Dear fellow servant of the Word,
Has the ministry of our called workers changed over the past few decades? Perhaps it has in some ways.
We certainly live in a broken world. That’s not new. It has been broken from the time Adam and Eve coveted the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, refusing to trust God. Abel’s blood, soaking into the earth, testified to just how broken the world was even then. To this broken world God promised a Savior. Throughout the centuries, his words of promise have provided the foundation upon which his church has been built and the glue that holds this broken world together.
The importance of giving adult students the opportunity to apply what they have learned is one of the assumptions of current andragogy. If we agree that adults learn in order to solve problems, then it seems reasonable to not only teach them biblical principles, to not only convince them that the principle will benefit them, but to also give them a chance to practice the principle before they head back to work on Monday.
I learned from a venerable coach that it doesn’t help to tell your team, “Okay people. If we play hard, we can win.” Sure, it’s a true statement, but your team is more likely to be successful if you’re specific about the goals for the game (e.g., box out on every shot, pass the ball at least three times before looking to score).
In the last issue of Teach the Word we emphasized that the purpose of a Bible study is not simply to make spiritual smarty-pants out of God’s people so they can answer all the questions in Bible Trivial Pursuit. But since our students must first know God’s Word before they will be empowered to act, we will want to teach with clarity and with purpose. Our confirmation instruction training can be put to good use here. We were taught that every lesson should have an “aim” that is stated clearly after the introduction. The aim is your target. Once you’ve established this target, you’ll be less likely to make your students run all over the field trying to catch your arrows, because all the components of your lesson will drive toward the stated goal, or aim.1 Continue reading
Dear fellow musician,
The leaves have begun to fall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and soon colder temperatures and inches (feet?) of snow will begin to accumulate. But as the natural world goes into winter’s hibernation, NPH is already looking ahead to next spring and our 2018 music releases. NPH focuses on five main areas of new music annually:
- Keyboard Collections
- Children’s Choral Music
- Adult Choral Music
- Christmas and Lent Kits
- Hymn Settings for Contemporary Liturgical Ensemble
Dear soul-tenders and conscience-menders,
I recently read an article titled “Four Lies That Cause Pastors to Neglect Their Families.”
The same week I found another article advising pastors, “Prioritize family over ministry. You’ll find it to be the Best. Decision. Ever.”
Augustine (AD 354-430) wrote that biblical education meant “moving the minds of the listeners, not [simply] that they may know what is to be done, but that they may do what they already know should be done.”1
Augustine’s ancient advice is a good reminder for us all. The purpose of any Bible class is not to make spiritual smarty-pants out of God’s people so they can answer all the questions in Bible Trivial Pursuit. No, we want God’s people to know God’s Word, to believe it, and to put it into practice. What did Jesus say? “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24). Christian authors Rick and Shera Melick even made up a word when they wrote: “The goal [of Bible study] is transformactional learning: learning that acts.”2
Of course, our Bible studies shouldn’t be a series of “How To” lessons (“How to Have a Successful Marriage”; “How to Budget Wisely”; etc.). Our lessons will clearly teach God’s law so that we are convicted of sin. Our lessons will also firmly center on Jesus and what he has done to win forgiveness. So yes, we will want to help our students grow in the knowledge of our Savior (cf. 2 Peter 3:17,18).3 But God has also promised that Holy Spirit-worked faith in Jesus does lead to change and action in a repentant sinner’s life (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:3).4 This change and action is something we may intentionally encourage when teaching. Through the next several Teach the Word articles we’ll explore some practical ways to do that.
1 Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana, 4.12.27. Italics added.
2 Rick and Shera Melick, Teaching that Transforms (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2010), 186.
3 2 Peter 3:17,18a: “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (NIV 84)
4 1 Thessalonians 1:3: “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV 84)
You can and should target every learning style at some point in every lesson.
If you can teach in a way that reaches all four styles simultaneously, you will be much more likely to hold the attention of your entire audience.
After looking at all of these four learning styles, you probably have the same big question I did:
How can one possibly reach all four of these learners at the same time?