Is It What You Teach Or How You Teach It?

As Spring gears up we’re getting ready for the Summer, which means preparing for the Fall.  That means two things:

  1. Evaluating our systems and structures this past year.  What this means is looking at our programs and asking questions like, “We’re the students engaged?” and “How is the flow from message into small groups?”
  2. Looking at future message topics and themes.  Basically, what is the information we want to cover in our small groups and messages for the next year.

It’s quite a lot to do and very important.  We want to make sure we are covering the main themes of our faith, but that we are also being an irresistible environment, presenting consistent opportunities and forming authentic relationships.  So to manage all of that with the same heart, mind and energy is impossible.  Something is going to win out…so what is it?
Argument For Systems – You could spend hours researching awesome resources but if you don’t have the environment or the programs to teach the material then it will all fall on deaf ears.  While the wisdom we want to pass on is important we need to know how to pass it on without coming off like an extension of their school day.  Our ministries need to be engaging, inviting and irresistible.  A new believer could get intimidated by the wealth of knowledge if not presented in the right manner.

Argument For Curriculum – You could have the most energetic and dynamic program known to man; however, if it isn’t bleeding truth then it’s shallow.  Teens are thirsty for hard, deep truth that they can sink their teeth into.  There is so much misinformation out there and we need to carry the burden to share truth at every waking moment.  There is no time for fun and games when you think about how much time you actually have with them.  Even if you meet an hour a week that’s only 52 hours in a year…you can’t waste it on an icebreaker.

While it’s stupid to hang onto an extreme we need to figure out how to balance the tension.  But no matter how great you get at doing that, I’m sure some of us will lean one way over the other.  While it’s important to have dynamic programs, they do need weight.  And while you want to speak truth at all costs you need to be skilled at sharing it in a way that’s engaging and memorable.  But again, we all lean one way, so which way should we lean?

What’s more important?  What you teach or how you teach it?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I think the solution is trying to equally do both, but not in the same program (that’s impossible). For us, we try to offer some programs that are more centered around the “irresistible environment” and relationship building and other programs that are more focused on the content. That’s exactly why we developed the “Reach. Feed. Send.” mission statement: the REACH programs are more about the system, the FEED programs are more about the curriculum.

  • Michael, I think it’s great that you have it broken down into your mission statement. You are right about the balance and having dual efforts will help create that. I’m wondering what others do to reach these same goals.