Monday, December 19, 2011
Evaluation of Missiolife: A New Intergenerational Educational Program for the Entire Church
Recently, Beacon Hill Publishers came out with a challenging, exciting new curriculum intending to lead churches in holistic spiritual formation. It is called Missiolife. The idea is to develop a spiritual formation program for the whole church that will launch them into ministry. The publicist for this company contacted me about being part of a group of people that review this curriculum, and post an evaluation of it. There is much to commend about this curriculum. It has a solid educational philosophy and some good goals. It is smart. It has some of the best minds in cutting-edge evangelicalism developing and endorsing this work. There promotional materials are impressive.
I also think the idea of developing a digital curriculum is wise. There is a lot that one can do with this methodology. You can have students watch videos before class, read PDFs that you send them via email, and much more. The development of digital curriculum allows the publisher to be flexible and adaptable, and it saves a lot of trees and shipping costs to get the curriculum from the teacher to the students.
The fatal flaw of Missiolife, at least as I read it, is does not come across as very user friendly for people sitting in the pews. All the good theology and good pedagogy is helpful, but if I cannot give this curriculum to a teacher and have them have a clear idea of how the curriculum would work within 10 minutes of receiving the curriculum, I will have a lot of angry, frustrated teachers on my hand as a pastor-leader. This curriculum, by that measure has the potential to have a lot of people get very frustrated with me very quickly, at all age levels.
Could it be that I am not understanding the presentation and packaging? Possibly. But if I have a hard time with sensing the plan and flow of the curriculum, my congregation will be completely lost in sampling it and trying to plug it into our educational ministries. I hope that Beacon Hill takes this concern to heart. They have done too much good thinking and good planning to let this new venture go down hill because they couldn't clearly communicate how this teaching plan would "work" in a way the average person in the pew would understand it.