Much to Offer

“I don’t have much to offer,” the aging, retired widower thought to himself as he sat down at the small table to address a few cards to shut-ins and sick friends. Placing stamps on the cards the widower walks outside to the mailbox still contemplating the preachers sermon. “Lord, I don’t know what I can offer. I don’t have much.”

He turned and saw his neighbor and her little preschool daughter. He waved and said hi! Both, the woman and her young daughter smiled, spoke and waved back.

A few minutes later he drives to the home of his long time friend, Fred, who now suffers from Alzheimer’s. Every Tuesday, he arrives around 10:00 and stays for a couple of hours, giving Fred’s wife a break and a chance to go shopping.

Fred’s wife asks her husband’s friend to stay for lunch where they share conversation and laughs. On the way home he stops at the store for a few things. It is starting to rain. He assists a young mother getting her groceries and children in her car out of the rain before entering the store.

Back at home he makes a few calls to his church friends and some retired work buddies, ending each conversation with, “I love you, and I’m praying for you.”

Before retiring for the evening he reads a couple more chapters from his Bible as every night. Then he turns to the passage his pastor preached from on Sunday. Reading it, he leans back in his chair, looking to the ceiling he prays, “Lord, I don’t quite understand what I can do for you. I don’t have much to offer. But if you’ll show me I’ll do what you call me to do.”

In the quietness of the night he receives this word, “I want you to keep sending cards. Those cards of encouragement carry my special healing for the heart.

I want you to continue bringing smiles to the parents and children in your neighborhood. Each smile shares my love with another soul.

I want you to keep visiting Fred and his wife. You are my messenger of hope and comfort in that home.

I want you to continue doing good deeds for others – in parking lots, grocery stores, and everywhere you go. At these times you are a courier of my love in action.

I want you to continue praying to me for your friends – churched and unchurched, and continue calling them. Here, you are my advocate and my seed sower.

Most of all, I want you to continue spending time with me each day. If you will , I know you will continue doing for me as I call on you each and every day.”

This is Mission Minded Ministry.

We all, young and old, have much to offer. The question is how are you using what God has given you to offer? Share His love this day and every day of the year with everyone you come in contact.

Merry Christmas

Santa’s People Know the Mission

In their book The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus, The Walk the Talk Company list several traits of leadership and use a narrative by Santa himself to describe those traits and the importance in an organization.  While I had this book for quite some time before I read any portion of it, when I did pick it up I was impressed with the delivery of the information. Using a fictitious organization (the North Pole), that everyone from our childhood has a perception of, the authors use generalizations of each trait of leadership that the reader can conceptualize. Then, hopefully each person can relate that trait in his or her own organization.

One of the first traits the authors write about is mission. Perhaps you have attended conferences or had denominational (or organizational) leaders come into to your ministry/organization and remember the first thing they spoke of was mission. It matters not what industry or ministry you are in, you must know your mission – Why are we here? – What do we hope (or plan) to accomplish? Without a mission you have nothing to aim for. Without it you may find yourself and your organization stretched in ten different directions, draining resources without forward advancement. Mission brings focus to your organization.

First, do people in your organization know the true mission of the organization? Can they quote the mission statement (if you have one) or at least accurately paraphrase the mission in their own words? If not, some training might be in order. Make it fun and even exciting. Sponsor friendly competitions, offer small, but fun rewards for learning and using a mission statement inside the organization.

A second point of value is for each person to know and understand his or her part in fulfilling the mission. Do your employees, volunteers, members, know and understand exactly how they are specifically needed to fulfill the mission. In many organizations members and employees are not aware of their direct contribution to fulfilling the mission of the organization. This lack of awareness leads to a non-willing approach to contribute. Equip and educate each person in the organization on their particular role – using his/her gifts and talents in leading the organization to fulfill its purpose.

A third point of value is for each individual, once they know their part in leading the organization to fulfill the mission, is to understand how the parts work together to accomplish the end result – fulfilling the mission. A team approach is always a best practice. Individuals can accomplish certain tasks. However, no one individual or group of individuals can accomplish the amount of a group working together as a team. You will see lights go on in people’s heads and a new found effort at teamwork when you can successfully demonstrate how each piece fits together and together everyone accomplishes more.

