Lead Grow Go

Teaching Engine #2: Generative Themes

Many of us try to find a hook for our messages. Throwing out a good story or some shocking stats buys attention, at least for a time. Often these feel forced or contrived. We spend immense amounts of work and energy just to generate interest. What if there was an additional and more powerful way … Continue reading

Teaching Engine #1: Positive and Negative Triggers

We often believe that our program IS our ministry. This is fatal. Ministry is simply a vehicle for relationships, which are the core of any Jesus-centered ministry philosophy. The key here is to leverage programs to facilitate ministry. Otherwise students may be growing in spite of your program and not because of it. Every teen … Continue reading

The Most Annoying Noise in the World: Your Best Friend in Teaching

Got the car, loaded up, it’s a sweet ride with a powerful payload: the Word of God. Jam in the key and… nothing.

Spiritual growth and learning is just like a car in only one way. No engine, no go. And pushing is just too tiring all the time, not to mention far less effective.
Research shows that the engine of all learning is dissonance. Remember the guys in Dumb and Dumber and the most annoying sound in the world? One guy makes a noise and the other matches it, but just off a half step. The resulting noise demands response. We either run or attack. Our brains cannot healthily handle large amounts of dissonance for long periods. So we automatically strive to reconcile the two noises, also known as growth.

Many authors have written on this process. It has been labeled dissonance, disequilibrium, the problem, the disequilibrating experience, stress, the tension, etc. We might call it a process within sanctification. All agree that these are the driving force in learning and growth. Without it we are dead in the water.

So what do we do? Do we create tensions and crises in our teenagers to cause spiritual growth? Artificially aggravating the already unstable state of some teens raises ethical issues. The good-news is that three sources of dissonance exist in teen’s lives. These sources provide a readymade question and a motivation for teens to learn. In most cases, our teens are already searching, seeking and addressing these issues. In these areas, the engine is running and we just need to help them steer. The following three blog posts will focus on how to leverage where God is already working. Three distinct avenues are available to us to help drive the learning of those we teach. Look for posts soon that will help you harness the inherent motivation in your hearers and learners.

Motivating Volunteers without Despotism

To give someone responsibility without authority is despotism. To give authority without support is negligence. I have been a negligent despot in my dealings with volunteers. And then I wondered why my volunteers looked bored or were hard to recruit. Because people work for free they work for a cause. “This also creates a tremendous … Continue reading

Recruiting Volunteers is about Developing People

  Recruiting is not about filling positions for an unpaid job. The way you recruit will be the way they quit. If you grab a volunteer in a hall or on a sidewalk, they may agree to help because of that offhand conversation. It is also likely that they will quit in the same way. … Continue reading

Asset or Resource?

People are not assets. Assets are used for a purpose. The problem is that once you spend them they are gone. We all have those people on our list we are saving for the really big favor: Middle school boys Sunday school. They will say yes but we know we can’t ask every year and … Continue reading

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