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Teaching & Learning

What Is Our Church's Teaching Strategy?

Katy Kennedy

Written by Pete Lowman.

How can our church’s teaching programme be as fruitful as possible?

For the maturing of our church we need a long term strategy that helps our members grasp a broad range of the key issues in life, doctrine and discipleship. 

But what are those `key issues’? What are the issues we would feel uncomfortable about if someone said: `I attended your church for seven years, and yet I never received any serious teaching on [... prayer, sex, money, work]`?  Or indeed: `I attended your church for seven years, but the only teaching I ever got on [prayer, sex, money, work] was a five-minute application of a passage that gave me no more than you can do in five minutes’?

(For example: some of our own church members felt speechless when good friends who were lesbians asked why they couldn’t have a baby dedication in our church.  So that’s an area we had not taught about effectively.)

Below we’ve attempted to make a possible starter-list of `key issues’.  There are about 70. (Our first attempt at such a list was considerably longer; some topics we’ve omitted are vital ones but we felt they were likely to be well covered in almost any year’s expositions, eg the lordship of Christ or the importance of holiness).  

We suggest it’s reasonable to aim to cover each of these over a specific number of years.  But experience shows we need to be concrete; that is, each year the church leaders make it a deliberate goal for that year to properly teach a proportion of these, along with Bible exposition.  (In some cases that might well be a short topical series, say at the end of a series on a Bible book.)

The choices should be made early in the year so that they genuinely happen!  Planning ahead also makes it easier for a particular topic not only to be preached on a sunday but also to be explored in homegroups.  (And it gives time to think about relevant books to recommend, possible handouts, etc.)  The preacher might help the homegroups by offering a discussion outline – either writing one themselves, or getting someone else to do so.  In this way we can learn about the issue both through what can be gained in a large-group, preached context, and also through the small-group, practically-applied context.  The result will be that the `people of God are thoroughly equipped for every good work’, both with a well-informed `big picture’ and also with the personal life-connection that comes from discussion.

Every church will have its own set of priorities that will shape such a list. But here is a possible list for coverage (obviously not in this order!) over a certain number of years, perhaps between five and eight years.  (Of course some of these topics deserve returning to more frequently than that; but the idea here is to start to ensure breadth in our learning.)  How can your church improve on this list?

 

Gospel basics:

What is God like?           

What's gone wrong with the world? (the fall, the human problem)

Why did Jesus die?   

What is a real Christian, what’s the new birth? (the meaning of real repentance, and salvation by faith)

 

Reasons for faith:  

Why believe in God?

Why do we believe Jesus is God?

Why do we believe in the resurrection?

FAQs: Answering the most common objections (probably in a workshop format)

Why do we trust the Bible?

In a multicultural society is there really only one way to God? 

Science and faith

Why suffering?

 

The Trinity

Who is the Holy Spirit and what does he mean for me?

 

How can I be sure I'm a Christian?

Deliberately learning to grow as a Christian

Being filled with the Spirit 

Growing in Bible feeding

Old testament overview in 30 minutes

Growing in prayer

Prayer and spiritual warfare

Fasting

Growing in worship

Developing your God-given gifts, finding your role

 

What is the Church, the Bride of Christ?

Growing in church involvement (growing as a church member)

Caring for each other (including hospitality)

Church discipline

Caring for a younger fellow-believer (discipling/ followup)

Growing older, relating to the elderly

Learning to forgive, receiving forgiveness, learning to have a clear conscience

Why homegroups/ Growing as a homegroup member

 

Dealing with temptation: should I or shouldn't I, and how do I decide?

Coping with the media and the web

Suffering – why do bad things happen to good people, and how do I cope?

Mental/emotional wholeness; depression

Self-acceptance, self-worth, finding our identity in the Lord

How does God guide? - making godly decisions

 

Personal evangelism: why? what? how?

Reading the Bible with a not-yet-Christian

Relating to muslims

 

The Christian and work; the meaning of vocation

Materialism, ambition

Handling work pressures  

Stewardship of money, lifestyle, tithing, debt

Stewardship of time, sabbath, leisure

 

Being a better friend

Sex

Singleness

Homosexuality

The five love languages

Growing in marriage

Growing as parents

 

Why world mission? Growing practically in global vision

Overview of the gospel's state-of-play worldwide

What is the `missionary call'?- preparing to serve

The Gospel and secularized Europe; what’s encouraging? what needs doing?

The Gospel and the Muslim world

The Gospel and Latin America 

The Gospel and Africa

The Gospel and Asia

 

Healing

Prophecy

Tongues

Angels and demons

The occult, deliverance from past involvement, overcoming evil

Heaven and hell

The second coming and the end of the world: what will happen and what does it mean for us?

 

Social action issues:

Abortion

Global warming and care for the environment

Global trade justice

People-trafficking

Working for religious freedom

 

There are many other topics that could be included, but we have to be slightly ruthless in selection for this strategy to work. We will still need to listen for God’s direction regarding issues needing coverage now that we have left out…

 

Pete Lowman.

© Pete Lowman.