And lastly for this writing, keep the mission in front of the people. Whether your mission is building thing-a-ma-jigs, or fulfilling the Great Commission, the mission needs to be ever present in front of the people of your organization. In fact it needs to be publicized beyond the walls of your organization. This is how you grow your organization. Continually find ways to keep it in front of the people of your organization; in print, video, musically, visually, verbally. Utilize people and means that reaches across the various learning styles of those in your organization.

Mission is only one thing, but it is a very important and critical piece of successfully accomplishing the undertaking of your organization.

For more on this topic and how to assist your church or organization contact George Yates and visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Building a Strong Small Group – One key element

If you want your church or small group to grow there is plenty of information available to assist you. There are lists and books by various authors such as, The Ten best…The Seven Ultimate…, The five Essentials. Pastor, Dr. Fred Luter If we’re going to grow we, 1. must be a people of the word; 2. must have leadership accountability, and 3. must be discipling. All of these are good and each one valid for assisting churches in keeping to the plan of God for fulfilling the Great Commission.

One of the essentials that I believe is part of everyone’s list involves building relationships through regular gatherings. These gatherings can take on a variety of faces, fellowships, ministry projects, activities, and mission trips to name a few. In Dr. Luter’s list these gatherings can come under each one of the three essentials. It is biblical and practiced in the New Testament (Acts 2: 42-47). Regular activities builds in friendly accountability, and should be an intentional discipling component.

Over the years I have written about scheduling and planning regularly (monthly) events and activities for the small groups in churches. I have even written about them seasonally giving examples using titles as, Cold Class Convenings for winter, Sizzling Summer Socials, Awesome Autumn Activities, and Sprouting Spring Sharings. No matter what you call them it is important to schedule them. People take ownership where they are accepted. People feel accepted where they can participate where they are comfortable, using gifts and talents they enjoy using.

People feel accepted when they can belong. Belonging and acceptance is the third level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need and it is where most people enter your church. They are looking for acceptance and a place to belong. When someone first attends your church or small group they need to begin developing one new relationship (with someone in your organization) within 30 days or they will not stay. The more relationships they can foster, the stronger bond of acceptance to the organization. These regular scheduled activities serve as one of the greatest means of fostering relationships.

A new comer or unbeliever working beside a committed believer at a community event, such as cleaning the park, will have the opportunity to interact on a personal level, building a new friendship and seeing Christianity in action. Likewise, a new comer can see more of Christ sitting in someone’s home with ten to fifteen others, sharing a meal and joining in casual conversation than in a year’s worship services or Bible studies. I have lost track of the times I have heard, “That’s when I realized it’s okay to be Christian.” or something similar.

Whether it is fellowshipping over a meal in someone’s home (the Christmas season offers a great opportunity), a cook out, a ball game, raking leaves for the elderly, or other local ministry project, these small group gatherings are essential for establishing and fostering relationships as well as building friendly accountability and growing as disciples of a living God through New Testament living.

Not everyone will attend at first, but don’t give up. As those who attend share with others they will begin and you will see a new excitement and bond within your small group spreading to others in your church and your circle of influence. Don’t put it off. Why not start now? Plan your first one while it is fresh on your mind.

For more on this topic contact George Yates and visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.

 

A Grateful Heart

At the close of the worship service Sunday, our pastor challenged each one in attendance to consider one thing that we are grateful for, one thing God is doing in our life, and how He is using us, growing, building, teaching, and blessing us. Well, our pastor may not have gone into that much detail, but I certainly did. I could not help myself. I am truly grateful to God. I have many things to be grateful for, more than I can number – and I am very grateful. But the one thing that came to my mind sitting in that church service is Reaching the Summit.

In December 2008, while riding alone in my car, God asked me a question. It was one of those rhetorical questions coming from God. There was no need to contemplate it. God was not expecting a discourse on the various thoughts of the topic. Though not the actual question, the topic was, “Are you ready for your next step of faith?” Was I ready to leave a thriving ministry, serving among godly men and women in a work God was using? Was I willing to leave a solid based financial package for no guarantee of income at all? Because of what God had done in the past the answer was easy.

