Opening Doors To Discipleship is a series of four courses in the Presbyterian/Reformed tradition to help teachers and leaders equip themselves to be faithful teachers and leaders. Once you register with the web site, you will have access to all four courses.

I spent my morning watching a live stream of the NEXT Church Gathering. I could not attend this event, but was extremely interested in it. The preacher, Joy Strom, referred to the three spaces in one’s life: home, work, and the third being a place where you identify with and have a relationship with the people—a place where they know you by name. For many, this third space has been the church. Even with culture changes, the church continues to matter. The church does not have all the changes figured out, but we must continue on our faith walk, trusting that God knows about the future and what it will hold. It has made me realize the importance of supporting the leaders for Christian Education who are carrying this torch in congregations.

I work with several groups of educators from different denominations and leaders from congregations who are doing amazing work in the area of Christian Education. It is more important than ever to bring these key leaders together to share ideas and brainstorm possibilities so that we all stay on the cutting edge of faith formation in this century. These support networks are critical in our work, not only to share ideas but to be in relationship with others who are involved in similar ministries.

There are many wonderful websites that allow sharing of resources and ideas such as parc-pcusa.com, which will soon be linked into the APCE site as well. Another excellent website is hope4ce.net. But I always come back to the courses in Opening Doors to Discipleship as a great jumping off point for discussion. I have used many of the ideas from course A in teacher training workshops. Courses B and C make for wonderful standalone studies, especially in the summer months ahead when groups might still want to meet and have discussion, but attendance will be sporadic. Course D is a must for any Christian Education committee. As committee members work through the course, it will help them to get a real focus on the ministry of faith formation and its importance. I have pulled out many of the prayers and stories to use in opening worship and discussions. Many educators seeking certification in their denominations are working through the site as well.

Even with all of the new ideas being shared through a variety of websites, I still go back to Opening Doors to Discipleship as the foundation for much of what I do. I hope you have found it meaningful also, and will spread the news so that more people will learn about this excellent resource. New features such as the addition of ways to be more inclusive of people who have special needs and the soon-to-come Spanish and Korean translations make Opening Doors to Discipleship accessible to many more of our church leaders.

Contact a Presbyterian Reformed Educational Partner (PREP) representative, listed under CONTACT US, for more information about this topic or other articles in the e-newsletter archives.

Article by Beth Hayes, Director of Congregational Ministries and Resources, Moravian Church Board of Cooperative Ministries in Winston Salem, NC.

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