Category Archives: Thoughts

Teaching Forgetable Bible Classes and Redefining Success

The world throws so much data at us that we now forget more than the average person consumed 10-20 years ago. This has a direct impact on our teaching. How many Bible classes do you specifically remember over the last 5-10 years? If your answer is, not very many, it shows us that the goal of Bible class cannot be purely the retaining of data. I don’t think the answer is ever going to be that 100% of what we teach is retained. That is just not possible. I do believe that it is easy to frame this issue in an unrealistic manner and then come to some invalid conclusions. It is impossible to remember everything you have been taught. I studied for hundreds and hundreds of tests in college that I memorized thousands of pages of information for. Ask me questions from my notes and I doubt my % of recall would be all that high. That is not all bad. That is to be expected. The question is, what did that information do to me? If it helped me grow, mature, handle tougher challenges, etc then it was useful.

If we are teaching information for the sake of those in class retaining all of it we will fail. But if we teach toward transformation and spiritual growth, even when the specific details of the information have faded, the effect is still there. So while you don’t remember all the classes you have been a part of in a given congregation there is no doubt that some of those classes have had a profound impact on the way you live, the way you see the world, the way you serve, the way you treat others, etc. It is imperative that the goal of our teaching is not information retention. That is a losing game. But if our goal is transforming the lives of those present one step at a time, success is just that much more attainable.

Toward the end of the Gospel of John, John tells us why he recorded all those events,

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” – John 20:30-31

John says that he wants the reader to understand the information but that is not the end game. He wants that understanding to have a profound impact on the life of the reader by bringing them true life through Jesus Christ. That is transformation. So when you prepare a Bible class, sermon, or small group lesson ask yourself this, “When this lesson is over how will it lead toward one small or large piece of transformation in the lives of those present?” When we start thinking and creating things through that filter we will have more success.

More on information vs. transformation here – The Information to Transformation Shift

Review of Rob Bell’s Love Wins (Part 4)

Chapter 2: Here is the New There This chapter had a lot more going for it than chapter one. There were a lot more moments I was in total agreement with him than I had been in the preface and in chapter one. I really like the point he was making that heaven really isn’tContinue Reading

Review of Rob Bell’s Love Wins (Part 3)

Chapter 1: What About the Flat Tire? It seems to me the purpose of this chapter is to deconstruct as many things as possible and leave the reader pretty discombobulated. Maybe that is because that is where many people already are and he is trying to resonate with people who have some of these sameContinue Reading

Our Need for Downtime

I have been working on some lessons on rest over the last week or so and one of the things that hit me was how messed up our view of rest is. Rest is punishment. When you are a kid and don’t do your chores you get grounded. When you are an adult and doContinue Reading

How to Make Bible Study Practical – Perspective Issues 1

It is important, whether young or old, that we continue to tool and equip ourselves to study the Bible. So what I have to offer here on studying the Bible may be old news to some of you but hopefully there will be something for everyone. One of the driving forces in my Bible studyContinue Reading

What Are We Most Upset About and What Does that Say?

There are days I am more upset that the guy in front of me is driving too slow than I am that most likely he is lost spiritually. My lack of perspective is far more damaging in a real world perspective than his driving slow could ever be. I have seen people get more upsetContinue Reading

Blessed by Blogging Disagreements

There have been several posts in the last week that several people have had disagreements with. I am really happy about that. The reason is not because I like disagreement but because people have been so kind. Usually when people on blogs or websites disagree there is this kind of slow-motion shouting match that takesContinue Reading

The Problem With Culturally Defined Truth

A few things that were once considered culturally acceptable by various groups: Slavery The Crusades Killing infants by exposure (leaving them to die) Murdering Jews Segregation The list could go a lot further than that but the point is, at some point in time there were large groups of people found these things socially andContinue Reading

God’s 53 Questions

I am sure you remember the story well. Job was an upright man. Satan thought Job only worshipped God because he had it made. So God allowed all Job had to be taken away in order to find out if man would serve God only because of God’s blessing or because God is God. JobContinue Reading

The Significance of Ceremony – Joshua 24

In Joshua 24 you have a renewal of Israel’s covenant with God just prior to Joshua’s death. Some covenants in the ancient world were done in a very specific way. We see that pattern reflected in Joshua 24. The Hittites (who are mentioned in the chapter) had a form of covenant called the Suzerain-Vassal treatyContinue Reading

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