Choosing the Best Teaching Model

            Using Your Past

As Rick Yount asserts, “Analysis of a text is just the beginning point of lesson preparation, [because] effective teaching also asks: What do they need to remember? What do they need to understand? And how should they personally respond?”[1] From this premise, understanding how to synthesize and implement the critical biblical foundations for teaching is vital to not only success in ministry, but also in bringing glory to God. Lawrence Richards and Gary Bredfeldt advocate the “Hook, Book, Look, Took” (HBLT) method. While there are numerous approaches to use, Richards and Bredfeldt illustrate this model’s credibility as the apostle Paul used it, when he addressed the philosophers at the Areopagus on Athens’s Mars Hill (Acts 17). A good “hook” is essential in Bible teaching and Paul uses the “hook” to get the philosopher’s attention, to surface a need, and to then provide a goal why what is being said is relevant to them. The “Book” section is all about helping the listeners understand what is being taught and clarifying the meaning behind the message. The “Look” involves guiding the listener to discover and grasp the relationship of the truth just studied to daily living. The “Took” requires a response and ultimately should lead to transformation.[2] Teaching should always lead to some form of transformation because as Warren Benson demonstrates, “A true Christian education should help us understand and appreciate the authority of God’s Word.”[3] It should also allow the believer to be transformed into the image of Christ, thus allowing he or she the ability to align one’s will with God’s. The major advantage of this approach is the ability to break down the lesson into four parts, with each being focused on Scripture and how to apply its principles to daily life. The strength and weakness of this approach is the absence of personal stories on the part of the teacher. In any learning setting, the teacher must choose the method that will allow the listeners to engage with God’s Word on a deeper level. Overall, models are just a way for different people to learn, so as Richards and Bredfeldt assert, “If you understand what you are trying to accomplish, you can select or invent an approach in lesson planning to accomplish it [and the HBLT approach] allows the teacher who understands the distinct parts of the lesson to find and correct weaknesses in printed lesson material.”[4] This model would be most appropriate for teachers who do not possess a real-life-story applicable to what is being taught.

In Communicating for a Change, Andy Stanley uses a unique approach rooted in: determining your goal, picking a point, creating a map, internalizing the message, engaging the audience, finding your voice, and then starting all over. Stanley is perhaps one of the most gifted communicators and he breaks his approach down into “Me, We, God, You, We” (MWGYW) model. The “Me” is all about orientation, the “We” establishes identification, “God” provides illumination, “You” illustrates application, and “We” delivers inspiration. The major strength behind this model is found when the communicator has endured a specific trial or circumstance in which he or she is teaching about. From there, Stanley shows how moving through the model allows the teacher to find common ground with the audience, transition to what God says about it, challenge the audience to act on what was just heard, and ultimately illustrate what could happen if everyone embraced the truth behind what was just said.[5] Once again, the strength and weakness rests upon whether the teacher has personally experienced what is being taught. For example, if a teacher was speaking on the subject praying for a wayward child and he or she has no children, the “Me” part would be very difficult to identify with in establishing common ground with the audience. However, sometimes a hybrid approach can be used in these cases by approaching the topic from a different perspective. Using the same example, the teacher could use the story of the prodigal son and instead of approaching it from the father or parent who was waiting for the son or child to return, the teacher could speak of a time in his or her life when everything was squandered and he or she had chosen a path contrary to God’s best, but then demonstrate the redemptive work God had done in bringing them back home. Stanley rightly asserts, “Me is not really about me. ‘Me’ is about finding common ground with ‘Them’… [and] an audience has to buy into the message before they buy into the message… [This is so true because,] it is difficult to receive challenging information from someone who seems to have no clue as to what it is like to be you”[6] The major strength behind this approach is demonstrating transparency, while also casting vision to the potential outcome, if the truth behind the application is engaged. The only weakness behind this model is when the teacher cannot provide a similar experience to establish common ground with the audience, and this approach’s foundation rests solely upon establishing a personal experience with the audience. To follow the teacher on the journey of the message, the audience must be able to relate to what is being taught.

Marlene LeFever further demonstrates the vast number of learning styles and how the traditional view of learning is no longer true because everyone has a different learning style. LeFever emphasizes how the collaborative learner asks: why do I need to know this? The analytic learner asks: what do I need to know? The common sense learner asks: how does this work? And the dynamic learner asks: what can this become?[7] Robert Pazmiño could not be more correct than when he stresses, “The gift of teaching requires speaking for God and serving the faith community with gifts and the strength that God provides. The ultimate end must always be in view, namely the glory of God through Jesus Christ.”[8] For this to take place, the teacher must be mindful of the various approaches and use whichever is going to fit best with the audience, while also being true to oneself. Stanley provides another great model in preparing lessons that can be used in either approach: (1) What do they need to know? Information. (2) Why do they need to know it? Motivation. (3) What do they need to do? Application. (4) Why do they need to do it? Inspiration. (5) How can I help them remember? Reiteration.[9] These questions are a great resource in lesson planning and will help any teacher stay on point and provide the audience with the best learning experience.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Benson, Warren S. Introducing Christian Education: Foundations for the Twenty-first Century. Edited by Michael J. Anthony. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic Publishing Group, 2001.

Esqueda, Octavio J. The Teaching Ministry of the Church. 2nd Edition. Edited by William R. Yount. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2008.

LeFever, Marlene. Introducing Christian Education: Foundations for the Twenty-first Century. Edited by Michael J. Anthony. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic Publishing Group, 2001.

Pazmiño, Robert. By What Authority Do We Teach? Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic Publishing Group, 1994.

Richards, Lawrence O. and Gary J. Bredfeldt. Creative Bible Teaching. Revised and Expanded. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1998.

Stanley, Andy and Lane Jones. Communicating For a Change. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2006.

Zuck, R. B. Spirit-Filled Teaching: The Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Ministry. Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 1998.

[1] Rick Yount, The Teaching Ministry of the Church. 2nd Edition, ed. William R. Yount (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2008), 233-248.

[2] Lawrence O Richards and Gary J. Bredfeldt, Creative Bible Teaching. Revised and Expanded (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1998), 154-158.

[3] Warren S. Benson, Introducing Christian Education: Foundations for the Twenty-first Century, ed. Michael J. Anthony (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic Publishing Group, 2001), 33.

[4] Richards and Bredfeldt, Creative Bible Teaching, 159.

[5] Andy Stanley and Lane Jones, Communicating For a Change (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2006), 120.

[6] Stanley and Jones, Communicating For a Change, 121-123.

[7] Marlene LeFever, Introducing Christian Education: Foundations for the Twenty-first Century, ed. Michael J. Anthony (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic Publishing Group, 2001), 130-137.

[8] Robert Pazmiño, By What Authority Do We Teach? (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic Publishing Group, 1994), 73.

[9] Stanley and Jones, Communicating For a Change, 191.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Choosing the Best Teaching Model

  1. Diane Fenning says:

    Thank you Jeff this was a very good article and I found it extremely helpful in my endeavor to become a teacher of the word to new believers again profound and thank you. Have a very blessed week Diane Fenning

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s