Educational Ministry of the Church - Lesson 17

The Whole Person

Effective teaching engages the whole person.

Gary Parrett
Educational Ministry of the Church
Lesson 17
Watching Now
The Whole Person

Confluence: How do we teach?

Part 2

III.  Engaging the Whole Person

A.  Scripture References

1.  Head (Mind)

a.  Romans 12:2

b.  1 Corinthians 14:14-20

2.  Heart

a.  Jeremiah 4:4

b.  Psalm 86:11

c.  Jeremiah 24:7

d.  Matthew 15:8

e.  Jeremiah 29:13

f.  Ephesians 1:18

3.  Hands

a.  Psalm 24

b.  James 1:22

c.  Jeremiah 22:11-16

B.  Engaging the Mind

1.  Consumer Level

2.  Disequilibration

3.  Producer Level

4.  Example of Jesus

5.  Our Methodologies

C.  Engaging the Heart

1.  Example of Jesus

2.  Our Methodologies

3.  Music

D.  Engaging the Hands

1.  Example of Jesus

2.  Our Methodologies

  • Seven questions that provide a framework for choosing and implementing curriculum.

  • Our misconceptions about Christian education can cause us to choose poor or inaccurate content and use ineffctive strategies.

  • The three essential tasks of the Church are worship, outreach and teaching.

  • Christian formation focuses on the process of becoming more like Christ.

  • Instructions for spiritual education from passages in the Old Testament and New Testament.

  • History of Christian education from the early church to modern Sunday school.

  • The Heidelberg Catechism provides essential elements for a Christian education curriculum.

  • The Torah contains the essence of what God wants us to know. Jesus clarifies and exemplifies the Torah.

  • A CORE curriculum should be Comprehensive, Orthodox, Reforming and focused on Essentials. Delivery systems may include bible studies, small groups, Sunday school and sermons.

  • The Ten Commandments are the basis for Old Testament Law and the core teaching of the New Testament.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • A key element for effective education to take place is for teachers to know their students relationally.

  • Effective teachers know their audience and avoid attitudes and expressions that would create obstacles to communication.

  • Asking the right questions about the curriculum and the audience can help you identify what information to emphasize and how to present it effectively.

  • How you define teaching determines content and strategy.

  • Effective teaching engages the whole person.

  • When preparing curriculum, an effective teacher will take into account both the content and the audience.

  • Many people fill the role of teacher in your life at different times and in various ways.

  • Christian education involves recruiting, training, modeling, organizing and supporting people who volunteer to teach.

  • Being trained in skills for conflict resolution helps you to have realistic expectations and gives you the tools you need to effectively resolve situations as they arise.

Through this course, you will gain a deep understanding of the educational ministry of the church, its foundations, principles of teaching and learning, and the development of an effective educational ministry. You will also explore strategies for different age groups, including children, youth, and adults, and learn how to address contemporary issues such as cultural relevance, technology, media, and special needs inclusivity.

Educational Ministry of the Church 
Dr. Gary Parrett 
The Whole Person 
Lesson Transcript 

All right. Well, let's think about those things. And now go back to our focus here on the how question and think about these issues again, perception, cognition, etc., etc.. Biblically, there is some emphasis on the idea of minds and something deeper than mind hearts. Or maybe we want to use words like kidneys or souls. The Bible words are varied, but the point is clear heads, hearts, hands. They do show up in the Scripture as speaking about different ways in which we know the Lord, in different ways in which we come to know the Lord. And each of these have a role to play in this. So just just give a couple of references here for you. We want to take time to really look them up. Romans 12 two We already saw. Be renewed are transformed by the renewing of your mind. First Corinthians 14 is an interesting place where Paul says in verses 14 through 20 he draws this dichotomy or this idea of needing to pray with both his spirit and with his mind. So I'll worship with my mind, but I'll worship with my spirit also. Number of places where we get that kind of understanding. The idea of hearts shows up throughout the Old Testament. Number of passages we could turn to the biblical terminology is not the key because that's complex actually. But the idea of something beyond just the mind is what we're getting at here. Circumcise your heart. Jeremiah four four Give me an undivided heart. Psalm 8611. Jeremiah 24 seven is a good one. I will give them a heart to know.


