Petition 80471

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Christian Education (80471-MH-R9999)

Add a new resolution as follows:
Whereas, every elder, at ordination covenants to “preach the word of God, lead in worship, read and teach the Scriptures and engage the people in study and witness and to ensure faithful transmission of the Christian faith” (2004 Discipline Par. 340.1); and every deacon at ordination covenants to “create opportunities for others to enter into discipleship” (2004 Discipline, Par. 329.1); and

Whereas, the early Methodist movement was guided by the educational genius of John Wesley, who crafted an ecology of faith formation and leadership development for making disciples; and
Whereas, question number fourteen of the Historic Examination for Admission into Full Connection is “Will you diligently instruct the children in every place?” (Par. 336), but yet, two-thirds of our baptized children leave the church because they are not rooted in the traditions of The United Methodist Church, as acknowledged by the Council of Bishops’ Episcopal Initiative on Children and Poverty; and

Whereas, the document Our Shared Dream: The Beloved Community emphasizes the bishops’ vision of building Beloved Community, including a deep commitment to children, and their seven “Vision Pathways” includes reaching and transforming “the lives of new generations of children” and “teaching the Wesleyan model of reaching and forming disciples of Jesus Christ,” and the “Provocative Propositions” of the general agencies and commissions includes preparing leadership for the church; and the bishops’ Call to Action lists four ways to move forward on the vision, including to “Reach and Care for the Children” and to “Live the United Methodist Way.”
Therefore, be it resolved that the 2008 General Conference affirm the imperative to engage in the work of Christian education and direct United Methodist seminaries and colleges, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the General Board of Discipleship, Course of Study, Christian Educators Fellowship, Annual Conferences and local churches to assess and expand how they advance the work of Christian education in the church. This includes promoting the professional and para-professional certification in Christian education, youth ministry, spiritual formation, camping and retreat ministry and older adult ministry, and, where appropriate, monitoring all approved seminary M.Div. programs to ensure that future leaders are being trained in the ministries of Christian education.