Let’s be honest. Far too few Christians are studying God’s Word on their own. For many, their Bible study diet is made up of what they get in Sunday School and/or worship one day each week. And this drives the title of this blog post. We face a dilemma. There is so much truth that we need to teach them, but there is only so much that they can learn at one time.
When we believe (or know) our members are starving themselves all week by not spending time in God’s Word, we as teachers and pastors have a tendency to try to stuff as much down them as possible in the short amount of time they are with us. But is that the right approach? How effective is this practice really? Does it really have the opposite effect? Does it make learners satisfied even if they really learned nothing or very little? That was Findley Edge’s contention in Teaching for Results.
What started me thinking about this issue was a blog post by Kathlyn Mickel that is entitled Teach Less, Teach It Well. While her post is focused on teaching children, the issue is highly relevant to teaching adults as well. Is it possible that if we taught less and taught it well, then our learners might actually learn more?
What if instead of trying (unsuccessfully) to teach our learners too much, they learned one thing every lesson? What if they understood more about God and about His Word, will, and ways? What if they understood better how to live for Him? What if they understood better the mission He is sending them on (Matthew 28:19-20)? What if they understood life priorities better (Matthew 22:37-40)? What if they actually were obedient as a result of what they learned? Wouldn’t that be better than being exposed to so much that they did not retain any of it and therefore did not obey it?
What would it take to make this change? Consider some of these thoughts, and feel free to press Comments below to add to the conversation:
- spend enough time with God in prayer and Bible study prior to the session to know the one truth God wants you to teach and the class to learn;
- spend more time preparing ways to lead learners to focus on, chew on, and work through one truth each Sunday or each month;
- focus on one verse or passage;
- divide your group into smaller groups and give them assignments for a portion of the Bible study hour;
- begin class each week reviewing last week’s lesson and asking how they applied last week’s truth;
- end class each week allowing time for attenders to consider prayerfully how God wants them to respond to the truth of the day;
- divide into prayer and/or accountability partners to encourage each other to live out the truth this week;
- lead learners to practice journaling application of the lesson and what happens as a result of their attempts to live it out during the week;
- and so many more possibilities.
What else would you add? Which one of these would help you and your class take steps toward being better disciples? What would best lead them to obey His commands? Begin now praying about how you can teach less with the result of them learning and obeying more. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!