Mean heart in the Old Testament especially is often linked to the idea of will. But sometimes it means sort of the totality of the whole person. More than just cognitive functions here, more than just the mind. Matthew 15 eight These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Jeremiah Again, 2913. You will seek me and you will find me when you've sat me with all your heart. And then we just saw this in Paul, Ephesians 118. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, the eyes of your heart more than just intellectual engagement here. And then the idea of hands, the number of passages who will ascend to the hill of the Lord, He has clean hands. Psalm 24 And then the the New Testament be doers of the word. James 122 Not hearers only, lest you deceive yourselves. I think the key idea here is the deception. The deception is that I know the word, but I don't if I don't do it or even deeper. The deception is that I know the Lord when in fact I don't know the Lord if I don't do. Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom in that day, but only those who do the will of my Father, who is in heaven, depart from me. Wicked doers I never knew you doing is linked to doing the will of God, and probably most clearly for me is this idea. Jeremiah 22 and verse 16 This would be worth looking at together. Jeremiah 22 The Lord is speaking through the Prophet and rebuking the King who is reigning makes reference to his father, Josiah Jeremiah 22, starting in verse 11. This is the Lord's word concerning Shalom, the King, the son of King Josiah.


And they go down to verse 15, The Lord rebukes Shalom and says, Are you a king because you compete in Cedar? Did not your father Now remember, this is Josiah. Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and do righteousness? And it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and the needy and it was well with him. Is not this what it means to know me? Says the Lord, especially verse 16. What does it mean to know me? Says the Lord to do justice, to care for the sake of justice and mercy in the cause of the poor? That's what it means to know me, says the Lord. So knowledge of God linked with understanding at the mind level, linked with something deeper related to our hearts, our will. However, we want to say that and lead to our obedience. All of these are different ways of knowing the Lord. We see them in the Scripture. We are called to transform the whole person clearly. And again, we're not trying to draw these rigid lines between parts of our people, you know, like it's not like I'm 33% mind, 33% heart. We're all of these things. But somehow the teacher sometimes can forget that and focus only on one aspect of the person. So maybe in my teaching I'm always up. Here at the intellectual level, maybe my preaching is very cognitive and I never challenged people about the issue of their of their heart. Some people, in fact, think that's off guard. We should never do that. But that makes no sense at all to me. I don't know why people are afraid of emotion. Okay. Yeah. Emotions can be easily manipulated, but minds can't be manipulated. Of course they can be.


Am I not charged by Scripture to love God with all that I am? Doesn't that include the emotional piece of me? I think clearly it does. It's more reflective of our own personalities that we want to cut off our emotions than it is of anything in the Scripture as far as I'm concerned. So I want to honor God with all of these. And as a teacher, notice your emphasis as both a teacher and as a learner. Notice your emphasis, notice your tendencies and your personalities. Sometimes my tendency as a teacher will be one of these areas. But think about yourself as a learner here. Some of us happen to be just cognitive sort of people, and we don't open these other doors to transformation in our lives. And some of our churches are like that too. Probably what happens is we find a bunch of other cognitive people and we decide to start a church together, and that's what we do. So if you surveyed a lot of our churches, you'd find the churches that are really strong on the head, really weak in some other components, strong on the heart, but weak on the mind. And we need to be engaged both on the level of engaging the mind, not once again, just to make sure I need to say it probably several different times when I'm talking about engaging the mind. I'm not suggesting that you can possibly engage the mind without somehow also touching heart in levels of perception. It's all overlap, a lot of overlap here. But just to keep ourselves on track, we should think about each of these areas and make sure that we're we're aiming at the whole person here. Some people at the level of cognitive growth and intellectual growth speak about growth from consumer levels of thinking to producer levels of thinking.


