"What would Clement do?" : recovering the catechumenate for faith formation today
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This project seeks to answer the question, “What would Clement do?” concerning faith formation in churches today. Its aim is to help the spiritually curious, newcomers, and regular church attenders develop a more informed understanding of the Christian faith, particularly through the lens of the Reformed Church in America (RCA). My research for this paper began at Marble Collegiate Church (RCA) in Manhattan—a large, urban church context. In the summer of 2011, I began my ministry as a solo pastor at The Community Reformed Church (CRC) at Manhasset, NY, a small, suburban congregation just outside of New York City. The Explorer’s Handbook and formative process that comprise my doctoral work both emerge from and serve both types of settings. Its appeal is wide; its scope is broad.
Chapter One explicates Clement of Alexandria’s historical context, theological contributions, and pedagogical approach. In this chapter, I also assess the relevance of the Church Father’s work for faith formation today. Chapter Two addresses the relationship between the proposed four-week Explorer’s Handbook and sessions and the more comprehensive vision of catechesis in the early church. In addition, both the handbook’s content and formative process of the sessions are considered in this chapter. In Chapter Three, I evaluate the handbook’s effectiveness and impart feedback from two churches that piloted the sessions and used the materials. The Conclusion includes my final thoughts on the importance of faith formation as well as suggestions for revisions and refinements to my work. Appendix A contains the actual Explorer’s Handbook—tailored for Reformed churches—which addresses perennial questions such as: Who Am I?, Why Are We Here?, Where Do We Come From?, and What Do We Believe? Appendix B contains the Leader’s Guides for all four Explorer’s sessions. Appendix C is the participant evaluation form. Appendix D is Clement’s beautiful “Hymn to Christ.” Appendix E is a section that helps define catechesis and related terms.
This paper is presented in partial fulfillment of the Doctor of Ministry degree, granted by Western Theological Seminary, to the glory of God and for the edification of the church.