New from pastor and professor Carmichael Crutchfield, steeped in current scholarship and lifetime of experience in the African American church, this contribution to the study of Christian education expands our understanding of education to encompass the larger life and ministry of the church, from practices of testimony, worship, and preaching to more traditional classroom contexts of Sunday church school and midweek Bible study. Dr. Crutchfield further develops the concept of Christian education in light of spiritual formation, wherein our pedagogies are oriented toward forming the Christian disciple in the likeness and character of Jesus Christ. The book provides constructive definitions of Christian education and faith formation, as well as clarity about formation processes across all ages and seasons of life. The author gives particular attention to such formation as it occurs in the historic and contemporary African American church context, where those who do ministries of Christian education, faith formation, and discipleship often have a wide range of training and experiencefrom no formal theological education at all to specialized seminary degrees.
What a great day for the Black church, for the whole church! The Formation of a People fills a crucial void for Christian educators by telling the story of faith formation, past and present, from a uniquely African American church perspective. In this volume, Carmichael Crutchfield evidences his great gifts and deep insights as a respected elder in the church and an important voice in the academy. With an almost unrivaled breadth of understanding of the church and its educational ministry, Crutchfield offers this book, filled with critical and creative nuggets that remind us all of our holy calling to be transformed continually and to call others to transformation. This resource stands ready to help faithful church leaders form disciples who love neighbor, live compassion, and work with an uncompromising tenacity for justice. Rev. Dr. Denise Janssen, Associate Professor of Christian Education, Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University
Dr. Carmichael Crutchfield powerfully and eloquently articulates the indispensable quality of Christian Education as both the transfer of knowledge and the faith formation that leads to personal liberation and societal transformation. He reminds us of the rich legacy of African American Christian formation from the hush harbors through civil rights movements and encourages us to keep alive a tradition that has provided nurture, leadership, community, and purpose to an oppressed people. Academics, lay leaders, newcomers to the faith and mature Christians would benefit from reading his book. Barbara A. Fears, PhD, Assistant Professor of Religious Education, Howard University School of Divinity
Carmichael Crutchfield offers a comprehensive look at Christian education in the black Protestant church, both its past and its contemporary context. He tells the truth about its promise and its difficulties and proposes an approach that can revitalize formation of disciples of Jesus Christ. He knows the black church inside and out; he is the foremost authority on this topic. No one is more qualified to offer this proposal than Crutchfield. It will be important for seminary students and pastors, but it will also be accessible for volunteers who long to make their church more faithful and effective. Rev. Dr. Margaret Ann Crain, Professor Emerita, Garrett Theological Seminary
Retelling an important history, providing an expansive vision, and calling for faithfulness to discipleship and mission are the components of this important book. Drawing on his experience and expertise as pastor, educator, church leader, and teacher, Dr. Carmichael Crutchfield helps us see how the whole life and impact of the church teaches. He invites us to see worship, community building, testimony, Sunday school, Bible study, spiritual formation, social action, and outreach as interlocking elements equipping the people of God to become transforming agents of Christ in the world.Jack L Seymour, Professor Emeritus, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; Editor Emeritus, RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
Carmichael D. Crutchfield is an ordained Elder in full connection of the CME Church and Professor of Christian Education, Spiritual Formation and Youth Ministry at Memphis Theological Seminary.
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