A consumer level of thinking might be just receiving information and putting it away, stuff that you didn't know before. All right, I got it from you, producer. I put this in quotation mark simply means the idea of thinking new thoughts about that information. So you begin to wrestle with it and think at a different levels. It's not just receiving it, but now you're doing something with it and you're generating new ideas that are being sprung up from from that. So when we talk about stimulating the mind, sometimes the very appropriate thing to do is actually down here, sometimes what's necessary at the level of the mind is just presenting information and giving people the information and letting them memorize it. That's cognitive experience, know it. Memorizing. In that sense, sometimes what we're doing is trying to take them from this level to a new level of wrestling with things on a deeper level. And often the journey from consumer levels to producer levels leads through this this thing which we could call physical liberation or disequilibrium. All of us have gone through this in our lives. And I want to just raise the question of is it an appropriate tool for us as teachers to use to a sometimes push this along, maybe even contribute to this, be help guide people through it if they've experienced it themselves? Let me read one one illustration here again from Parker Palmer. I've heard of a history teacher who knew how to open space with a lecture and who exemplifies the courage it takes to do so at the first class. This teacher gave a detailed lecture, surveying the major events of the period under consideration. At the end of that session, with the students bending under the weight of information the teacher had dumped on them.


He said, You can tear up all your notes today because much of what I said to you is untrue. Some of it was so patently false, you should have been suspicious. There was no electrical power in the 17th century from time to time in the coming term. I will slip in more lies. It will be up to you to catch them and to challenge me if you want to get things straight. I will not accept any of my own lies as answers on exams. They are false. Even if I did say them. Class dismissed. What do you think? Here's. Here's the first line of the next paragraph. Whether that story is true or not, and I'm not going to say it shows. So it's not clear whether it's a true story or not. Sometimes teachers can do this. Sometimes it's intentional. Sometimes it's necessary and good. But always that has to be exercised with caution. That's why I wrote the word up there. If you do this without some sense of past. Moral responsibility. I think that's the idea that comes to mind. You can do great damage. The idea from Piaget, where this idea sort of comes with, comes from the cognitive development. The idea is that people walk through life at the cognitive level of a certain kind of equilibrium, and when growth occurs, it almost always occurs with some measure of disequilibrium. So you go from equilibrium to disequilibrium and you find a new equilibrium. Well, as a Christian educator, I have to be not only committed to sort of helping that disequilibrium experience, but also be committed to help guide the person towards a new sense of equilibrium. That's pastoral accountability and that's pastoral responsibility. So if we do this, it's not only not getting people over, but it's also helping people get back up.


We've experienced this a number of ways. One of the practical outworking of this in my life is if you had asked me after a year of Bible college, Gary, what are the things that a Christian has to believe to really be a Christian? I probably would have given you a list of 50 things without without hesitation, maybe a hundred. If you were to ask me today, maybe I could muster five, six or seven. A lot of those things which I thought were absolutely non-negotiable. Essentials. If you don't believe this, you're not really a Christian. My suppositions about those things were challenged over the years and shaken, and I let go. And every time it involves some sort of a disequilibrium, throw me off balance and then have to find a new equilibrium. Thankfully, there are always people alongside my life to help me be guided through that process. So what I found was a new equilibrium. Yeah, some of the things which I clung to gave way, but what remained turned out to be more firm than ever. So I stand on seven things instead of 97 things, but those seven things are rock solid. And part of that is because people were there to guide me through it. Just one fun experience that I remember was at seminary when I went to Regent College. I transferred to Regent College from a fundamentalist Lutheran seminary. If there can be such a thing. And before that I was at a dispensation or Bible college, and at Regent College, one of my first classes was on creation. It was called Understanding Creation and Lecture number one. It turned out that our regular professor couldn't be there for the opening lecture, so we sent a fellow professor to class.


