How we teach can be as important as what we teach. We remember so little of what we’re taught because of the inefficient methods teachers use. Jesus was the consummate teacher – his methods were so powerful because they were experientially based. Studies show you remember much more of what you do than what you hear or read, but teaching that way requires imagination and risk, so we grow up being bored out of our minds in classrooms.
Jesus doesn’t just tell his disciples what to do and expect their lives to change. He gives his disciples five different kinds of venue to interact with a concept, knowing that change, if it’s going to happen, usually happens slowly.
First Jesus tells them about the concept; then he models it – puts flesh to it in a way that the disciples can imitate it. Next, he asks them to try it out for themselves; after they’ve done that, then they talk about it. And once Jesus knows that they’re beginning to master the concept, they get to go through this process with someone else.
Watch how this plays out with the concept of mercy and healing or the concept of bringing hope in the book of Luke:
1. He explains it Luke 6
2. He models it Luke 7 & 8
3. They try it Luke 9
4. They debrief it Luke 9 & 10
5. They teach others Luke 10
It’s an awesome thing to watch the disciples go from looking like the Three Stooges to a point of being able to teach others. If we’ll conscientiously copy that pattern, Jesus tells us we’ll experience even greater works than he did.
In a future blog, we’ll apply this model to youth ministry.