Wednesday, June 19, 2013

ADULT EDUCATION: It's not what you teach - it's HOW you teach.

In doing research for smaller congregations I often have pastors ask for resources for adults. People aren't coming to adult Bible study. My answer is this:  It's not WHAT you teach - it's HOW you teach that keeps them away. Every book of the Bible is full of compelling topics and God's truth. The problem is that most church workers are not taught how to teach, how to ask significant questions, and how to facilitate a good discussion that leads to deeper understanding. Most church workers believe (without admitting it) that they need to bring profound teaching to the people or that they need to unravel the mysteries of the Bible. THIS IS NOT TRUE! The Bible was not written in code.

Unfortunately I can't teach people how to be better teachers in a blog.  I can only give tips. The first key to educating well is knowing your students. Check out this post on teaching adults.

The next thing is how you package what you're teaching. Pastors say we're studying the book of Romans. Can you make it any less interesting? It's a letter to people who are struggling with being human and sinful. In the first 10 (or so) chapters we talk about:

  • Righteousness & Unrighteousness - Which are you? If it's simple why the huge discussion?
  • Obeying God's Law - Do you? Don't you? What are the consequences? What does it say about who you are?
  • Faith and Peace - Really? There doesn't seem to be much around here.
  • Obedience - Nobody likes this one...
  • Dead to Sin/Alive to God - Look at your life. What does this really mean today?  
  • The Purpose of the Law - Once you see your sin, what do you do about it? 
  • Life in the Spirit - Why are you not happy?
  • Message of Salvation - Why then are we not sharing this information? 

I'm so tired of LCMS Adult Bible studies that act like adults are stupid so they give the answers right in the questions. I'm so tired of pastors who lecture and give handouts that don't require anybody to think for themselves. Let the adults use their minds. Let them struggle with what God is telling them to do because we all know the answer - it's right in front of us in black and white - we just don't live by it. Let them struggle with why not together. Challenge them. Challenge yourself. It's no longer about what you should do about it. It's about what you do about it.

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