John Packer came into class that day and George Packer said, Well, today we're going to look through Genesis chapter one and we'll talk about the history of interpretation of Genesis chapter one. Well, I was familiar with interpretations of Genesis chapter one. I got them from my Bible college and from my seminary, but from my previous seminary. But there was only one interpretation of Genesis, chapter one, that I had been presented with. If you're a Christian, you take Genesis chapter one this way, period. I wasn't aware of the possibility that Christians could think about Genesis chapter one in particular. So this was all all by itself, the fact that someone genuinely Christian could think about Genesis one a different way was challenging to me. I knew it only one interpretation 24 hours a day, seven literal days. But he showed Dr. Packer showed that from the second century, Christians were interpreting Genesis one in all kinds of ways, and he gave us a host of interpretations. And then he said it told us what his personal take on Genesis chapter one was. The Genesis one was really not about how God created, but about the fact that God created and who created this powerful, awesome God is responsible for everything. And He talked about the poetry of Genesis one. His conclusion was that is primarily a hymn of praise to the Creator. It was really a hymn. Then he said, Well, there you go. There's some things for you to work with. Now go off and do it. And class this man and he must have noticed my jaw drop because he then looked at the class and said, Remember, our job here at seminary is not to indoctrinate you, but to educate. And it turned out that in fact, was the truth that they lived by at Regent College when I was there.


But for me, because of my background and experience, that was totally disequilibrium. I had to wrestle with that. Can a Christian really take a different understanding of Genesis Chapter one? It was brand new concept for me. The issue is not so much where I came out on my interpretation of Genesis chapter one. For now, the issue is to seek liberation. I experienced it, but I was in an environment where I had people to talk about this with and we were able to wrestle through these things together. So some of my 95 things you have to believe to be a Christian have given way, but those that remain remain very firm. I had done this kind of thing in one episode after I got out of seminary. My first assignment in the church was to be. Involved in adult Christian education in my home church. So I went back. They were very suspicious of me when I went off to seminary. You know, there was a lot of that seminary, a cemetery stuff going on there. So they there was some people told me not to go, but I went I came back and they let me teach anyway. So I was teaching a class and I taught on the Ten Commandments because the most of class for me at seminary was a class on the Ten Commandments. So it had really been big stuff in my life. I taught this class to a group of adults, probably 40 adults, and we had walked through several of the of the commandments together one by one. And a lot of our emphasis was down here. This is what the commandments says. This is what it means. I'm teaching. You're listening. So I threw in a class in the middle where we didn't add any new commandments for the state.


We just asked questions. So we came in and I just asked questions. Last week we talked about the commandment, the sixth commandment, which is, you shall not murder, you should not kill. And then I talked about a a host of contemporary issues, talked about death penalty. We talked about war. We talked about abortion. Talked about abortion. In this instance and that instance. We talked about euthanasia. Talked about all these issues. And basically, I just asked questions. And what I was doing was doing some of this hopefully to move towards some of this and get people wrestling with the implications of this in a very complex world. And it was a it was kind of a tense session. The church itself was already kind of an anti there was an anti-intellectual ism in the church. Clearly the head, hearts, hands triad. This was definitely a heart church. They weren't out there doing a lot of justice and they weren't out there, you know, really emphasizing this. It was big church on prayer and praise. But I still thought the class went pretty well and I thought that we had accomplished some of that. But I was a young guy. I was fresh out of seminary, which is a dangerous thing to be. And that evening, I got a phone call from one of the persons who'd been in the class, who was an elder in the church, and he was a young he was really a younger, not an elder. We didn't have elders. Our oldest elder was probably 35 or so. I call him youngers. One of our youngers called us and he said, I remember his opening. This is a guy I loved and I respected him. And I you know, I have nothing but love for this person.


But he said, Did you think that was fun, Gary? You must have thought that was really fun. And you could sense the tension in his voice when he asked the question. And he thought that I had sort of purposefully, you know, try to mess with people's heads in a and I know that's part of this had to do with this pre prejudice about seminary in general. You know, I've come from seminary and now I'm going to try to play with people's heads and trouble their faith. I was really taken aback because, you know, I don't know. I was a young guy and boy, we make all kinds of mistakes. If you've never read Helmet two, it goes a little book, a little exercise for young theologians. Please do so. But I was really taken aback. I apologized to him. The next Sunday, I got together and I prepared an apology to the class. So I apologized to the class. But I had I hadn't even gotten the apology out of my mouth before students raised their hands in protest. And they said, Oh, no, you don't have to apologize. We know what you were doing last week. You wanted us to think about this and it was good for us. So but it illustrates the point that there will be opposition and there certainly be opposition in most of our churches, because our churches are going to be very conservative places and we can be totally signed on to the right stuff ourselves. And all we're really trying to do is help people wrestle with the implications of this so that they can be more faithfully obedient to it. I like that idea from Palmer. This is the goal is make some space for greater responsiveness.


