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Education Summit, Week 1

I was excited by the participation in the first week of our Education Summit. The purpose of this blog is to summarize what went on at that meeting and give you a little insight into the rest of the process – – so that you will want to be involved!

We started with prayer and a brief history of education at Trinity – partially because we wanted to celebrate what God has done so faithfully over the years, and partially because what we’ve done is the foundation for any changes we might make now. I can’t reproduce all that we said in that history, but a couple of the slides will give you an idea of the content:

This is the bulletin for Trinity’s first official worship service. Note the primitive logo! But notice also that ‘Trinity News and Notes’ was present the very first week.

One of the first ministries we did at Trinity was Age Integrated Sunday School. If you look carefully at the handouts above, you’ll notice that the ‘Puritan’ age integrated Sunday School began the very first week that Trinity officially met. We’ve wanted to give families the opportunity to be learning together from the beginning.

Another early ministry at Trinity was Trekkers – Trinity Evangelical Kids Klub. This was our children’s club program, grown in-house, and served us well for many years.

The Awana Club program is a relative latecomer – it started in the fall of 1998. Lee Norbraten, who made such a critical contribution to Trinity’s education ministries, was not only the Commander of our Awana program but head of our C.E. Committee and one of our long time Sunday School teachers.

After not too many years of doing Age Integrated Sunday School full time we began to see the need for some age graded classes. Helped by many fine teachers (some of whom are shown above), we eventually settled into a pattern where we did Age Integrated Sunday School in the summer and Age Graded during the school years. This also allowed us to have some fine adult Sunday School classes through the years.

The Women’s Fellowship was one of the earliest formal ministries at Trinity, and has provided many wonderful events, Bible Studies and retreats for the ladies of the church. The Men’s ministry has always been a little less formal, but has had a number of retreats, Bible Studies and meals through the years.

L.I.F.E., our junior high and high school youth group, also got a relatively early start at Trinity and, led by several great couples and individuals, has been a strong source of teaching and fellowship for our young people.

A few relative new-comers to the ministry scene: the AfterL.I.F.E. group, which ministers to college students and young adults; they are shown at Bible Immersion Camp, an intense week-end of Bible Study which has been used with both High School and adult groups; finally, we’ve been experimenting for almost a year with Sunday morning Small Groups. The latest Small Group topic, the Focus on the Family Truth Project, has been especially well received.

With that background (and more), the first week of the Education Summit went on to think about why we need this process now. Then we reviewed the goals for the process. Those two key slides are shown above.

We talked for quite a while about ‘what’s on the table’: what are we examining and what might we change? The short answer is ‘everything’. Though we expect to strengthen and sustain many of our current ministries, we also need to be open, at least in the brainstorming part of this process, to many new ideas. One that has already been stated repeatedly is to implement a more relaxed, parallel structure for our Sunday mornings, with Sunday School being held at the same time as the first and second services, possibly with a different emphasis in each instance.

In order to have time to prayerfully evaluate positive alternatives, the Education Summit will meet three more times before the end of June, as outlined above. The three additional meeting dates are May 28th, June 11th and June 25th.

Finally, we assigned a little bit of homework to the group. We divided into ten different teams of two or three, each of which took responsibility to evaluate one of Trinity’s current education ministries. The evaluation is very simple: what can we celebrate about this ministry, and what are challenges to this ministry that need to be changed or improved.

We would love it if you would participate in that evaluation. You can e-mail comments on any of these ten ministries to me, pastor (at) Or even better, send your comments on the brief Survey Gizmo survey here. You can take the survey several times if you want to comment on multiple ministries.

Please be praying that God would use this process to bring unity, organization and effectiveness to our educational ministries.