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One hears a lot of talk about the "teaching church" these days. Although many people use the term, they do not always mean the same thing, since the term is somewhat ambiguous. Religious educators hear the term as a reference to the congregation's teaching ministry. "The Congregation as Educator" was the theme of the 1996 joint meeting of the Religious Education Association and Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education. There, the concept of the teaching church was associated with Christian education.
For others, however, the concept "teaching church" is associated with equipping men and women for ordination to the ministry of Word and sacrament. These individuals would be surprised to find that Christian education rather than theological education is the subject of Eugene Roehlkepartain's The Teaching Church. But even within the context of theological education the term has different meanings.
For some, the teaching church is a synonym for what seminaries once called field education, or supervised ministry. For others, it refers to a new paradigm for theological education in which the primary locus of equipping for ministry shifts from the seminary to the congregation.
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