That's what we're doing here. But some people will be troubled by that. Some leaders in the church may be troubled by that. And what I would recommend that you do is do what I tried to do when I got that question, that rebuke really from the elder was I really did try to take stock of myself what what had been my motivation, what was my goal? And I think we do need to be honest about that. Are you trying to you know, we don't want to do that, that just sort of intellectual gymnastics for the sake of it alone. We don't want to try to dazzle people with our learning or anything like that. But if if we're confident with our goal, often what you'll wind up doing and say in a typical ministry position where you're in charge of this segment of the ministry is at least make sure that you are in good communication with the senior. Pastor. If you're one of the pastoral staff and make sure that the pastor knows what you're up to, you've communicated your goals and your methods to the pastor and that you've got a vote of confidence from the pastor. That'll be a huge thing. But otherwise, I would say, be a listener, be as sensitive as you can be, and then always you have to kind of rush in, not necessarily rush in, but it is part of our responsibility to help towards a new equilibrium. So that's about all I could recommend on that. I don't think it's worth it to our it's it's a wise thing to back away from this. We need to do it. And part of the reason I think we need to do it is because when we consider the master teacher, he did it constantly.


Imagine you are one of the 12 and you live with this fellow for three years, three and a half years. You live with this guy seven days a week, you're with him. Talk about a roller coaster ride. Your mind must have been spinning constantly. And I don't think it was all just sort of by the way, this much of it was intentional. This was the design of the master teacher to challenge the assumptions, challenge the teaching, our challenge, the thinking of people where they're at. For example, Jesus challenging the minds of folks and the skill of rating them. How did you put yourself in, especially in the mind of the 12, the place of the 12? How is Jesus to celebrating you? Yeah. Think about those who you hung out with, hanging out with, as we saw earlier in class, all those on the margins. So his association with the sinners in association with lepers, his association with women, his association with Samaritans, you know, the whole thing, every bit of there he goes again. What is this guy up to in general, the way he responded to situations, the questions to request. John 11 Lazarus raised from the devil to do it. How to do it. I think that one would turn me up a bit just for for a moment. Think of some of the specific teaching methods that Jesus may have used here on this level to get people thinking. What were some of the specific ways that he did parables right? So we have the use of parables that turn things upside down and usually had people walking away say, What is getting people thinking here? And yeah, the miracles clearly we're totally to see collaborating. So his acts, his modeling by hanging out with folks, that was to celebrate.


And another one that's huge from the Ministry of Jesus. Well, first of all, let's not leave this behind because this is important. We'll call it a lecture with quotation marks. But those times like the Sermon on the Mount, when just the teachings, the explicit teaching that he gives is troubling. But here's a big one. The use of questions, Jesus use of questions to throw is here is off, but also in shaping the 12 many times. Of course, answering a question by asking the question, So is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Well, give me a coin. Whose inscription is out on the corner of this picture is out on the coin, and he uses questions. Or by what authority are you doing these things? Well, let me ask you a question. John the Baptist, was he from God or not? And then when they can't answer the question, I want to answer your question or Matthew 22 is a great example of this, where Matthew 22 people come bombard him with all of these tests. They come to test the Sadducees, come to test them, the Pharisees come to test him. And at the end of it, he says a lot of nice questions. Guys, here's one for you, David, whose son was or whose son is the Messiah? Whose son is the Messiah, the son of David? And how does David call him Lord, in quotes from the Psalms. And after that it says no one could ask him any more question. So part of this Ministry of Jesus is by asking questions in our specific ministries, then I think all of these things would be suitable methodologies for stimulating the mind. Remembering that some of our work here is at the consumer level just giving information.