Six months later Pam and I were moving from California to Kentucky to begin a new ministry. By accepting God’s renewed call in the car that December afternoon I agreed to go where God led me; to work with churches anywhere I was asked as long as funding and calendar/scheduling allowed. Little did I know at the time where that would lead. (I’m still finding out each day and month)

In 2010 I began writing for my own purposes and ministry use (so I thought) insights and experiences I had seen throughout the past seventeen years as church consultant, coach, and staff member. I wanted to see correlations and similarities, warnings and cautions, as well as victories and effective ministry practices. Those personal notes became the book Reaching the Summit: Avoiding and Reversing Decline in the Church.

While the manuscript was going through the editing and pre-publishing stages at the publisher I was compelled to write an Implementation Guide to assist pastors and church leaders in implementing the practices and principles recorded in Reaching the Summit. The release date for Reaching the Summit was March 1, 2012. By the end of April I was asked to prepare a training program to equip others around the nation to lead churches through a Reaching the Summit process. To date we have equipped more than 100 coaches in various states and will continue to do so in 2015.

Every church that I know of whch has undertaken this Reaching the Summit process has experienced spiritual maturation, increased baptisms, renewal to the purpose of the Great Commission, and more. Not because of me, but because of the faithfulness and grace of our Lord.

Each step of the way, these steps that I have mentioned and the miracles and wondrous works in churches who have experienced this process, is truly an act of God – an experience I am truly grateful to be part of. So this Thanksgiving week I am thankful for many things. But most of all I am thankful for a God who is merciful to one such as I. (I know from whence I came.) Thankful that He would choose to use me and allow me to be part of something like Reaching the Summit.

What about you? What one thing are you grateful for God doing in your life right now? How is He using you or desiring to use you in his great manifold plan? He has a plan far greater than you can imagine and his blessings flow in proportion to how we follow and allow Him to use us in fulfilling His plan.

I gratefully await the coming months and 2015. What joy and blessings will fill my heart from my God and Lord of All?

For more on this topic and to find out about Reaching the Summit: Avoiding and Reversing Decline in the Church contact George Yates and visit soncare.net.

Finding True Restoration and Peace

As I was walking along the open pasture I stopped for a moment to look down the hill. I stopped at this particular point because I was looking down a wooded draw, a narrow strip of woods covering a low portion between two pastured hills. Beginning at the top of the hill where I stood it came almost to a point, with only one tree. But as I looked down the draw the wooded path widened, gradually, in proportion to the ravine emptying into a completely wooded hillside almost 200 yards below. The oaks and other broadleaf trees were mostly bare this November day. Their trunks and limbs different shades of gray mixed in with evergreens of all sizes and the multi-colored leaves on the ground, dead branches, and large rocks was truly a thing of beauty.

As I stood there I thought of how beautiful a sight it truly was. To some it might seem as a cold, barren woods; something to be avoided. But to me it was a piece of God’s creation that beckoned me and brought peace and joy to my soul. I love the outdoors and a sight like this, especially this time of year, is unmatched. I drank it in for a moment then continued my trek along the downhill pasture beside the finger of woods and walked into the wooded hillside where I climbed a ladder attached to one of the trees and sat down for an afternoon of quiet, peaceful, joy observing this small corner of God’s creation.

We all need a place, a hobby, or thing of rest and restoration. A place to go, to get away from the hustle and bustle of our normal busy lives. My wife retreats to a book. For me it is the outdoors, especially in the Autumn woods. Many people today attempt to finds this retreat in TV, watching sports, playing video games, surfing the internet, even gambling at casinos. None of these, in my opinion, can bring the restoration needed in our lives. They may give us a break, and take our minds away from the current turmoil in our life, but in most cases we are filling our minds with other “things” not allowing for the  needed clearing out for a brief time. Some even lead to addiction and create more anxiety in our lives. This is not the kind of break we need.

