August is “Back to School” month in Huntington. It is a time when we remember just how important education is for our children – and not just for our children, but also for our own lives and trades. Consider, for example, the medical field. With the advances in technology, knowledge, techniques and procedures change. Years ago, when my mother had carpal tunnel surgery, they made an incision that took weeks to heal, and her ability to use her hand was restricted. Now (years later), they are able to do endoscopic surgery, which is less invasive and takes less time to heal. But in order to do this new type of procedure (and others), doctors must first learn it: even though they have completed medical school, they must perform what is known as continuing education – continued learning and training following the conclusion of their formal training.
Continuing education is a good thing: it ensures that professionals continue to remain informed about advances within their field. Continuing education keeps them thinking. And we desire this; we want our doctors to be educated (and to remain educated). Likewise, for lawyers; we want them up-to-date on the latest rulings and the implications of them for us. Even in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, continued education is promoted and stressed for pastors and church-workers: with culture ever changing, we want our pastors to be at the frontlines of that change, meeting and applying the Gospel to our lives in the most effective ways.
But continuing education within the church is not just for church-workers. It’s something that is for you, too! Your formal Christian education took place in a Lutheran School, or in Confirmation class, or in your home devotions led by your father and mother. But when you graduated, were confirmed, or moved out of the house, those times of formal education in the Christian faith came to an end.
With that conclusion, however, do not become complacent in the Christian faith which has been given to you, even as Paul writes, “I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready for it…” (1 Corinthians 3:2). Paul chastised the Corinthian church for not exercising and growing in the faith. Your days of formal training (for most of you) is complete, but continue on in your Christian education, taking the initiative and responsibility for that education yourself. Make use of Bible studies and Sunday School; attend services in the Lord’s house – not only on Sundays, but also on special occasions such as Advent/Lenten midweek services, Ascension Day services, District/Circuit convocations and conferences. Use the devotional materials that are made available through the church. All these are opportunities to grow stronger in Christ Jesus.
I say none of this to shame you or to give you a guilt trip if you do not make use of these opportunities for continuing your Christian education. I say this because Satan is not getting any weaker. He continues to ply his trade and find new ways of attack so that Christians may be deceived and lost (1 Peter 5:8). He is shrewd and dangerous. Please, take advantage of the training available to you so that you may be well-prepared for the attacks of the devil (Ephesians 6).
Note: Sunday School and Adult Bible classes meet in the school building Sunday mornings at 9 am. Our first day of the Fall quarter will be August 12. Come and grow in Jesus with us!