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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.