Lately I've been very frustrated about the low level of teaching in our churches, both from the pulpit and in our adult Sunday School classes (as well as in children's and youth classes too). It usually doesn't get any better in our small groups and Bible studies either. I've written a tad about this before but want to enter this discussion again. Many churches are doing something I think is very interesting and I hope they are pulling it off well. Instead of the usual segregation of ages and marital statuses (singles vs. marrieds--or should I say singles against marrieds), these churches are starting intergenerational adult classes by level. Many churches label them like college classes--Christianity 101, 102, 103 and so forth, Then the next level would be Christianity 201, 202, 203. I feel strongly that churches need to think along these lines because new Christians are often in classes over their heads and older Christians (meaning having been a Christian for decades, not necessarily older in age) are bored to tears. So, I suggest four levels organized according to how the church wishes.
Level A--A class for non-Christians (often called seekers). I think something along the lines of the Alpha Course could be used. However, I've never really understood why Alpha has the 10 lessons they have as lessons 4-10 are not really for unbelievers. So, using lessons 1-3 and perhaps expanding them into several weeks after the first three lessons, have question and answer sessions for a semester. We also need to allow the Holy Spirit enough "wiggle room" to convict unbelievers.
Level 1--A class for new believers and others who feel they need a foundational understanding of the faith. This class would last at least a semester and probably a year. These classes would be on the 100 level (i.e. 101, 102, etc.) but you wouldn't need to label them like this if you feel other labels like descriptive names would be better.
Level 2--Level 2 (201,202, etc.) classes for those who are ready to go from level 1. Level two people would probably be on this level for many years thus taking many level 2 classes.
Level 3--the next level up
Level 4--The top level for those who had been "studying" Christians for decades. Some of these classes might be on the seminary level, like beginning Greek/Hebrew, etc.
The only trouble I have with this set-up is the lack of relationships with people in the various levels. But if you put my passion for geographical home groups into practice you would achieve that diversity. Then, adding to those two groups you could still have the married, single and/or interest groups and then I think you would have an excellent wel-rounded discipleship program for your church.
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