The 7 Laws of the Learner: No’s 2, 3 & 6
In this final workshop on the 7 Laws of the Learner I covered Law’s 2, 3, and 6 – but not in that order. For me, the logical progression was to teach them in the order of 6, 3, and 2.
But, before we do that, never forget the awesome responsibility of teaching and shepherding God’s people. One day, we will give account.
Now, onto the Law No. 6…
Law No. 6: the Law of Equipping
Every August, a child is given a list of School Supplies to help equip them to learn. One of a teacher’s biblically mandated responsibilities is to “equip God’s people for work, service and ministry.”
The 19th century Scottish preacher, Alexander MacLaren, said,
If someone were to ask you what you needed to help you succeed within your given vocation you would no doubt be able to, at least, reply with an general idea of what tools you need.
Within scripture, we’re given specifics and principles regarding what “equipment” we need to help us succeed in navigating this thing we call life.
Within the context of biblical teaching and learning, consider making the following part of your teaching objectives and goals:
- Spiritual Growth – c.f. Hebrews 6:1
- Word of God (Understanding the primacy of scripture)
- Daily Quiet Time (Abiding daily in the Vine)
- Scripture Memory & Meditation (Hiding God’s Word in our heart)
- Sharing our faith (Sharing our story)
- Theology (Study of God & the Christian faith)
- Hermeneutics (Interpreting scripture responsibly)
- Apologetics (Knowing why we believe what we believe)
We’ll circle back to “Salvation” at the end. The spiritual disciplines I have listed above are not exhaustive, but do make for a solid foundation.
If all we’re concerned with is “covering the material”, not only are we short-changing our people, we’re in no way applying the principles of biblical teaching and shepherding. God will hold us accountable.
But, is “equipping” merely handing out a list of things to do? Far from it. And that leads us to the next Law…
Law No. 3: The Law of Application
Bruce Wilkinson, the author of The 7 Laws reminds teachers:
“A mindset is a prevailing attitude or opinion. The standard mindset of the majority of teachers…is that the purpose of teaching is to explain and cover the material. For [most] teachers, the focus on what and how they teach is overwhelmingly about the content… A biblical mindset for the Christian teacher is to teach not merely the content but the application of that content.”
A professional electrician will often be given an apprentice. How wise would it be for that electrician to give his student a text book, tell him to read it, and then set him free to re-wire an old house? That would not only be foolish, but most likely disastrous.
On my wife’s desk in her school classroom is a small sign that says:
“Tell me; Show me; Involve me.”
And that’s precisely what Jesus modeled over and over again with his disciples.
Consider these examples from the life of Jesus:
One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” (emphasis mine) – Matthew 4:18-19
[Jesus] got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him… As the Father has sent me, so I send you. (emphasis mine) – John 13:4; 20:21
The following passage is a paraphrase of Matthew 11:28-30 from the Message Bible. I love it:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (emphasis mine)
Tell me; Show me; Involve Me. Jesus did all three.
By the way, our listeners would be wise to remember that it will be them, not us, who stand before Christ one day giving account for whether or not they applied scripture to their everyday lives. I heard a preacher one time tell his congregation, “They’re called The Ten Commandments, not The Ten Suggestions.”
C.S. Lewis offered wryly,
That said, how are ways you can provide for, and encourage, opportunities for your class to learn and apply the scriptures and principles you’re teaching them?
Law No. 2: The Law of Expectation
For George Mueller, praying in faith was as natural as breathing. His biography recounts story after story of Mueller laboring in prayer because of one reason: he fully expected God to answer his prayers. Mueller said,
When you arrive on Sundays to teach are you expecting God to bring life-change?
Pray, prepare and teach with the expectation that Christ will bring life-change in the lives of your listeners.
When I think of the word “expectation” my mind takes me to two scenes – one personal, the other from Hollywood.
First, after making a 100 on my final Algebra test in ninth grade, not missing a single answer, my dad looked at me and said, “Nick, you could be a doctor.” It was at that moment I set out to pursue a career in medicine. (But, the Lord had different plans.) My point is this: there is power that can lead to life-change when there is a spirit of expectation.
Second, my favorite all-time movie is Hoosiers, released in 1986 (Just last year, Hoosiers was named the best sports movie of all time). While the tiny town of Hickory is playing in the Indiana basketball finals tournament the game comes down to the last seconds with Hickory trailing. Coach Dale looks at his not-so-great player, Ollie, who had just been fouled and says to another player, “When Ollie makes both of his shots (for being fouled)…” Then, before continuing his sentence he looks at Ollie and says, “You will make those shots.” Ollie made both shots and Hickory was able to win the game. Sure, it’s Hollywood, but it makes a point. Expectation can motivate people, even giving them that bit of confidence that may have been lacking.
First, I promised we would circle back to the topic of salvation. A baby can’t grow if they’ve never born. A person can’t grow as a Christian if they’re never been born again.
Never presume, just because someone has been attending for a while (even years) they are saved. To help illustrate this truth, our Young Adults teacher, Paxton Rautis, shared his story of attending Sunday School here at BHBC for a long time before finally coming to faith in Christ.
This is precisely why I periodically remind you to clearly share the gospel during class. You just never know. Additionally, it helps your people learn how to share their faith as well as gives an opportunity for someone like Paxton to respond right then and there.
Second, in light of the Law of Expectation… I remember at Abilene High School during off-season (from football) being timed in the mile. I can still remember my coach yelling my name during that final lap, “Come on, Nick! Run!…” His words helped me run my fastest time to date.
Satan is relentless in his effort to distract, discourage and destroy our faith. It’s always been that way, which is why Paul challenged the Galatians:
“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?
God has commanded us, as shepherds, to equip the sheep he has entrusted to our care. We are exhorted to exhort, and to teach with expectation. My coach once said, “When the tide rises, the ships rise with it.” The video clip below from Facing the Giants illustrates this well.
Solus Christus, Nick