Let’s begin by asking “How did Jesus learn?”
I want to learn in such a group Bible Study.
We get the earliest glimpse of Jesus in the temple when He was twelve. How was Jesus learning as a young boy?
“After three days [his parents] found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers“ (Luke 2:46-47, emphasis).
Jesus learned actively in a group, aligning with the natural way God designed us as learners. Jesus was sitting in a group and listening with an open heart and mind, asking honest questions, and answering questions with understanding as an active learner. A strong desire to learn fuels growth. Luke sketches out this simple model for active natural learning and teaching that Jesus practiced. Both listening in a group learning setting with understanding and mutually asking/answering questions are within the reach of each of us.
And how does this stack up with what you and I have experienced in learning?
The only time we cannot learn is when we forfeit our listening hearts as lifelong life-learners. “I can’t” shuts our minds down and snuffs out creativity. “I wonder how…” unlocks the latent, God-given abilities within and opens up possibilities as agile, adaptable disciples. A listening ear prepares an understanding mind and a responsive heart.
The Outlier claims that it takes 2,000 hours of “deliberate practice” to become a world-renowned expert, preferably under the eye of a good coach. The same process makes a competent learner and doer of the Bible, just in fewer hours.
Are you willing to invest 10-15 minutes each day in a “DiscipleMaking Companion”? This would mean 70-100 minutes per week for forty weeks (40 weeks equals 5-weeks for each of the eight “Companions”)?
If we claim that Jesus Christ is the most important person in our life, it seems like a small love-commitment. And doing this together with a small group of friends accelerates impact…as long as we put what we learn into practice. Doing God’s Word is the most crucial part of really knowing it (James 1:22, thus the acronym “DID” method).
Let’s make this personal to our learning.
Here is a quick word-association game. Please participate actively. Ready? Popcorn responses! What is the first emotion that comes to mind when you hear the words “school” and “learning.” Yes, be honest!
For me, learning has always come easy…until we went to Germany to learn German as missionaries. No openings were available in the basic course, so I jumped to the 2nd level since I learned well. In the first 15 minutes in the first class, we blew by every last bit of German I had learned. All of it! That semester was so threatening. I learned what it was like to come in each day and fail in a learning environment. Fortunately for me, the ten others in class were very embracing.
Some of you may have struggled often in school, perhaps always in school settings like I did in German class. Think with me. Do you think the God who created us as lifelong life-learners created us to be educationally deformed? I want to give hope because God designed us to be learners. Look at a two-year old. How does a two-year old learn?
- Life-related desires drive their learning (they learn to crawl because they want the toy just out of their reach).
- Questions are such a normal and integral part of their young lives. We parents often get weary of answering…or even a bit irritated, yet questions are essential for healthy learning. “What’s dat, daddy?” “Why?” “How long till we get there?”
- “Heh, Poppo, I know what! Let’s play…!” prefaces a learning opportunity initiated by one of my grandchildren. A sense of wonder and joy, of playful enthusiasm and innocent curiosity, characterize what they do.
Four Motivational Conditions to Accelerate Learning
Research points to at least four key, underlying conditions that release inner motivation. These inspire adults to become lifelong life-learners. “Companion toward LifeChange” strives to incorporate all four towards active, natural learning, like God designed us for.
1. RELEVANCE: Demonstrating value by relating learning to life.
3. BELONGING: Connecting with each other accelerates growth in a group Bible study.
4. COMPETENCE: Experiencing growing competence in skills,values, and/or character powerfully motivates learning.
What would it be like to develop a learning environment that included all four of these intrinsic motivations to learning? Would you like to be a part of such a group? I would!
The more we understand the basics of how God designed our brains to work, and what accelerates learning, the more motivated we become to learn from Scripture. And to help others learn. Cutting edge scientific studies on how people best learn and how our brain works interweave themselves throughout the “DiscipleMaking Companion.”
Now our hard work brings more spiritual return in our group Bible study. We choose to align with high-leverage learning and it shapes and forms us. Together with our hard work in a collaborative group, these “Companions” can move us as learners from Jesus’ first training tier of “Come & See” on to the higher commitment in “Come & Follow” and then on to Jesus’ “Come & Be with Me” training tier (see Disciples Multiplying Disciples).
For other articles that support our foundational growth, I like the blog in this link.