Monday, March 4, 2013

1st Graduating Class of Macedonia MBC CLS Discipleship Program

God is Great and Greatly to be Praised! On Sunday morning our Christian Education Department under the leadership of our Director Deacon Chris Dudley held its first commencement exercises, graduating  class #7024, Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts.

This class was offered in conjunction with the National Baptist Convention USA, INC through our state convention, The Original General Missionary Baptist State Convention of Indiana INC. and our district association, The Northern Indiana Missionary Baptist Educational District Association.

We thank our regional coordinator, Dr. L.D. Tate, our Convention President, Dr. Isaac Culver, Jr,our District Moderator, Dr. Marion J. Johnson Jr., our Church dean and my mentoring dean, Sister Lawana F. Griffin, and our instructor Sister Maureen Johnson for all of their help in pulling off this Christian Leadership School. Doing a School in a Church as opposed to doing a school in a District, State or national convention has its challenges.

Our church has been growing in membership by leaps and bounds but the numbers that were present during Sunday Morning Worship didn't translate during Sunday School. We graduated full new members classes out but they never seemed to find their way into a Sunday School class. We tried  re-vitalization and reorientation plans where we brought all of our new members back in for 12 week refresher courses. They all came back; however, when it was time to leave and go back into Sunday School, they did not go.

After inquiry, we discovered our Sunday School was a monologue based, Scripture and verse, uniform lesson study type of class. Our New Members class was a dialogue based, topic oriented, Scripture Supported type of class. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel by reforming Sunday School, or instead of risking Pastoral self-inflicted suicide by moving church members from classes who have been teaching longer than I have been pastor, we met with the Christian Education committee and formed The Macedonia MBC Christian Leadership School in Discipleship.

We have five (5) sessions of ten (10) week classes in #7024 Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts, #6021 Spiritual Formation, #1004 Effective Bible Reading, #2011 Baptist Doctrine and #7005 Christian Evangelism. All of these classes with approved books come from the Christian Leadership School Manual of our Division of Christian education Sunday School Publishing Board of our National Baptist Convention USA, INC.

These classes were  held during the Sunday School hour as opposed to another day during the week because our primary thrust at this time was trying to re energize our own membership to love and appreciate Christian Education. If successful, we pray we will offer this during the week for outside churches and people in the South Bend/Elkhart area.
I am proud to say we graduated a class of 46 adults, 43 who received a course accreditation card towards completing a Certificate of Progress Program which is equivalent to an degree in Christian Education and three (3) who received a Certificate of Completion and participation.

I am also proud to report while some members did leave their traditional Sunday School classes to attend this class, the majority of the people who attended this class were either brand new Sunday School members or members who returned to Sunday School who had not been previously attending.

Also, I want to encourage fellow churches and Pastors that don't have million dollar budgets. Many of us cannot send our delegates to every National Convention and meeting. We would like to----but we simply don't have the resources to do it. By having a church school, you can bring the convention---whether District, State or National to your church. They learn what our convention is, what it does, what it stands for and more importantly, they learn the Word of God in an controlled environment, free from all of the distractions of attending sessions in the big cities.

Again, I am so proud of the Macedonia Church family for working together and following the Pastor's vision. as great as this first class was, I still believe THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!