In a recent coaching session with a pastor whose life seems to be on overload, leading an 1800 member congregation, we were discussing his need for decompression, retreat, and restoration. I posed the following question: “Where is the one place you can clear your mind, set aside the ministry for a few hours and allow God to give you that needed break and restoration? Not to take a vacation and get away for two weeks, but that place (or thing) where you can go regularly for a brief visit? Following a few seconds of thought his response was, “the golf course.” I posed a couple more questions probing the idea. I know for me the golf course does not work. When I play golf, it is usually with other ministers and we talk about ministry most of the golfing venture. But I discovered for this pastor it truly was his getaway. He could set aside ministry and clear his head of the many daunting tasks at hand for a few hours, concentrating only on his golf game while enjoying the beauty of the golf course. Living in a warm, sunny state, he now sets aside Monday, his day off, and plays golf on a regular basis (weekly when he can).

God has given each one of us a passion. Somewhere in that body of passion we can find that place, hobby, or idea that can bring the rest and restoration we all need. Seek it out. Unearth your place and passion. Be certain it is doing something where you can sit all other things aside and not carry your burden into the activity. To be restored and refreshed you must have a change of venue and a change of mind. Also, be certain it is not doing something that might get you discouraged or disgruntled (as the golf course might for me). Here are a couple of questions to get you started.

What do you have a passion for that is totally separate from your normal activities?

Where is the one place you can clear your mind and set aside your normal life’s activities for a few hours and allow God to give you that needed break and restoration?

Could this lead to an addiction bringing more anxiety to my life? (social media, a visit to a casino, watching certain TV programs, video games) If so scrap the idea and begin again with the first question.

For more on this topic or coaching for a better life outlook contact George Yates and visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.

How’s Your Signal?

The purpose of a lighthouse is protection. It is positioned to protect seafaring vessels from destruction and running aground. The lighthouse is not mobile and cannot run to the rescue of others. However, the lighthouse is equipped with a bright light, a beacon, designed to shine and send a signal to vessels that might be coming close to dangerous areas of rock, and land mass. I believe you and I are to be lighthouses for the protection and security of others.

Each one of us has been strategically placed in life to be a protector of others. We are each equipped with a signal, like the beacon of a lighthouse. Some aspects of protector are easily detected such as being a parent. As a parent you know your role as protector for your children. In some situations you can run to your child and protect him. In others you guide and teach your child in what is safe and what is not. Throughout your child’s growing years you instill in him or her right and wrong, safety and areas of danger. Your desire is that when the child is not in your presence that your instruction and guidance in those earlier years will serve as a signal; a signal of protection just as the beacon from a lighthouse to those seagoing vessels.

This lighthouse effect is one area where every person on this earth has or will hold a leadership responsibility. It may be on the job, as a parent, an older sibling, on a sports team, or any number of other areas of life. We are all leaders and responsible for the protection, security, and safety of others. You may hold each one of these lighthouse positions at the same time. You may a parent, hold a supervisory position at work, be a volunteer leader at church, and coach or play on a sports team.

Each of these areas is different. The other people in your life, in each of these areas, are like different seafaring vessels looking toward the signal of the lighthouse. Each one is different, but each needs similar guidance. Each one is in need of protection from the rough and rocky terrain ahead. This is the reason the lighthouse exists.

The only way a lighthouse can protect each of these vessels is by sending the right signal. The question today is what signal are you sending to that co-worker, or those who report to you at work? Are they timid or terrified of you? Do they avoid you for fear of being bashed? Are they seeing in you the signal of which way to proceed to acquire not only a safe journey, but a successful voyage to the desired destination? Are you leading and guiding your children and grandchildren in the ways of this world or in the journey for eternal life?

The signal of the lighthouse is for every seafaring vessel that comes in view of its beacon. What signal are you projecting to those who see you daily and those who may pass by only one time on their own voyage? The signal you project is forecasting your leadership style and will have an impact on each and every one who enters your life, be it for a brief moment or a lifetime. Is the signal you are projecting casting the beacon, and ideal that you intend and that you were created to cast? How’s your signal?

For more information or to reply to this post contact George Yates and visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.

Organizational Decline is Most Often Self-inflicted.

Most organizations do not fall in one clear-cut, knock-down drop. There is normally a series of digression. An examination of the organization will, in most cases, show a departure from the original purpose and core values of the organization. The initial signs of decline may be subtle and ignored or explained away. This first phase can go on for several years without notice.

