Commentary

If a forum falls in a forest …

Bob Hulteen

I am on the Christian Education Committee at my congregation. This committee has responsibility for oversight of the Sunday school and Vacation Church School programs, regular dialogue luncheons (or breakfasts), Bible study groups, confirmation classes, and adult forums.

Increasingly, we are wondering if the formats we offer for adult education are the best way to provide Christian education for members of our congregation. While turnout for Sunday adult forums continues to be between 30 and 60 people, the demographics don’t give those of us on the committee a sense that we are meeting the needs of people in their 20s and 30s.

We wondering if Sunday adult forums are no longer the best way to provide Christian education for members of our congregation.

Clearly, many people are engaged with young children during that time. So, they might be helping with Sunday school or dropping off and picking up children while adult education is happening.

But that’s not the only issue, because many don’t have kids. And, the topics of the forum are seemingly the “kinds” of things that could potentially be interesting to these members; they demonstrate that interest by participating in public activities that relate to the presentation topics.

Wondering if the time of the forums was the problem, congregational groups have attempted Theology on Tap on a particular evening, and lunch discussion groups a couple times a month after worship. There are some affinity groups that meet around a specific interest; they come and go, which is likely appropriate.

So, help me (and each other) with forensic analysis on adult education. Drop me some thoughts, preferably with complete sentence structure, about what adult Christian education looks like in the second decade of the 21st century. You can email me at editor@metroluth eran.org or send a letter to 122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 206, Minneapolis, MN 55404.

In a couple of months, I will share some of the best practices in the Opinion pages of Metro Lutheran. Together we can experiment with revitalizing a style of education that just might not work in the current cultural context.

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