A Paradigm Shift In The Way We Look At Teaching

A Look at Kent Hunter’s “The Future Is Now: How God Is Moving In The 21st Century Church

I came across an ebook by Kent R. Hunter of Church Doctor Ministries entitled “The Future Is Now: How God Is Moving In The 21st Century Church.”  I would like to quote from this source since it is so good, and then add a few of my analysis to it.  

From Chapter 8 – Focus On Health: Who You Are…And Become, Hunter says:  “One of the secrets about changing the culture in your church is to understand how people change.  First, most churches operate from a position of Greek philosophy. Churches work hard to help people grow. But they often start with a false premise about how people change behavior. The approach is: right thinking leads to right behavior. This is a Greek approach to understanding reality, and it comes from Plato who, of course, was not a Christian. On the other hand, Hebrew thought is diametrically opposite to Greek thinking. The Hebrew mind sees the world differently: right behavior leads to right thinking. Obviously, Jesus was a Hebrew. In fact, that is why He did things that may at first seem strange to us. For example, He said to His new disciples, “Come follow Me” (behavior), and, then, “I will teach you to be fishers of men (and women)” (Matthew 4:19) (right thinking). This has a major impact on how 21st century healthy churches will shape and guide the lives of new and young Christians. (I did not use the word “instruct” on purpose.) Hands-on, involved, interactive learning — doing — will be as important as content".

As a public school teacher I know the power of “field trips” vs. book learning.  Getting down and dirty cleaning up trash and recycling is more powerful than studying Chapter 7 on Recycling.  Slushing through a creek discovering little creek critters is a greater educational tool than looking at their pictures and reading about them in a textbook.  I have always been a proponent that “experience” is more powerful than head knowledge.  This has been true in my spiritual walk.  Although I have read through my Bible several times, earned a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies, I have learned that I can not understand a spiritual principle until I have “experienced” it.  Studying the power of the Cross, the Blood of Christ, and Jesus’ sufferings academically can be painless, but experiencing their principles in one’s life is life changing because there is pain in the Cross, there is suffering in the Cross, and there is transformation in the Cross, something we all can experience.

Mark Virkler has come to our local church several times. One trip he taught us about the lamad method of teaching, having one’s students actually “experience” what they are learning, the Jewish approach, rather than the European head approach to learning.  He instructed how we are to let the Holy Spirit teach us a passage, then experience it.  Jesus’ teaching style was not to birth and establish a rabbinical school, a theological college, or a seminary in the Western World mentality, but to walk and talk with twelve uneducated men through field trips, object lessons, and parables.  In Acts the Sanhedrin marvels that these “uneducated men” spoke with such “authority” after being taught by Jesus and His Holy Spirit.

When my one son became a man, he tried to seek out a spiritual male mentor, but could not find one nor did the church have one to offer.  It offered men’s Bible Studies, gobs of books on Christian topics for manhood, and even a men’s retreat, but no man would come forward to “walk” with him through his faith journey as a young man in his “daily life.”  The Church does not need to establish another “Big Brother” or “Mentoring” PROGRAM.  The men of the Church need to just come forward and walk the walk, side by side, day in and day out, 24/7 with their young brothers in the Lord, instructing them through practical every day experience the Biblical principles that are keystones to our faith.  “Modeling” is always an effective tool of teaching. What better way to teach the Christian walk, than to actually walk!  That’s the way Jesus taught.  He still did it after his death and resurrection when walking on the Road to Emmaus with his disciples and promised the release of the Holy Spirit to “teach them all things” when he returned to His Father in heaven.

An informal walk, sharing your personal stories, revealing the spiritual principles you have learned through your walk or journey through life with Jesus can not only be a powerful evangelistic tool, but also a pastoral and teaching tool!

“Hey, got a minute? Let’s go for a walk….. I have something I want to tell you about…..”