It’s official . . . summer has finally started. The graduations are all finished, the temperature is well into the nineties, and the cicadas are so noisy it is hard to even think.
Several years ago, at a youth ministry conference, I listened to a well known speaker spell out in perfect detail exactly what his youth (assuming they didn’t leave the church or move) would learn from the first day of kindergarten to the final day of graduation. At the time, I was pretty impressed with the spread sheet that was produced. And I thought to myself: Maybe I can create a similar spreadsheet with the youth I work with? The goal, at least for me, wasn’t to have the youth necessarily learn a right or wrong about religion, but rather expose them to a number of different theological explorations--from the earliest writings of the ancient church all the way to the book of Revelation.
So one summer, I tried to lay out an entire twelve years of Christian Education. I did make a spreadsheet and for a while I tried to coordinate all of the different pieces. It was difficult to put into action though and I wasn’t sure if such a rigid schedule of teaching allowed for the creativity and freedom that is needed in Christian Education.
But now, I realize that by thinking in terms of a twelve year spread sheet I missed a big component of what learning is. We never really graduate from our faith. Our faith and spirituality should continue to grow every day. What I believe now is not what I believed ten years ago and not what I will believe ten years from today. So this summer, as we already begin to think about fall planning, I think it’s helpful to think about the ways in which we are preparing our youth to continue learning for a lifetime, regardless of what they have just graduated from.
How about you? Anyone else try to diagram out what their youth should or should not learn?