Let me paint you a picture.
The conference was but a few days long: There were streams of teaching – small group sessions where we explored together, beautiful united worship – though we spoke a plethora of languages, and much sharing of stories. During the first meeting we were told we would not simply be talked at but learn from each other, as we journeyed together. At the final seminar we sat in the auditorium for a Q&A . On the stage were the session leaders, people who had taken each group through 8, hour long, conversations on an aspect of ministry. So, I asked the question “What have you learnt during this conference?” * and silence ensued. The leaders looked at each other uncomfortably, the audience shifted in their chairs as the pause became a gap. Slowly some of the respect I had for these leaders imparting their discoveries about God’s Kingdom started to evaporate. Eventually two ventured answers, the others didn’t even try.
Teaching is not a one way process. We should learn from the process of teaching. Sometimes we learn something new, sometimes we re-learn something and rediscover something we had forgotten.
However much we nod our head at this statement many of us simply don’t take the time to look at the lesson as a place to feed us as teachers. For many teaching becomes a one way process of giving, rather than an act of discovery as we join in reading the life giving scriptures together. This can lead to resentment at being ‘stuck’ in the children’s ministry and not able to be fed in the ‘adult’ service.
So where can we look to learn? Here are a few suggestions – feel free to add yours in the comments below.
What does this passage reveal about the world at that time or in general?
How would this story challenge me if I’d never heard it before?
How can this story transform a child’s life?
What insights can the mind of a child bring to my perspective?
How can I reflect on this passage through the week?
What have I learnt abut the materials and mechanisms of teaching this lesson?
What have I learnt about the mind and heart of a child today?
What have I learnt about my church community today?
* the question was specifically, “What have you learnt, as opposed to been inspired by, at the conference?” – the conference was very inspiring, but inspiration doesn’t change things, things change when we learn to act upon them.