Christian context, nurturing life-long learning, fostering links to the broader community and reinforcing positive partnerships.

The areas that need to be worked on in developing the role of the teacher in educational ministry are advanced by the undertaking of relevant professional development. This may be realized through supporting growth in the sacramental consciousness of the whole educational community and the promotion of academic excellence.

In conclusion, the intention of this essay has been to reflect on what arises from ones Christian education background with view to the praxis of Christian teaching in the future. [10] Subsequently, it can be seen that Christian education commences with the individual's relationship with God and the manifestation of Jesus through the person to the community as a whole. Importantly, faith must be lived in order to throw light into the souls of those darkened by secular insecurities.

Moreover, that the educational ministry of the church is the demonstration of the joint efforts of individual and communal growth based on Christian life, and articulated within a Christian faith practice. The role of the teacher in educational ministry is to foster the character of Christian education through informing, forming and transforming.

As Jack Seymour notes in 'Mapping Christian Education,' "Christian education is a conversation for living, a seeking to use the resources of the faith and cultural traditions to move into an open future of justice and hope." [11] 


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