Educating the Church

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1


The unit examines and defines what is meant by ‘Christian education’ and explores its goals and methods.  The development of learning ability in the child and adult is studied with a view to applying this knowledge in the church setting of discipleship, teaching and preaching.  A variety of ways of learning are explored and exemplified in the lecture setting and the different roles of the teacher, with particular reference to the church setting, are examined.  The unit seeks to integrate theological studies from biblical, doctrinal and from other practical subjects with the specific task of Christian education.


To expand the students’ understanding of Christian education and enable them to make a critically informed contribution to its planning and practice.


Category of outcome

By the end of this unit students should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

·         Explain the importance of Christian education and indicate its significant dimensions

Intellectual skills

·         Critically evaluate the secular approaches to adult learning and current literature on how people learn and teach

·         Distinguish between the educational needs of children and adults, and evaluate literature on faith development

·         Integrate theological concepts from other disciplines with the task of education and discipleship in the church

Practical and Transferable skills; Personal qualities

·         Prepare a series of lessons for different age groups in a Christian context


Assessment task


Weighting within unit


·         A case study used as the basis for drafting a series of lessons






·         An essay

·         A project (series of lessons)*


2500 words

1500 words




* Students are required to pass this element at 40% or above. So long as this element has been passed at 40% or above, they will be eligible for compensation if the overall unit mark is within the compensation zone (30-39%), and the compensatable credit allowance as set out in the Degree Regulations has not been exceeded.




Available on which programme(s)?

BA in Theology


·      Dimensions of Christian education

·      Liturgy and learning

·      Education, catechesis and discipleship

·      Adult learning (secular approaches)

·      Learning styles: preaching and teaching

·      Learners – faith development and human growth

·      All age services

·      Learning outcomes

·      Transformative learning

Teaching method

Interactive lectures and group work

Additional eLearning content

Unit materials are available at Spurgeon’s Online to support student learning


Written feedback within 15 working days from submission

Date of approval (for office use)


Information updated on

4 September 2013


Indicative reading

Astley, Jeff, and David Day (eds), The Contours of Christian Education (Great Wakering: McCrimmons, 1992)

Astley, Jeff, and Leslie J. Francis, Critical Perspectives on Christian Education (Leominster: Gracewing/Fowler Wright, 1994)

Astley, Jeff, et al, Theological Perspectives on Christian Formation (Leominster/Grand Rapids: Gracewing/Eerdmans, 1996)

Cray, J., Seen and Heard: Valuing Children in your Church (Crowborough: Monarch, 1995)

Donaldson, M., Children’s Minds (Glasgow: Fontana/Collins, 1978)

Fairhurst, A.L. and L.L., Effective Teaching, Effective Learning (Palo Alto CA: Davies-Black, 1995)

Hill, B.V., The Greening of Christian Education (Homebush West, NSW: Lancer, 1985)

Hill, B.V., That They May Learn (Exeter: Paternoster, 1990)

Hull, J.M., What Prevents Christian Adults from Learning? (London: SCM, 1985)

Jarvis, P., et al, The Theory and Practice of Learning 2nd edn (London: Kogan Page, 2003)

Palmer, P.J., To Know as We Are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey (San Francisco: Harper, 1983, 1993)

Shortt, J., and Trevor Cooling, Agenda for Educational Change (Leicester: Apollos, 1997)

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Educating the Church

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 385





Hours of Learning:



Rev Dotha N. Blackwood

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