Sometimes lecture will be very suited for that, passing on things like explicit teaching. But as we're moving along here, there are a lot of kinds of ministries that we could be engaged in, a lot of kinds of activities that we can engage in, but specifically the use of good questions. If you want to do some miracles, go ahead. That'll help. What are some of the settings that we have in the life of the church, which are aimed at kind of intellectual development or the intellectual component, some specific ministries that the church can put in place. Our Bible studies. Right. Obviously we have a little of this discussion earlier, but the sermon. Though it may aim at more than the mind and certainly has to engage the mind. But some other activities that may engage at the intellectual level, I think we could think a little bit outside of the box by having some sort of, for want of a better word, we could call it maybe a reading club or a book club. Sometimes I'll propose a reading club to young adults that I administered to, and they always answer back, How about a video club? So I'll propose book and they'll propose movies. Okay, well, you can use movies to this kind of activities, but will contribute at this level of the mind. And again, use of lecture, use of question and answer. All of this things will do this. Sometimes Jesus in his teaching ministry, I think, clearly was aiming at more than just the head here. Sometimes I think he was evidently aiming at the level of heart, creating space for greater obedience to the truth. In example, think again about the 12 where he's really aiming at the heart here, maybe more than just a cognitive experience.


Yeah, especially put the emphasis here on this idea of servant who is definitely challenging their thinking. But there's a couple of places where on the level of servant who he's challenged them to greater obedience and he's speaking to more than the mind here. For example, climb into this situation for just a minute. John 13 To teach us to create a space in which obedience to the truth is practice. What's the truth here? What's the truth? That he's trying to teach them that the kingdom is about servitude? Go back to that idea that we're to love our love one another. I'm served one another. That's the truth. What's his methodology here? Well, there is no lecture here. It's modeling. But I would say this is even more than modeling. It's modeling, clearly. But it's not so much that the long term kind of depends on your interpretation. But I don't think that his long term hope was that they would literally be washing each others feet. Some churches have understood it that way. We've taken this actually as another ordinance of the church. That's fine for washing ceremony can be still a very moving thing, but I think it's more than modeling. I think what we have in John 13, I think this is the use of drama in a sense. Now he's he's clearly confounding their understandings at the cognitive level, but he's really tugging at heartstrings here as well. And this is a this is a dramatic portrayal of something. And I can just imagine every jaw in the room. This is on the floor as he does this. Rabbis, rabbis can be gracious people, but rabbis didn't wash their disciples feet. This is not something that you would do. This is this is the lowest of the servant in the house would do such a thing.


But here Harry does, it doesn't very dramatically, very powerfully. And he challenges people on the level of heart. Can you think of activities that we might engage in that are more than just cognitive now that we're really we're really challenging people at a deeper level to wrestle with truth? The truth grasped them. Yeah, I think that just like we mentioned, the idea of drama here. I would include that, I would think also of the area of music. I don't know if you've experienced any of these things yourself, but they've been powerful for me in some cases where, you know, you watch some dramatization of a song. Do you ever hear the song by Ray Bolt? Thank you for giving to the Lord. Never seen that dramatized. There's this is a powerful kind of thing. You have a beautiful message in a song about your sacrifice for the sake of the Lord has contributed to the cause of eternity and then see it, act it out. Usually it's the kind of thing you watch, and especially if you watch it with a group of Sunday school teachers or something. Everybody is everybody's broken by what they see. Take a simple message. Put it in a song. It's not primarily about adding to the storehouse of knowledge. It's not even primarily about new thinking about that knowledge. It's about something that goes a little bit beyond that at the level of drama and music. So dramatic portrayal music. I think also the use of story stories are powerful this way. And any kind of preacher preachers know this. You get into an episode and you tell a story, and the story suddenly takes this information to a different level. I know this information, but now, wow, that moves me and it moves me towards work.


