This week I will finish reading for the second time “The Seven Laws of the Learner” by Bruce Wilkinson, and probably got more from reading it this time!
There is far too much information in this book to put into a short blog post, but allow me to share the books foundational truth.
The goal of teaching isn’t to cover the material…..
The goal of teaching is to transform lives!
Bruce Wilkinson states (I believe correctly) that much of the preaching and teaching within Christian schools and churches is absolutely dead. This is because so many come in, and emphasize teaching the truths of Scripture while never really applying it to life. The master teacher however isn’t satisfied with covering the material, he demands the student be affected.
He uses an illustration from his early days of Seminary taught by Dr. Howard Hendricks to drive home this point.
The author decided one day to purposely look out the window during class as an experiment to see how long Dr. Hendricks would allow him to remain distracted. It took just over three-minutes before the professor put class on hold to confront one student looking out the window!
Wilkinson then asks a convicting question?
How many of us would let him just stare out the window during class? (after all, we covered the material).
On a more personal level he points out how preaching emphasizes “covering the material” by spending almost all of the time on explanation of Scripture, then illustration and application will often be put on at the end. While explanation is good, it must be balanced with clear illustration and application to show people why they should live in such a way, and how to do that (ideally 50% teaching, 50% illustration/application).
Thinking about this truth, I cannot help but be convicted by the number of lessons or sermons that did a great job of “covering the material” but did a very poor job of impacting lives.
It’s true that not every message should be a “home run” that brings an emotional response, but every message must have as it’s goal application of truth to everyday life. And in a deeper sense equipping of Believers.
I’m grateful for this timely reminder from the Lord that it isn’t enough to reach someone’s head,
I must reach their heart too.