Back in the second century, the North African theologian Tertullian said, “Christians are made, not born.” By that he meant that Christians are baptized into into Christ’s body and all their lives long grow into their baptism. No one is “born” into the church and all of us need to growing and learning continually. Christianity is not about believing a series of propositions or assenting to the Nicene Creed, it is a way of life, modeled on the life of Jesus who put God ahead of all other loyalties and allegiances, who cared for the poor and the sick and those whom society marginalized. We honor God when we care for friend and stranger and for the good earth where we live.
“Sunday School” and “Christian Education” are two names for settings which helped us to grow in faith. They are old fashioned terms now. The first suggests that we are only Christians on Sunday whereas Monday is where the rubber hits the road for people trying to follow Christ. The second reminds hearers of sitting in rows memorizing things. Recently people have been using the term “Christian Formation” which is meant to suggest that we are in training to be Christians or we are being shaped by God and God’s people so that we grow in faith.
God calls us to grow in faith from infancy to death, too, so we offer programs for children, youth and adults. Sometimes we learn about the bible and how to take it seriously but not literally and make it speak more vividly to our lives. Sometimes we learn about how the church has changed over time. Sometimes we talk about how God is working in our lives. Just as most people are life long learners, long after high school or college, so we are called to keep on learning and growing as people of faith.