Thursday, October 04, 2007


Tuesday was one of my best teaching days ever. I define best because I got an intuitive sense, based on the class engagement and questions, that lots of learning was happening about mission in Western culture. And since discipleship is about learning, and mission in Western culture is my passion, when things go well, I like to ask why. What processes help people learn?

1. It was our second week together. So relationships had been built and that sense of trust is essential.
2. The students came to the class having completed a 3,000 word case study. So they had an existing body of knowledge. More importantly I think, this knowledge was grounded knowledge. They had been asked to study an existing emerging church and it’s worshipping life. So these students have been thinking life and reality and not abstract theories.
3. A regular part of class had been dwelling in the Word, in Luke 10:1-12. As a class, we have read and re-read this text and in doing so, have been deeply challenged by Scripture.
4. Since our first week of class was in April, to allow integration and reinforcement, I started the class by asking the students to work on 4 questions that might help integrate lecture material with the case study work.
What were some of the practices shaping this emerging church?
What were the sources generating imagination at this emerging church?
What gospel/culture questions arose for you as you read about this emerging church?
What struck you as you “read theology” from a living community in contrast to reading theology from a book?

5. As the students gave feedback, I went into “devils advocate” mode. I forced them to consider Luke 10 and the case study. I pushed them to consider what this meant for their real and living communities of faith.

In so doing, in the conversation between Biblical text and case study, a whole lot of learning was triggered about worship and discipleship and conversion today. (Rather than providing answers to these questions, I have spent the last few days providing resources for the students to continue their journey: opening Biblical text, reading other mission case studies, bringing in dialogue partners to keep teasing out questions.)

So how did learning happen? Out of relationships, around case studies, in conversation with Scripture, aided by good questions. I checked this with the class before I posted it here and they nodded their heads.

Now can I take this to our teaching and discipling in churches? How like Sunday, how much of our discipling material, has this pattern: of relationships, case studies, Scripture and good questions?

Posted by steve at 04:48 PM

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