Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lectures

Sorry I've been absent here.  I'm co-authoring another blog for a few weeks; check it out:  http://angieandbeth.wordpress.com/   Between that and meetings and preaching and talking with my family (where all four of us often talk at once), I haven't had many more words.  The 4-year-old is quite advanced with his vocabulary; the baby is a full year ahead of where she's "supposed" to be verbally.  It's never quiet in the Frame house.  The four-year-old was interrupting us recently.  Dad said, "Buddy, wait a minute, we're talking." 
He said, "Talking's no fun." 
I said, "Then why do you do it all the time?!"  Yes, that is the pot calling the kettle black.


I remember an exercise I did in undergrad, when we prospective teachers listed different techniques or manners of teaching.  Then we listed how much prep time each technique required.  Then we identified which techniques were most effective for communicating information that sticks.  Lectures take the most prep time and are the least effective, yet countless teachers, managers, and trainers still rely on this teaching style. 

I distinctly remember tuning out lectures when I was a teenager.  I didn't want to hear it.  It's not that I thought the information was wrong; I didn't care if it was right or wrong; I didn't want the lecture!  I try to keep this in mind as I interact with students at church.  What they learn on a mission trip, or from what a peer says in small group, or from working alongside me doing church ministry will stick with them, change them, and be way more effective than any lecture I deliver--whether a sermon to a group or a one-on-one pastoral conversation.

I also keep this in mind when talking with an adult who wants to help out in student ministry.  When I hear phrases like, "I'm good at speaking truth into their lives," alarms go off.  When I hear, "I made so many mistakes as a teenager, and I've learned so much that I can share with them, " alarms go off.  And I hear those phrases, particularly that second one, A LOT!  How many well-intentioned adults have bored teenagers to tears and pushed them to tune out and put up defenses by trying to share all they learned from their mistakes as teenagers?  It happens everyday! 

What I want to do, and what I want other adults involved in our student ministry to do, is to live WITH, to talk WITH, to serve WITH, to worship WITH our teenagers.  I'm not interested in our students being talked TO and lectured TO any more than they already are.

I was reminded of all this recently when someone decided to lecture my mom.  I may write about that soon, too.  The lecture was ineffective, to say the least.  And I fought through my desire to return the favor and to deliver a lecture of my own.  I was up at night writing and editing this lecture in my head.  I never delivered it.  In part, because I'm a chicken who hates conflict.  But mostly, because my lecture would've been no more effective than the one my mom received.  Instead, I chose to live WITH this other person, and I intentionally tried to speak volumes with my actions instead of my mouth.  I have no idea if it worked or not.

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