Across the Veta website you will see repeated, the phrase ‘Authentic Christian Learning’ – a phrase that comes directly from our mission statement, which is ‘Authentic Christian Learning for young people everywhere‘.
But what do we mean when we say that?
Many years ago, when we started Veta, we conceived of ourselves as a youth discipleship movement. This was fine for our largely church-based setting as we shared a common and quite rich understanding of what this meant.
Over time however, and as we have entered more into educational settings, we have discovered that the word ‘discipleship’ is not always helpful.
This is for two reasons:
- Different people bring different meanings and emphases to the word discipleship – some of which are directly opposed to what we intend and have strongly negative connotations. This includes ideas of ‘indoctrination’, emotion-driven teaching, or old-school, authoritarian teaching styles. This can create unnecessary barriers in people’s minds to what we are offering
- Some educationalists (and others) do not recognise the nurture or formation of young people within a religious tradition as an appropriate form of education, full-stop. In some cases, the use of the word ‘discipleship’ can prevent a conversation from even starting.
And so we coined the phrase ‘Authentic Christian Learning’ to explain more clearly what we do, and to keep open channels of communication with people who might otherwise be closed to any conversation with us.
So, what do we mean by ‘Authentic Christian Learning?’
Authentic Christian Learning is Christian education that is directed towards nurturing young people in the Christian life.
Word-by word we mean:
Authentic – i.e. it is open and explicit in its intention to nurture young people in the Christian life (not veiled in any other terms)
Christian – i.e. it is directed towards the clear end of young people living the Christian life (not subjugated to any other purpose)
Learning – i.e. it is purposeful and considered activity that leads to growth in experience and understanding of the Christian life (not incidental or ad-hoc)
In future posts I will unpack the idea of Authentic Chrisitan Learning further, including comparisons with other approaches that we might take – but, first of all, I’d love to know what you think?
How do you respond to this idea of ‘Authentic Christian Learning’?
What questions does ‘Authentic Christian Learning’ raise for you?