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Rev Peter Thomas - North Springfield Baptist Church
HELPs - HANDY EXTRA LEARNING PACKS -
Resources for Christian Education
Tunbridge Wells Baptist Church Learning Centre
During my years at Tunbridge Wells Baptist Church (1986-1991) I was privileged to be involved with Rev. Philip Gathercole in establishing their Learning Centre. This met for terms of eight weeks at a time for an hour before the morning service and offered a choice of three or four short courses of Christian Education. The subjects studied embraced Bible study, doctrine, ethics, church history and sociology as well as a number of courses based on Christian books or videos, and courses designed to train believers for Christian Service e.g. in preaching, counselling or teaching children and young people.
This time convinced me of the enormous value of such short courses using lecture and seminar styles to cover topics that are not easy to address in sermons or indeed in Home Groups. I am convinced that “dialogue teaches the parts monologues can’t teach”. “Disciple” means “learner” and we must all be learners if we want to grow in our faith.
Handy Extra Learning Packs (HELPs)
From around 1989 the Christian Education Department of the Baptist Union of Great Britain was particularly interested in providing resources for Learning Centres and similar “All-Age Sunday Schools”. The idea of Handy Extra Learning Packs (HELPs) was developed as a way of sharing courses already written conveniently and inexpensively with a wider audience. Each HELP would include a Leaders Guide and Participants notes for a particular course. In 1991 the Baptist Union published HELP 1 containing four courses written by Rev. Philip Gathercole and myself. Then financial constraints closed the Christian Education Department.
This corner of this website has a simple function to carry on the philosophy of HELPs. It offers into the public domain materials that I developed over the years particularly for the context of short courses for Christian education in small groups. If any parts of these materials are of any use to you, please copy them or adapt them freely for your own purposes. An acknowledgement of authorship would be appreciated (and please don’t sell them as your work) and feedback by email is always welcome.
Understanding the Bible - Leader's Guide
Understanding the Bible - Participants' Notes