At what "LEVEL" do you teach?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by WHYME, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. WHYME

    WHYME
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    I am a member of a senior adult Sunday School, Bible Study, Small Group Class (meet prior to Sunday Morning Worship) and recently in the absence of the regular teacher, a retired missionary was ask to substitute as the teacher. He taught the lesson on the doctrine of election and did what I thought was a good job based on my knowledge of the scriptures.Immediately after the class he along with his wife were subjected not only some severe criticism but with some simply unkind and unchristian remarks by members of the class. This naturally was of much concern to the substitute teacher who the following week met with the pastor and related to him the lesson he had taught. The pastors remarks were this "You gave them meat instead of milk". to which the teacher replied "Well what should I do if asked to teach again"? The pastors reply was "give them milk".
    The question is should we teach only the "core doctrines" and stay away from the peripheral ones?
    In a class of 40 you are going to have all levels
    of biblical understanding.
    I would naturally be interested in some of the pastors opinions and remarks regarding this.
     
  2. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    Meat, with meat, with a side order of meat, and little bit of milk with which to wash it down. If you teach, they will learn, if they are willing. I teach to a group that ranges from 8th grade dropouts to scientists, and anyone who is willing is capable. Anyone who wants milk is not happy at our church.
     
  3. gb93433

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    I have had the same thing happen. It tells a lot about the people and their willingness to learn.
     
  4. webdog

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    They may have needed their meat cut up for them before they ate.
     
  5. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    I had one person complain to me one time that what I was teaching was too hard. He said that he just wanted to come to church, be told something to make him feel good, and then go home. (This happened within 10 minutes of being told by one person that the message was "just right", and another person complained that it wasn't hard enough, but that's another story.)
     
  6. mountainrun

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    A class of 40 is probably too large.
    There is too great a diversity there apparently.
    People should be grouped according to their level.
    There were apparently immature Christians among the mature.

    People should not be given meat until they are ready, and some never are.

    MR
     
  7. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    If you give a young child some meat, he may have to chew it for a while, but he will eventually chew it. Babes, perhaps not; but young Christians, certainly. It has to do with a willingness to grow. (BTW, I know many young Christians who are far more willing to chew some steak and potatoes, and plenty of older Christians who still want the bottle.)
     
  8. Brother Ian

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    You're never going to teach at a level that is going to challenge everyone in a class of 40. For some it will be just right, for others too hard or too easy. In that case, you have to try and hit the middle ground challenging most people. You should never make your teaching too easy because people will become bored. At the same time, if you teach over their heads all the time, they'll feel like they can't get it.

    Balance is the key. Another option is to break up the class into a more manageble size.
     
  9. mioque

    mioque
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    A senior adult Sunday School, Bible Study, Small Group Class ought to be capable of going beyond the basics. In practice this can be very difficult.
    I recently read the story of a former editor of a small Evangelical Christian magazine who decided to quit when he found out he had to start at the beginning again with every single issue. Every time he tried expand on a foundation that was carefully layed in a previous issue of the magazine he would be flooded with people asking all the basic questions that were answered in that prevous issue.

    40 by the way isn't a small group class, 5 is.
     
  10. TomMann

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    It should be simple..... If the Lord has given you meat to serve, then serve meat..... If the Lord didn't want meat served.... he'll give you milk. Serve gladly what is given... And don't worry about the talk...
     
  11. gb93433

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    Jesus did. Too often people want a lesson or sermon with intellectual language or one that is so simple that they do not have to think. When Jesus taught he used simple language and reached the heart of people.

    Everyone has troubles in life with carrying out God's plan in their life. Each person in a group has that in common.
     
  12. HankD

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    I'm wondering if the real problem is the difference between "meat" and "milk" but rather a difference of interpretation of the Scriptures when it comes to the Sovereignty of God vs. the faith responsibilty of humankind in salvation.

    A difference which has gone on for centuries without resolution.

    As a side note: As a substitute, the doctrine of "election" IMO should be avoided. Perhaps that's what is meant by "meat" vs "milk".


