Nurturing for Commitment

December 7th, 2012

You may want to read the first article in this series Teaching for Commitment


Worship is a setting for both nurture and commitment. Worship is one of the primary ways we remember and express our Christian faith. We gather as a community of faith around baptism, the Communion table, the Holy Bible, the cross, and the altar to confess and praise. Together, as a community of faith, we remember the biblical story. We make commitments to God as the biblical stories are imprinted on our lives. Then we depart to live and share the faith story entrusted to us.


While weekly corporate worship is a continuing reenactment of the biblical story, Christian education helps us know this story and make it our own. Studying the Bible involves three related but different approaches. In one approach we study for information. We seek knowledge of what is in the Bible and an understanding of its message. In a sense the biblical story is imprinted in our lives. In a second approach we study primarily for formation. In this approach we study thoughtfully, seeking to let the Word shape or form our lives. We respond to God to be shaped and formed into the image of Christ. In the third approach we are open to transformation. There are times when the Scriptures or one's own life calls for a radical change-a "turning around."

Explore the use of all three approaches to Bible study in any one class session. How you go about this will depend on the unit of study, the age level, and the needs of your specific group. Studying for information is easier to recognize, since it includes being able to repeat and use facts and ideas. Studying for formation and transformation is more related to personal meanings and applications to one's spiritual growth. To help your class or small group do this, plan activities such as writing, creating, sharing in small groups, praying, or singing. You can also encourage group members to read their Bibles at home and to ask God to help them live by its messages.


While instruction in the Christian faith is essential, relationships are just as important. Christian teachings have meaning when we hear them in a faith community where the love of God is evident in the lives of people. Religion is caught as much as it is taught. Persons are nurtured toward commitment as they hear faith experiences of others and share their experiences.

As a teacher, you can help your group members be nourished by warm, caring relationships in your group. You can also encourage group members to participate in areas of congregational life other than classes and small groups. We all need opportunities to relate to persons of various age levels. Such opportunities might include fellowship dinners, service projects, recreation, worship, workshops and programs, mission studies, and retreats.

Spritiual Guidance

Spiritual guidance provides insight and support for making and living faith commitments. We all need spiritual guidance to help us clarify and interpret where we are in our Christian faith. We also need suggestions for new possibilities of growth. And we need challenge and support to help us make changes in our lives so we grow more Christlike.

Opportunities for transformation abound! As a teacher, you are called to help provide spiritual guidance for the persons in your group. Much guidance can be given as you teach the group. But there will be times when you work with individuals. For example, you may sense that one person is ready to make his or her first public commitment to Christ. Another person may be ready to move to a higher level of commitment and need someone to listen, support, and guide. You can often be that person. There may be times when you will want to refer a person to your pastor or someone who has experience in giving spiritual direction. Or you may suggest a book the person might read.

The next article Commitment: You and Others provides some suggestions to help you feel more comfortable when you face opportunities to provide spiritual guidance.

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