The Christian-Education Rut

The difference between a grave and a rut is that a rut still provides an option. Although Christian education in the local church may be in a rut, it is neither dead nor hopeless. The tragedy is to be in a rut and not know it or to recognize the rut and make no effort to escape it.

Many ruts in the traditional programs of Christian education develop through neglect of the principles of learning that the word “education” implies. An effective curriculum measures up to the standards of continuity, sequence, and integration.

Continuity means that a common thread of meaning can be detected in learning experiences at all levels. The Word of God, for example, is an excellent learning text because it has the continuity of the redemptive theme running like a thread through every book.

Sequence is the principle of learning that implies step-by-step progress. Motivation for growth requires a current task that a student can master as well as another step just beyond his reach. The student who said that his freshman course in Bible was taught like a Sunday-school class was complaining about the lack of sequence in his Christian education.

Integration is an equally important educational principle that speaks of the wholeness of knowledge as seen in the connections between learning and life. A specialist in the segments of knowledge is a sad figure in a world where the dominoes stand or fall together. Integration is protection against ruts in Christian education because it permits no segregation of knowledge from experience, hearing from doing, or believing from witnessing.

Ruts in the Christian-education programs of local churches are best reflected in the opinions of young people who are trying to escape these ...

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