storytellers. As sources have often been
reported, today’s students respond well to
stories and illustrations.
Our students will relate to the real-life
testimonies of other students (as well as
people of all ages). That’s why the Regular
Baptist Press’s Real Faith materials feature
articles and photos of real teenagers—in
addition to RBP’s commitment to properly
divide the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2: 15).
It also encourages teachers to use personal
testimonies of parents, church leaders,
youth workers, and other Christians in the
flow of their lesson plans.
I fear that a current trend in Christian
education circles is to do away with the
sermon in lieu of interaction or discussion.
I recently visited a church as a guest speaker
and sat in on an adult Sunday School class.
The teacher began the session by asking
how many class members had read the
assigned chapter in the paperback book
the class had been studying that quarter.
Not one person responded positively. The
teacher then began to lead the class in a
discussion about the content of the chapter. No one had read the material, but they
discussed it anyway. It was a pooling of
ignorance. That illustration seems to summarize this current trend. Discussion is
exalted above presentation.
We must make the proclamation of
2. Instruction and Training in
God’s Word a priority in our ministries.
Through His Word God touches the
hearts and lives of His people. The truth of
Romans 10: 17 must be emphasized. “So
then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing
by the word of God.” Bible study must
never be only an academic exercise. We
teach the Bible so God can use His Word
to touch hearts. Hebrews 4: 12 tells us, “For
the word of God is quick, and powerful, and
sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing
even to the dividing asunder of soul and
spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is
a discerner of the thoughts and intents of
Teachers, we must clearly and creatively
present the truth of God’s Word. It is
the Word of God that changes people’s
lives. Christ, the Master Teacher, made the
presentation of His Word a major focus
of His educational strategy. So should we.
The Master also made it a priority to
teach His followers and students how
to live the way He wanted them to live.
This commitment to instruction is seen in
instances such as His washing of His disciples’ feet in John 13:1– 17. Christ’s classic
lesson to them is found especially in verse
15: “For I have given you an example, that
ye should do as I have done to you.” Christ
often taught through the use of examples.
He modeled what He wanted His students to do and then instructed them do
it. His purpose in this instance was not to
teach foot washing, but servanthood and
We see another example of Christ’s
instruction in His example to the disciples in John 4, the story of the woman
of Samaria. His students marveled at what
He was doing (John 4: 27), yet they once
again tried to change His focus to mundane, earthly things. The text tells us that
people from the city were on their way to
see Christ. The Lord looked around at the
grain and harvest, then pointed at the arriving crowd of people and exclaimed, “Lift up
your eyes, and look on the fields; for they
are white already to harvest” (John 4: 35).
His illustration was the harvest of grain,
but His intention was that His disciples
would see and understand the great harvest
The Lord also made ministry training a
key ingredient of His educational strategy.
Luke 10 gives the account of the 70 being
sent out, two by two. In that passage Christ
spoke about the great harvest and the need
for laborers (Luke 10:2). He gave detailed
instructions about what the ministry was
going to be like, and then He sent them out.
Luke 10: 17 records a wonderful response to
their ministry training: “And the seventy
returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even
the devils are subject unto us through thy
name.” His followers came back joyful, even
after going through seemingly difficult
ministry circumstances. It was tough to be
sure, but they returned “with joy” because
they were able to minister in the Lord’s
power and in His name. This important
principle deserves emphasis with our stu-
dents: ministry can be fun. Undoubtedly,
ministry is hard work, but serving the Lord
brings joy. Our youth ministries must be
more than just youth programs. Anybody
can run a program, but only God can bring
real joy through effective ministry.
Luke 9 records another account of min-
istry training. Christ sent out His students,
the 12 disciples, to preach (Luke 9:2).
Verse 6 tells us what happened: “And they
departed, and went through the towns,
preaching the gospel, and healing every
where.” The Lord made it His habit to
involve His followers in ministry as part
of their leadership training. He trained
them ahead of time, and He debriefed
them when they got back (Luke 9: 10).
Both practices are important to remember
with our students as well. Their ministry
endeavors will be more effective if we pro-
vide adequate training ahead of time and if
we help them evaluate and rehearse what
they learned through the experience after
they have finished.
One longtime youth worker made this
statement: “When a momma bird pushes
her little chick out of the nest, she’s
training. This kind of training interferes with
our lives of contentment. We’re not talking about a nice comfortable classroom,
where the lessons can be learned in safety
and written on a blackboard; we’re talking
about being pushed unwillingly out of the
nest, plunging toward our death, and being
forced to use wings we didn’t know we had.
That is Biblical instruction.”
3. Implementation and
Application in Practical Christian
The final ingredient of the Lord’s educational strategy was His commitment to
allow His followers to be the ones who
were left in charge of His worldwide plan
to spread the gospel. He spent only about
three years with the disciples, and yet His
plan was to leave them here to fulfill His
mission on earth. This plan was the focus of
the Great Commission in Matthew 28: 19
and 20. He gave them the mandate to keep
His enterprise going. Christ discipled them
It is the Word of God that changes people’s
lives. Christ, the Master Teacher, made the
presentation of His Word a major focus of
His educational strategy. So should we.