Philosophy of Church Education
Before Christ ascended, He gave his disciples a mission to make disciples of all nations. But in order for someone to be a true disciple of Christ, they must understand what Christ taught and how to live accordingly. Christ said that new disciples must be taught (instructed or educated) in order to observe all the things He commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
This emphasis on the instruction or education of disciples is found elsewhere in the NT. Paul tells Timothy to take the same spiritual truths that Paul taught him and teach them to other disciples, who will in turn be able to teach them to even more disciples (II Timothy 2:2). The last thing Peter wrote in his epistles was to command his readers to grow in grace and in knowledge (II Peter 3:18). All Christians must take it upon themselves to learn as much as they can about God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Word.
Most churches provide this instruction during the Sunday School hour (or they may refer to it as the Bible Training hour). The primary focus of this time is Christian education. Church leaders would do well to plan a specific curriculum for all ages. This educational planning ought to consider both what each age group needs at the moment, as well as an overall "scope and sequence." True Biblical instruction is intentional and substantive. The more prepared a teacher is, the better the education will be (II Timothy 2:15).
There needs to be a "scope and sequence" because it is the church's responsibility to teach the "whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). There also needs to be consideration for what the congregation needs at the moment -- whether it would be instruction on some cultural issue, church decision, or perhaps even a church conflict (similar to Paul's instruction on various issues with the Corinthian church). Such issues are not always pleasant to deal with, and some Christians may not want the pastor or Sunday School teacher to discuss anything controversial, but church leaders and teachers have a responsibility before God to teach all disciples to observe all things that Christ commanded -- whether it is pleasant or unpleasant.
Finally, church education should not to be "limited" to a certain setting. Yes, Sunday School is designed specifically for Christian education, but Biblical instruction can take place in one-on-one conversations as well. Church leaders or other mature Christians will often incorporate such "instruction" in their conversations. And pastors should certainly include Biblical education in their sermons -- even though the primary function of the morning and evening services is worship.
Every disciple should have a desire to obtain more Biblical knowledge -- even if some Biblical truth overturns what they were previously taught. No disciple should ever use what they believe in order to "shape" what the Bible says. Rather, a true disciple will use what the Bible says to "shape" what they believe and how they live their lives. Daily application of Biblical truths is the ultimate goal of Christian education.