Well, if we're keeping our goals clearly in mind, we're not just moving someone towards weeping. We're moving towards someone or moving someone towards obedience. But it's interesting to me, all of this points to the fact that God has designed us as people with these components. And I think these components do turn out to be fair domain of the Word of God. The Word of God does want to touch us up more or is able to touch us that more than simply a cognitive level. And I think it's fair game. As long as the word the goal is not manipulation of emotions. The goal is transformation to greater obedience. Once we do that, it makes sense. You ever been at a movie? Maybe a movie like Dead Poets Society or just some good movie? There are some and you're at a good movie and you're sitting in a congregate or an audience. I've been at church too long. You're sitting in an audience, a theater with people, and maybe, maybe very few of them are Christians. But you're watching something. And in the film, something truly human takes place a marvelous act of compassion or sacrifice. And if you could flip on the lights really quickly, you probably wouldn't find a dry eye in the place. What is that about? Well, I think it's part of the hunger that's inside of all of us. And it's part of the image of God sort of seeping out in the in the shape of tears. And we all know that in spite of the rhetoric, we're not animals after all. We are humans. And there's something of the stamp of the divine in us and we see it. Well, that's fair game. You touch that. A preacher touches that.


A teacher can touch that as well through the use of drama, music and story. Let me just show what I have. I have sort of a thought here about music on this level. We talked about this before, the power of music in the church, But here's the thought that I have. I love the hymns because in many cases the hymns communicate truth. That's very profound and do it in sort of a, you know, a convenient way, a way that is, on the one hand is convenient, takes something powerful and packs into a small space. And the poetry itself makes it a little more powerful and clear and speaks to us perhaps in new ways. But hymns often speak to me here at the level of the cognitive domain. They're increasing my understanding they can go beyond that. A hymn can also touch the heart. But for me, probably part of my culture, just because of who I am culturally, sometimes a hymn is primarily speaking more to my head than to my heart. Appraise Song, on the other hand, might add some understanding to my cognitive domain. It should. In fact, I do believe that truth needs to be communicated through a hymn. But typically, if you are through a song, if you have a traditional hymn that we usually sing, you might have four or five verses and four or five verses. You can say a lot in four or five verses. Take some good theology and scrunch them, maybe in a praise song. A good praise song may have only one true or two terms, as long as it's really true and it's God centered. I'll still call that a good praise. And it may only be presenting one truth or two truths.


But as I sing this song, something else happens. I believe that praise songs have the capacity at least to open up the heart. They take one truth that I've already been afraid. Coming at the intellectual level, and maybe I repeat it three or four times and it said three or four different ways in a song, and it starts to open up my heart. Some people don't like that and they think, What's the point of the repetition? Well, actually, in church history, in Christian formation, repetition has been a pretty important thing. Some people would use something that's historically called the Jesus prayer. For example, Lord Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me, Christ have mercy on me. And repeat a simple prayer like that over and over again until their heart becomes open to the things that God. So I like a balance of hymns and praise songs. It sort of depends on the culture of the people that you're ministering to, what really touches hearts. But the balance, whether regardless of style. Some of my songs can be aimed at transmitting truth at the cognitive level. Some of them are about. All right, let's engage this truth. Let's linger here a little bit. Turn with me to the Book of James for just a minute. I want to look at James and make some application here if I can. James, Let's start at verse chapter one and start at verse 19. James Chapter one, starting in verse 19, and I'll read on through verse 25, Understand this my brother James 119 through 25 now understand this, my brother just let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger for the for your wrath. Human wrath does not produce God's righteousness, therefore rid yourselves of all wickedness, sordid ness, and welcome meekly the implanted word that has power to save your souls, but be doers of the word, not hearers only, lest you deceive yourselves.


For if anyone to hear the word does not do it. He is like the one who the man who looks at himself in the mirror. He looks at himself and then going away immediately forgets what he was like. But those who look at the perfect law, gazing at it, the perfect law that gives liberty and persevering, not being hearers, but doing what they will be blessed in their doing. Amen. Well, think about this whole chunk here. I see the word encountering people at all kinds of levels. There is a sense in which the issue is perception. Or maybe the issue is reception. You have to sort of prepare to be in a position where you can receive the word by getting rid of everything that could distract you so that you can perceive or at least receive the word. Well, verse 21 meekly received the word of God that has power to save your souls. You need to be a good hearer of it. Again, perception on verse 22. That's implied. Be a good hear of the truth. But more than that, you need to examine the truth carefully. So we have sort of a reception idea. This idea of examining the word of truth. Clearly says down in verse 25, those who gaze intently at the perfect law that gives freedom more than just a simple. Okay, I've seen it now, and I think more than just a cognitive, but really letting the truth examine you, almost letting the word really confront you. So we have this idea of receive the word humbly, be aware of it, be made cognizant of it, but then examine it carefully. And then, of course, it issues in obedience. Ultimately, you have to do the work. You have to do the word.


