When it comes to teaching and ministry, I confess: I am an experimenter. The results of my experiments vary from very good to downright dismal.
Last night’s bible study was most assuredly on the dismal end of the scale. While a scant few enjoyed the grammar lesson—what was I thinking?—most would have gotten more out of walking outside and watching the grass grow.
Mind you, when I was planning the lesson it did not revolve around grammar and syntax but around discussion and prayer. Now I ask myself, “What was I thinking? I know I can learn; why am I not learning?”
Back in August—yes, a little over a month ago—I asked myself a question: "Am I teaching the book or am I teaching what the book teaches?" I decided then to concentrate on teaching what the passage teaches, while not neglecting to teach the passage. Last night, we barely got to what the passage teaches (though some of the students got it and applied it to me later—much later—last night...good job, guys!).
Once again I am a bit stuck. I am fully committed to helping students study the bible and hear the voice of God. But I am boring the students with detail and bored people cannot listen.
Time to return to basic assumptions and revisit the original hypothesis.
Back in August I decided to:
- Prepare an outline of the teaching of the passage.
- Teach that outline.
- Show the students where the teaching is in the passage.
- Make space for the students to engage the text and its teaching.
- Provide tools and space for the students to engage with God and one another, hearing God speak into their daily lives.
Honestly, that was too much. I am entirely too tempted by the grammar and syntax to include this in the actual lesson (oh, how easily one forgets that many find such things incredibly BORING).
A modification is in order:
- Prepare an outline of the teaching of the passage, then write interpretation and application questions.
- Email the outline and questions to students. The students decide for themselves whether and how much of the preparation to do.
- Restate the outline in timeless terms.
- Teach the timeless outline (I still need to work on the how of this step).
- Help the students discover what God is teaching them in this passage (probably discussion, pair share, couch groups, etc).
Tag(s): college ministry
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