In the church for example, early decline in attendance is most always excused as, “We had several families move away.” Or “Several of our members passed away and their families no longer attend.” Another familiar line is, “Our senior adults just can’t get out like they once could.” A decline in financial support is often explained away with statements involving the economy or loss of jobs in the community.

In the above statements and most others given, the reasons are outward focused. All of the reasons have to do with outside influences. Our reasons (or excuses) are of outside influences that we have little or no control over because it is easier and less painful to excuse away decline as the fault of someone or something rather than to accept responsibility for something we did or did not do. Rarely is thought given to the possibility of impact from the organization’s leadership or ministry practices. We do not want to look inside. After all, it is much easier and less painful when we can find an outside reason for decline. When I was a child everyone liked playing “Pin the tail on the donkey.” But no one wanted to be the donkey. One does not take favorably to “pinning” something on oneself or allowing others to pin something on us. Whether we want to admit it or not, organizational decline is most often self-inflicted.

I believe there are phases of decline that the church or similar organization encounters. While the first two phases are normally subtle and slow at producing decline, they are critical as the years a church lives in phase one and two are pouring a new false foundation for the church. This false foundation is one of indifference and disconcerting mind-sets for church members and leaders alike. If this is not addressed and a course set for reversal, it will lead to an apathetic view-point for the unchurched souls of your community and beyond. Furthermore, it will catapult you into deeper decline.

Once this mindset establishes itself the self-infliction of decline increases and the further into decline a church recesses, the more in-turned the church becomes. In-turned means we become less and less outward focused and more and more content on doing things for the members inside the church at the expense of the lost communities we have been called to serve. The purpose or mission moves from reaching the lost for Christ, to “we’re here, we hope you come.” to “if they come they come, if not it is their fault.” to “why aren’t we growing, they won’t come.” to “I just don’t know what happened, we tried.” Organizational decline is in most cases self-inflicted. And oftentimes we do not even realize it.

The good news is every church can make a turn-around and experience reversal of declining trends as long as they act quickly enough. The truth however, is that most churches will slip through the phases of decline and not reach out for assistance until they are desperate and in such need to keep the church from closing its doors in dissolution. Do not be afraid to ask for help! It is okay to have someone from the outside use their skills and abilities to assist your church in becoming once again what God intended.

For more information on reversing declining trends (or avoiding these trends) contact George Yates and visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.

This post has been adapted from Reaching the Summit: Avoiding and Reversing Decline in the Church

 

Life’s Decisions

Each day our lives are filled with decisions. How can you know you are making the right decisions in life? It is said that Sir Isaac Newton was once asked how he made so many discoveries. His reply was that if he had seen farther than other people it was only because he had stood on the shoulders of giants who had gone before him. You and I can live the same conviction. There are lot of books on the market promising a better you and better decision making power. However, the best book of self-help, the greatest book for decision-making is in my opinion the greatest book of all time, the Holy Bible.

No matter what decision you may be facing today or tomorrow, look to the giants of the Bible and learn to stand on their shoulders. Abraham was told by God to leave his family and everything he was comfortable with to go to a place – well he did not know where he was going. God said (George’s paraphrase) “I’ll tell you when you get there.” (Genesis 12) Joseph was sold into slavery as a boy, by his own brothers, and later thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit. Yet Joseph stayed true to the teaching of God and ended up second (only to the king) in command in this foreign land. (Genesis 35-50) Esther was an unlikely candidate for a queen, yet she was selected by the king and as queen was used by God to save an entire nation of people. (Esther 1-10)

A young servant maiden (name unknown) risking her life told her mistress that if her high ranking husband would go to a specific prophet of God in the maiden’s former country, he would be healed of a terrible disease. This type healing of this disease had never before occurred or even been mentioned in any scripture or other writing. What prompted this young maiden to make such a claim? I believe she was standing on the shoulders of those who had gone before her, trusting in her God – the one and only true God. The diseased man went and was healed just as the maiden predicted. (2 Kings 5)

Each one of the stories mentioned above are great, encouraging, inspirational accounts and well worth the read. Scripture is full, from Genesis to Revelation, of giants who have followed the life principles necessary to make not only good, but great, solid, right decisions in all walks and arenas of life. Life has not thrown anything at you as an individual, pastor, ministry leader, or corporate personnel that God’s word, The Holy Bible does not give an account for making the right, solid decision. Follow His prescription and you’ll not only make the right decision today, but you will be poised for the next decision coming your way tomorrow and next week.

Stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before you by learning and following the true principles of life. They’re all found in God’s Word.

For more information on this topic see earlier posts from July 28, 2014 and October 6, 2014.

IFPAC – Complete the Learning Cycle

Last week the opportunity arose in two different meetings in different states for me to share IFPAC, something I wrote fourteen years ago in Teaching That Bears Fruit. A friend of mine, Barry Dollar, actually came up with the acronym as we were discussing how to help teachers create a true learning experience, though I changed one letter from his original version.  IFPAC is still as valid today as it was when I first wrote about it and worthy for all leaders, teachers, and equippers to know and understand. IFPAC is actually an acronym to remind leaders and teachers of how people learn.

Interest

Feelings

Principles

Application

Challenge

Interest – Create interest through an opening activity. Try to generate interest on an emotional level. Remember, for information to be processed into our long-term memory it must be attached to an emotion. We must realize an emotional benefit for retaining the information. People want to be part of something that is interesting and relevant to them in particular. You may get persons to attend once or even a few times, but if you cannot stimulate interest in your listeners, you will lose them. They will drop out and fall by the wayside. This is one of the greatest downfalls in most churches across North America today. The number one reason most adults give as to why they do not attend Sunday school is, “I’ve already been there.” There is no interest to attend because there was no interest created when they did attend.

Feelings – Feelings in our society today is another word for emotions. Know your learners. Examine their feelings. Ask questions as, “How do you feel after reading and discussing this?” or “What did this exercise bring to mind?” Learn the emotion of a question. Once you have reached them emotionally, you have reached their feelings, you have their interest and you have set the table for learning. True behavioral life-change learning can take place.

Principles – Allow the listeners to discover the principles for themselves. As we have seen through Jesus’ teaching and examining learning patterns, self-discovery learning is God’s built-in natural learning ability for us. Ask open-ended questions and wait for answers. Give assignments and let them discuss in small groups before bringing their findings to the larger group. Do not answer for them. Rather, guide the discussion in the right direction through their responses. Learning will take place when we allow our listeners to participate in learning. Self-discovery of principles and truths brings about behavioral life-change.

Application – Keep in mind, all of the content and information in the world is of no use unless the learner is able to process and apply it in their life on a daily basis. Create interesting ways to have learners answer the question. What are you going to do about it? How can you apply this in your life this week?  Use illustrations, object lessons, questions, practice, and teachable moments to allow learners to discover application for their lives. The more familiar we are with something being presented, the easier it is for us to grasp and understand. Beginning with our attendees’ prior learning assists in the learning experience.

Challenge – Each and every lesson delivered should issue a challenge to the learners, be it implied or verbally communicated. What is the desired outcome of the truths and principles of the lesson? The challenge is for each member to implement and integrate God’s truths and principles in their daily lives. The challenge must be strong enough to cause the student to be willing to reorganize his or her actions and intentions. That is behavioral life-change. Learners should leave each session with a challenge to commit to something that will draw them nearer to God. “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.” (James 4:8).

My first conversation last week was with a teacher following a Bible study session. There was good healthy discussion in the class and I thought this is good and when the teacher closes with a challenge (as listed in the curriculum) it will complete a good learning session. Then it happened. The teacher’s closing remarks went straight to the next set of scripture to be studied and the topic/truth the class would be discussing. There was no challenge, no mention of how to go and apply what we have been discussing. The topic was just dropped.

I was instantly deflated. A golden opportunity to complete a learning experience was missed. Therefore, it is doubtful that true life-change took place in any of the study participants. Issuing a challenge to complete the learning cycle and reinforce the discussion of principles and truths is a must for true, life-changing learning. To walk through a learning experience in a classroom, job setting, or other equipping opportunity without a challenge is similar to the following.

