As the apostles proceeded to carry out the Great Commission (Matt 28:18–20), they utilized a two-fold approach of meeting in the temple courts for large-group meetings and in the homes for more intimate small-group encounters. Very quickly, the house church became the definitive expression of church in the early Christian movement. In the wake of the Apostle Paul’s missionary journeys, numerous churches sprang up and virtually all of the New Testament churches mentioned in the letters of Paul were in private homes. The house church remained the most significant context for early church worship, fellowship, and Christian education up to the early part of the fourth century, when Constantine legitimized Christianity. At that point in history, basilicas replaced the house church along with the small-group style of worship, ministry, and teaching. This article will explore the early house church as a model of small-group meetings and how these gatherings served as the context for the ongoing life of the early church.
KeyWords: house church, small group, cell group
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This mini-theme of CEJ focuses on field education in Christian education. As we begin a new century and a new millennium, field education becomes increasingly critical for a well-rounded education in professional ministry degrees in graduate and undergraduate schools. Clearly, churches and faith-based organizations want to hire people with at least some experience. And while field education, in the form of internships, practica, and student ministry, provides only limited experience, it is nonetheless some. George Hillman, in a very recent publication on internships titled Ministry Greenhouse: Cultivating Environments for Practical Learning (2008), offers three compelling reasons for field education (pp. 1–10). First, field education balances theological education. The Bible college and seminary must do both the practical application and theological preparation for ministry. In reality, however, the school cannot do it all. Thus, field education serves as a necessary
link between theory and practice (p. 4). Second, field education is a necessary component of leadership development. The academics of a sound theological education provide the groundwork for a biblical worldview and offer the basics of ministry leadership, “but the theoretical needs to be integrated with the practical in the leadership laboratory in the field” (p. 6). Third, ministry development needs a greenhouse. Just as greenhouses guard plants from the environmental hazards such as temperature extremities and pests, when done correctly field education experiences can provide an environment where the transformational process can begin for future ministers and other Christian leaders (pp. 8–9).
Field education, as a key link between Christian education institutions and practical ministry experience, has expanded in recent decades. This article introduces the reader to the foundational issues of field education including definition of terms, the nature of experiential education, the history of field education, and significant issues for field education related to educational ministry programs.
In anticipation of this special 25th anniversary issue of the Christian Education Journal, I invited about two dozen veteran professors to share their reflections of trends and changes in the field of Christian education over the last 25 years. About half were able to do so. These are collected here and shared with you to encourage your own reflection on the past and discernment for the future.
The research studies the factors motivating adults to participate in church-based education opportunities of Christian and Missionary Alliance churches in the South Pacific District of United States. Reasons related to Personal Spiritual Growth were clearly the most influential in motivating participation. Obedience to God, Ministry Preparation, and Cognitive Interest provided moderate influence, while reasons related to Community Service and Social Contact were minimal in influencing participation.
This is an integrative article which examines Skinner's theory of operant conditioning. First, it summarizes Skinner's ideas of operant conditioning. Second, it articulates a biblical and theological response. Third, it compares and contrasts Skinner and Scripture, and finally it proposes some implications for Christian education. The conclusion of the author is that while Christina must reject Skinner's philosophical presuppositions, there is much to be learned from his technology.
This research studied the reasons adults give for not participating in church-based education opportunities of Christian and Missionary Alliance churches in the South Pacific District of the United States. 232 adults completed a 41-item adoption of the Deterrents to Participation Scale. A factor analysis of the responses identified seven subscales: Time Constraints, Schedule Conflicts, Lack of Relevance, Family Constraints, Low Personal Priority, Personal Problems, and Lack of Confidence. Socio-demographic variables gender, marital status, life-cycle stages, and size of church were studied as well. All of the variables demonstrated at least minimal relationship to the identified factors.
This research takes a look at the job satisfaction of youth pastors in the Christian and Missionary Alliance. The study examines the relationship between levels of job satisfaction and career development cycles as determined by life cycle stages, job tenure, and total years in the ministry.
In the last two or three decades mission has been significantly affected and influenced by theological education by extension. Proponents of this philosophy and development insist that it is capable of providing an education comparable to resident programs. While its effect or impact has been felt primarily in third world countries, the implications for Christian education in North America are numerous and must be considered.
Can the Christian educator draw from the progressivism of John Dewey to aid him in developing the minds and intellects of his students? This article focuses specifically on Dewey's process of reflective or critical thinking. It is concluded that indeed the Christian can use the critical thinking process of Dewey if he is careful to divorce the methodology from the epistemology. Special attention is given to relativism and doubt, two matters of Dewey's process which raise concern for the conservative Christian.