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Learning to inhabit the kingdom: The practice of theological education as paideia

Eeva John, Cambridge Federation

Project description:

The purpose of this project is to gather, develop, and disseminate innovative and creative approaches to learning and formation for Christian discipleship and ministry. The research will explore and document existing practice among theological educators in TEIs and dioceses. The research will focus on examples of practice that embodies an understanding of Christian education as the integration of the pursuit of knowledge and the practice of skills with the transformation of the learner into the likeness of Christ. In addition, the research will create a platform for practitioners to discuss and develop new transformative pedagogies in theological education.

The transformative learning that will be the focus of the proposed research is likely to involve shaping the intellect, spirit, affections, relationships and bodily life of the learner by paying attention to the very process of learning. It may involve redefining the relation between teacher and learner, challenging both to take risks and to engage with vulnerability, reality, the ‘other’, and, ultimately, with God and self.

This holistic approach to Christian education – whether in churches, parachurch organisations or theological education institutions – is often spoken about and aspired to, but there are few, if any, resources that gather together practical ways to make such learning a reality. The outcome of this research will be to offer practical suggestions that will enable theological educators to rethink and develop their practice – whether in the context of lay discipleship or of training Christian ministers.

Aspects of learning that will be explored will include contextual learning, interdisciplinary learning, the cultivation of virtues and the relationship between learning, prayer and worship.


Download the full John Seedcorn report.

The project also led to an article:Eeve John, Naomi Nixon and Nick Shepherd, Practical Theology 2018.