It's at this level that I'm sort of speaking, especially on the level of heart here. The idea that I really wrestle with the word, I let the word confront me and I think the heart does. That is sometimes. So Jesus had been talking to his disciples probably from day one. The Kingdom of God is not about power on this Earth. Kingdom of God is about service of one another. The Gentiles lorded over one another, but not you. Kingdom of God is become least and and God will lift you up. He's been saying it. They've been hearing it. But have they been really wrestling with them? Well, now, John, Chapter 13, the last time is with them having loved them from day one, he loves them to the end. He gets up from table, takes off his out of garment, wraps himself of the service calipers, watered in a bass and washes their feet, blows them away. And now this truth that they've been aware of for a long time challenges them at a new level. We have to find ways to do this in our teaching. These are some ways that we can do it. Use of drama, use of music, use of story. Some of the ideas. My my key thought here again is not that we do it in one particular way, but that we make sure that the truth is moving as. Those levels. One additional idea relative or related to story that I think is very powerful is the idea of testimony, the use of testimony. Someone's story can be a potent way of making the truth come alive at a new level. I do think part of this storytelling idea and dramatization can include today the use of video clips or something like that, or music, as we said.


I thought this was something that we ought to say today. Yesterday, I was putting emphasis on what I consider kind of the the potential dangers of overexposure to media. But really the emphasis is on the kind of media that's being spun out of Hollywood for most of the time. I think it does do very small, destructive kind of things at the level both of content and process. That's not to say that the use of media itself can't be very powerful as a tool for shaping a song. I think it can be. I think it can be used well and wisely in our teaching ministry. All right. Last one I want to do is just wrestle with this level again and go back to the ministry of Jesus. How did Jesus do this? How did Jesus aim at transformation? By engaging his disciples in action? Well, we know that he sent them out two by two. So we have the sending out number of places. And again, once they do it, this opens their eyes to things that they've never seen. So increase their perception. They come back and they're they're amazed that the demons submitted to their authority that the dead were or the dead were raised. They're amazed by these things. So they're their whole person is touched. But they got at it through the sending out. And one of my favorite experiences in the scripture, again, is a passage like John four, when Jesus leads them through Samaria, and by engaging them in this act, they learn what it means to love their neighbor. This is the message he's been teaching them. Now they learn what it means that your neighbor is not necessarily from the washing of Israel. Your neighbor might be someone who lives next door to you that you've been ignoring all your long or even hating all your life.


I'm calling you to love them. So engage in them by doing and transforming them in the process. You think of other examples in the Ministry of Jesus like this. John six. He feeds the 5000 and gets them to learn by what they do. John six also has a lot of celebration in it. Of course, when they eat the flesh, drink the blood, stop to celebrate. All of the disciples, including the 12. How about us? What could we do? Well, we had the idea of volunteerism was raised a little bit ago. All of those things that we had talked about before, under under the head of diaconate or service service Fellowship activities, outreach, short term mission, long term mission, any of these kind of things are ways that we can do this. We get people doing things and we engage them in action, and that turns out to be transformative in their lives. So in a good teaching experience, if I was guiding a teaching experience as a teacher, I think what I would want to do is just remind myself that the people I'm teaching, our whole people and I would want to go back to the why question continually what what is this about again? It's not just about passing on information. It's about changing lives. Don't teach them only all that I've commanded you, but teach them to obey all that I've commanded you. If I keep that stuff in mind, then obviously it goes beyond just intellectual exercise. There has to be some point in which I'm challenging them here that let them be confronted a deeper levels by the truth, not just up here, but what's the truth? Claim? What truth? What is the claim that truth is making on you and then challenging people to obedience?