Fri, 09/23/2016 - 5:24pm
Earlier this week I attended a teacher training in Waycross, Georgia. The purpose of this training was to equip teachers to differentiate learning for their students.
As a teacher, I firmly believe that all students can learn but I also believe that the learning process happens and occurs, for each of them, at different times. Our presenter kept referring to her students as the “Got Its”, the “Shakies”, and the “Lost”. Basically those who have a full knowledge of what is being taught, those who have a weak but working knowledge, and those who have no knowledge of the concepts being taught. One of the strategies we learned yesterday was endearingly called, “The Invitation”. The speaker shared that she borrowed this from church. She presented the information just as the a pastor will present Christ and then she invites the students to come forward if they want or need to know more.
We do this in churches every Sunday.
We present Christ and we offer Him to those listening. We invite and we expect but sometimes we forget one major concept. We forget, or overlook, that everyone’s appointed time is not the same. We may pray for years and years for a person to come to Christ or we may say one prayer, it seems, and that person is ready to change and experience salvation. However, just like this strategy in teaching we have to consider that not everyone who needs the help will come and even those that come may still need even more individualized help or attention.
As educators we are trained to know that life experience, gender, socioeconomic levels, etc. all play a part in learning. However, do we consider all these things when we are trying to disciple or train people spiritually?
In almost every career or professional field the people who are new, to the field or company, receive intense training and mentorship. Mentors walk their mentees through the day-to-day processes.
They lead them through the steps of “what to do and how to do it” and “what not to do and how not to do it”. Do we as Christians reach out in this way?
We are guilty, myself included, at times of forgetting the struggles we once had and demanding that people move at our pace when our pace may have once frustrated someone else. Why do we demand that people move on our timeline or within our timeframes? Do we know the places people come from? Do we know the lifestyles they have been exposed to for their entire lives? Do we understand what it is like to make bad decisions for good reasons?
Do we consider that not everyone experiences an instantaneous deliverance or breakthrough?
Do we act with condemnation by not considering God’s grace?
Do we require perfection while being imperfect ourselves?
Just as each child in a classroom is different; so is each person who comes to Christ. Some people know Him as their Savior. Some may have heard of Christ; they have a working prior knowledge of who He is but they have never fully applied what they know. Others have no idea of who He is or how life-changing His love really is and can be in their lives. It is our responsibility to not only give the invitation but to also be patient with them during their process and willing to teach them from our trials and transparency.
Presenting someone with Christ is much more meaningful when we walk with them through the experience as opposed to exposing them and leaving them there to figure it out alone.
We must be mindful to cover those around us and to demonstrate the patience, the unconditional love, and the grace of God. Many people desire to learn about God but how can they learn if we are not teaching.
We can show them better than we can tell them but we must consider where they are and help them find where they are going.
See the Sunday, September 25, 2016 edition of The Douglas Enterprise.