    HankD
     
  13. Brother Ian

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    Jesus did. Too often people want a lesson or sermon with intellectual language or one that is so simple that they do not have to think. When Jesus taught he used simple language and reached the heart of people.

    Everyone has troubles in life with carrying out God's plan in their life. Each person in a group has that in common.
    </font>[/QUOTE]What I mean is that when there are 40 people in a single class, it's difficult to teach on a level that will challenge each person. I can certainly teach at a level that is over everyone's head, but that doesn't accomplish much. Some topics will be too hard for some and too easy for others.
     
  14. StefanM

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  15. gb93433

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    I know what you are saying. It is harder to teach a greater diversity of people, but it can be done. Preachers do it every time they teach. It is more work and attention must be give to illustrations and language so that all understand. One Sunday my daughter came home form church after I had preached that morning. She told me she had exactly 50 words she wanted an explanation for. After our discussion I realized most of the words ended in t-i-o-n and I was using words she did not understand. After that I ran some words by her to make sure she understood them. The next Sunday people told me they understood the sermon better. I did not change the content just the wording in the sermon. A few months later I was talking with a pastor friend about that and he challenged me to take a look at the way Jesus taught. As I began to take a look at the words Jesus used they were quite simple but the message was powerful. Sometime take a look at the people who attend church and see how each receive the same message.

    If we understand the historical context of scripture right, then, we must understand that the vast majority of people could not read during that time, yet, they understood what was read to them by someone who could read. I think too often we make it too complicated. The more I study and understand the lesson, the better I am able to carefully explain the lesson in a way everyone can understand.

    Looking back on sone issues I now realize that they seemed hard to understand but they were simpler than I was making them out to be. For example election and predestination does not seem al that complicated to me but it sure was at one time. When I went back and studied the passage carefully I began to notice that I had listened and read some poor teaching that did not line up with the Bible in light of its historical context.

    We also need to realize that scripture is a living, breathing, and active message. I have seen times when someone will come up with a truth I have not seen before or considered and I may give out one they had not seen before. So I don’t believe everybody get the whole load at once anyway. Not even theologians.
     
  16. Brother Ian

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    I'm with ya GB.
     
  17. mountainrun

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    I'm afraid Jesus didn't really have all that much success at teaching.
    Look at his disciples.
    Even up to the week of his death, the disciples didn't get it.

    The people he taught in the temple shouted for his death.

    The Pharisees certainly didn't learn much.

    There is a 60 year old man in our church who has been a Christian for years and make the most ridiculous theological statements you have ever heard.

    He backs them up by saying "I don't see anything in the Bible that says it can't be so."

    Now, I don't see anything in the Bible that says we will not be flying around heaven on winged pigs, but I don't believe it to be the case.
    But by his reasoning, I cannot disprove it.

    He once said that he didn't see anything in the Bible that says it is still in effect.

    There is, but we all pretty much ignore him when he goes off like this.

    The greatest sin to him is to be wrong about anything.

    If he did come to Sunday school, he would not be welcome in my class.

    He is willfully and deliberately ignorant.

    My point being that some people are extremely difficult to teach if not impossible.

    Even for Jesus.

    MR
     
  18. Benjamin

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    [​IMG]
     
  19. mountainrun

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    As I posted, I saw the familiar..

    Sit tight... We are taking you back to: At what "LEVEL" do you teach?

    and realized that I have not answered the actual question.

    What I have found works well is to keep the lesson very loose.

    That is, present the material and let the class discuss it however they choose.

    In this way, you will find that they will address the things that concern them the most.

    Simply make sure that what they say relates to the material or scripture passage in the lesson.
    IOW don't let them wander off on you.

    Each one will be learning on their own level and be absorbing from others who are on different levels.

    It works well for me anyway.

    I allow the lesson to apply to the individuals instead of trying to wedge them into the point of view of the person who wrote the lesson.

    MR
     
  20. WHYME

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    m't, What we must guard against is opening the group up to discussion and failing to control or correct the error that may be injected into the discussion. I have found that 50% of the teachers I have encountered are merely moderators, with the rest evenly split between lecturers and teachers.
    Teaching with Controlled Feedback is idealy the best approach.
     

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