Imagine you decide to have a roast for Sunday dinner. You get up on Sunday morning, put the roast in the pan, clean and cut carrots and potatoes to add to the roasting pan. Following this you add water, salt, pepper, and other spices as desired. Ah, it smells good even now – before placing it in the oven. You adjust the racks in the oven to the right height, then cover the pan, place it in the oven and off to church you go. On the way home after church you can almost smell that roast in the car. You are so looking forward to roast,carrots, and potatoes you can’t think of anything else. Arriving home you walk in the door, walk over to open the oven door and realize the oven was never turned on. The roast is still sitting there uncooked.

Teaching or leading without issuing the proper challenge is just like the illustration above. You cannot expect the desired outcome without completing all of the five steps of IFPAC. All the other parts of the recipe can be spot on, but if you fail to issue a challenge for each person to live out the principle and truth of scripture, the lesson will sit as a roast in the oven that has no cooking ability.

Use all five elements of IFPAC in your leading and teaching. It will produce life-changing. This is Teaching that Bears Fruit.

For more information contact George Yates and visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.

Portions of this article are from Teaching That Bears Fruit, Guardian Press, 2001, 2007. Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com

 

Wisdom in Teaching

Stretching out from one corner of the room was a gold canopy. The canopy was placed about four feet off the floor and extended three feet from the wall. Attached to the wall on one end, it was held up by a pole on each corner of the opposite end.

Under the canopy was a straw floor. As I opened the door and entered the room a man wearing a colorful robe patterned after those of many centuries ago was coming out from under the canopy. His hair and beard were gray and full and he appeared to be a man of wisdom. Several of the children pointed to the canopy with awe as I entered the room. “Do you know who that is?” one asked as she pointed to the man. “That’s Solomon,” several of the children informed me with one voice.

I left the room and moved down the hall to another room. As I approached this room I could hear the noise of children coming from inside. As I opened the door the teacher was the only person I saw at first glance. The teacher had brought sheets from home. She had the children place all the chairs in the room in circles of four, each chair facing out. Then each group of three or four children covered one circle of chairs with a sheet (to make a tent).   As I entered the room all of the children were lying on the floor in their tent listening to the teacher as she described the events of the day’s lesson.

I exited and moved on to another room. It was quiet as I opened the door. Inside were two students and a substitute teacher, and a table. The teacher was sitting on one side of the table and the students on the opposite side. The teacher had his Sunday school book and Bible open as he read the lesson. The two students sat unenergetically with their books open in front of them.

All three classes were studying the same scripture. It was a lesson on King Solomon preparing to build the temple for God replacing the tabernacle (tent).

In the first classroom a live picture was being painted in the minds of the students. The story came to life for the children as it was told to them by Solomon himself (in character). Dramatization helps lock into the mind details and principles that we automatically adjoin to our existing beliefs and understanding. There was no doubt that learning was taking place that day in the first classroom.

The children in the second classroom were invited to be involved in the story. Make your tent, then lie in your tent as the Israelites did while we explore the lesson. Learning was taking place because children were involved in the lesson. The lesson came alive for the children in the second classroom.

I am not certain what learning was taking place in the third classroom. While I was in the classroom, the children did not look enthused about being there.

What was the difference? Why were the children in the third classroom seemingly uninterested, while the children in the other classrooms were excited and eager to listen? One key factor was involvement.

The learning retention scale for all ages demonstrates that retaining information is directly related to the amount of learner involvement. In other words we retain more when we are actively involved in the learning process.

The learning retention scale shows that we may retain up to 10% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, and up to 50% of what we see and hear. As the scale moves forward it demonstrates that we retain up to 70% of what we say and 90% of what we “do” (take part in) in the learning experience. The more you, the teacher, involve me, the learner, in the learning experience, the more true learning I will experience.

The word experience is a word revealing action. To experience something you must have some type of involvement If I am only allowed and expected to sit still and listen to the teacher, where is the experience? Involve your learners in each session you teach.

It is true this was three children’s classes. Yet, it does not matter what age you teach or who you lead, learner involvement is crucial in the learning process. If you are not allowing class participation – learner involvement – I can guarantee you there is no life changing learning taking place. Involve your learners in the learning experience. Let them experience learning for life change. Wisdom in teaching and leading comes from allowing, encouraging, and incorporating participation among class members and followers. Teach for life change. This is Teaching That Bears Fruit!