God-Centered Adult Education -- By: Joel R. Beeke

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 01:1 (Jan 2009)
Article: God-Centered Adult Education
Author: Joel R. Beeke

God-Centered Adult Education

Joel R. Beeke

This article is an expansion of an address given at Ligonier’s Pastors’ Conference in 2007, in which the author was asked to address God-centered adult education in the context of his own congregation.

“Nothing is more important for us to hear than the sermons of God-ordained servants,” my dad said to me when I was a child. “Through preaching, we hear what the Holy Spirit wants to teach us personally from God’s Book. But it is not enough. We need to buttress that preaching throughout the week with other learning situations.

“Look at it this way, son,” Dad went on. “You spend two hours a week hearing the Word of God proclaimed. There are 168 hours in the week. For most of the rest of those hours, the world is trying to teach you its philosophy, tempting you to engage in its carnal pleasures. You need more teaching than you get on Sunday. You need education in sacred things throughout the week. Read your Bible, read good Christian books, take advantage of what the church teaches you during the week, get involved in church ministries, and ask God to make you a teacher of others one day.”

My dad put that advice into practice. He helped me build a library and shared my excitement in collecting books. He often asked me what I was reading. He encouraged me as I got involved in the church’s educational ministries. For more than thirty years now, I have had the privilege of preaching and teaching in the church, and I am as excited about it as when I began. I also see its growing importance.

I try to instill the same excitement in my children about learning at church, school, and home. I will be encouraging them to get involved in the church’s adult education program as they get older.

Let us take a look at the importance of adult education, first by looking at the growing need for it. Then we will look at its purposes,

basic components, and primary means. We will examine a model of an adult education program and its various parts. We will look at some areas that need further work and answer some objections people have about becoming involved in adult education. We will conclude with some practical results of such programs.

The Growing Need

In the last four decades, hundreds of books have been written about adult education in the church.1 There is no end to the advice given to us today on how adults learn and how to set up education programs for them in the church.

Much of this advice is helpful, but unfortunately relatively few of thes...

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