Solving Church Education’s Ten Toughest Problems. By John R. Cionca. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1990. 192 pp. Paper, $7.95.
John R. Cionca is Dean of Students and a Christian Education professor at Bethel Seminary. In addition to his teaching experience, the author has also pastored several churches. The basis for this book is the author’s surveying over one thousand pastors seeking to determine the most significant church education problems faced by church leaders. Each chapter is designed to analyze and produce solutions for these crucial needs.
The major strength of this work is its practicality. The book demonstrates this in three areas: relevance, pastoral perspective, and sample forms and miscellaneous tools. Because the work is based on seasoned insights of pastors, its content is relevant. Such issues as poor follow-up, change, apathy, and coordination of the education program are thoroughly discussed.
The writer’s pastoral experience allows him to analyze the common causes behind problem areas in Christian education, and to offer workable solutions. This volume also provides tools that help the pastor implement ideas immediately. Some of the tools included are a class report form that records absentees and visitors, sample letters to encourage teachers, a form for evaluating curriculum, and a sample talent survey.
Another strength of this work is the annotated resource guide which includes seminars, tape series, as well as books. This guide is thorough and helpful in leading pastors to resources that discuss specific problems in more detail. Because of its practical nature and useful resource guide, the book will help motivate pastors to confront their church’s educational needs. In this reviewer’s opinion, the author was successful in accomplishing his purpose. The reader should be warned that the book was not designed to provide comprehensive answers, but the resource guide should help pastors discover other sources that will provide more specialized information.
This book is strongly recommended for all church leaders, especially pastors. It will help leaders gain an understanding of the educational program and provide realistic solutions that will motivate church leadership to tackle the toughest of Christian education problems.
Worship and Education Leader
Shiloh Baptist Church