In the last quarter of 2014, Terri and I founded a new relationally-based church of Christ followers in Kansas City. We call it New Hope Community. We have intentionally left off the word "church" from the name, because we think it is redundant. In our culture, "community" effectively captures the essence of the Greek word for church, ekklesia, in our view. We have been seeking some fresh ways of being and becoming an expression of the Body of Christ...though we are reaching back to incorporate proven ancient New Testament practices in our journey. In this series of periodic blogs, I will outline our basic values and approach to being and doing church.
There are 3 general forms of learning: informal, non-formal and formal. Through our 40+ years of church leadership, Terri and I have concluded that there has been an over-use of formal learning environments in our church cultures and that this approach to learning has "worn thin" for many dedicated and sincere Christ-followers in our day. As a result, we have chosen to rely primarily on creating and inspiring informal and non-formal environments in the spiritual formation process for those who choose to be associated with our fellowship.
Informal learning happens when people connect and get together for various reasons without an agenda to either "teach" or "learn from" each other. However, in the process of being with one another and engaging in "whatever" activity, we do learn many important things on both subconscious and conscious levels. Sometimes these, "learning as we live" encounters are the most memorable, joy-filled and transformative experiences of our lives!
Non-formal learning happens when people get together for the stated purpose of learning something, but the method and dynamic is interactive in nature. There is often guidance and facilitation by a leader, but the participants get the opportunity in "real time" to ask questions, feed back, discuss, share insights, etc. Participation and engagement are essential in non-formal learning.
Formal learning happens when people gather and an someone holds the floor and delivers a talk, lecture or sermon of some kind while everyone gathered listens to her/him. There is a place in our lives for this kind of experience, but we have found that many disciples of Jesus genuinely need to experience less of this format for learning and more of the first two formats to remain engaged and inspired to grow in Jesus Christ.
A VOICE OF HOPE
Michael Sullivant's Blog
I am a child of God, husband, father, grandfather, spiritual father, author, speaker and hope coach.