Book examines faith formation in historic, contemporary African American church

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 10/19/20)—An important contribution to the study of Christian education, the newly released book “The Formation of a People: Christian Education and the African American Church” is steeped in current scholarship and a lifetime of experience in the African American Church. It expands our understanding of education to encompass the larger life and ministry of the church—from practices of testimony, worship and preaching to more traditional classroom contexts of Sunday church school and midweek Bible study.

The book provides constructive definitions of Christian education and faith formation, as well as clarity about formation processes across all ages and life seasons. Author Carmichael D. Crutchfield, D.Min., PhD, examines faith formation as it occurs in the historic and contemporary African American church context, where those who do ministries of Christian education, faith formation and discipleship often have a wide range of training and experience—from no formal theological education to specialized seminary degrees.

Accessible to professional educators as well as laity, the book defines spiritual formation, faith formation and leadership formation. It asserts that Christian education involves the formation of people in the image of Jesus Christ and that faith formation engages in the practice of loving God and neighbor. In addition, it highlights the five forms through which Christian education and formation occur: koinonia (fellowship), leiturgia (worship), didache (formal instruction and teaching), kerygma (proclamation) and diakonia (service/mission).

A Christian educator, pastor and professor at Memphis Theological Seminary, Crutchfield also serves as general secretary of Christian Education in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. He has published numerous articles and papers for journals and other scholarly publications. He frequently conducts ecclesial presentations, workshops and seminars across the United States.

Founded in 1824, Judson Press is a publishing ministry of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, American Baptist Churches USA. It is committed to producing Christ-centered leadership resources for the transformation of individuals, congregations, communities and cultures.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.