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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Simple Church Minute 63--humans do not learn well from lectures

63—humans do not learn well from lectures
My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute
            According to the National Teaching Laboratories in Bethel, Maine:  We retain 5% of what we hear in a lecture, 10% of what we read, 50% of what we discuss with others, and 90%  of what we teach others.  I think that the exact percentages of that statement would be impossible to prove, but the general idea is clear—the more involved we are, the more we learn.  Why do churches rely so heavily on teaching by lecture?  Particularly, given that First Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 11 tells us, “edify (or build up) one another.”
            Here’s an idea, even though it might not make some people feel good.  History shows that what Paul and others meant by the word “preaching” is close to what we now mean by the word “witnessing.”   It was directed toward not-yet-Christians, it was impromptu, and there was room for dialogue.
            After the Roman Emperor’s quote-unquote conversion, by the economic power of the Empire, the pagan tradition of speechmaking solidified as a practice in the church.  Many persons, male, some with an honest desire to serve God, and probably a few not so much, prompted the tradition.  Whether one is right or wrong, for many of us it feels good to have others just stop everything and listen to us.  This works more if they are friendly people, who won’t criticize us in public, or at all, without regard to how off-track we get, and we all make mistakes.  Every person needs another person to speak words of correction in one’s life, which we know is doing so for our benefit.  That is what dictators do not do; only God is right all the time.  In our culture, many sermons do not get above new believer level. Edifying each other works only when a group is far smaller than our culture’s traditional churches.
            You can email me at  For more info on organic church*, visit or locally at (local website).
On the recording, at this time, it says, “house churches.”  While that phrasing is OK, to say “organic church” is better.  I comment on that in blip 94.

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