Learning: Acquire Through Experience


Kevin was recruited to teach in the youth department of his church. Not given any formal training, Basically, Kevin was handed a set of curriculum materials and told, “Go get ‘em.” After a couple of years in the youth department, Kevin was frustrated, burned out, and left his teaching position.

Unfortunately, this scenario plays out in too many churches. More on Kevin’s story in a moment. The dictionary gives a description for the word learning as To gain knowledge, comprehension, or mastery of; to acquire through experience.

The last part of that definition is “to acquire through experience.” Acquiring is the action of taking something on that is new and different making it part of your being. We absorb the new into our being. It becomes part of us, who we are. “Through experience” cannot be accomplished without action. Our actions are the means through which we display our behavior. A changed life is visible through the actions of the learner. Behavioral change is life change.

True learning occurs when an alteration of lifestyle or behavior pattern of the learner is evidenced in accordance with our teaching. One key factor: You and I are not the teachers. The Holy Spirit is our teacher. We are His instruments. Listening to the Holy Spirit causes life change.

Some months later, I asked Kevin to sit in on our adult class teachers’ meetings. He began attending the meetings and after a few weeks, I needed someone to teach one of our young adult classes that I was temporarily teaching. I asked Kevin if he would fill in for me. A month later, I asked Kevin to fill in again for the same class. Afterward, Kevin came to me and asked about teaching the class until I could find a permanent teacher. Kevin ended up taking the class and for the next few years, it was one of the best growing classes in the church. The class birthed four or five other classes, produced numerous teachers and Sunday School workers, and eventually birthed a new church in a neighboring county.

Kevin is not from Missouri but he is a “show me” kind of guy. Kevin was not easily convinced by word of mouth of his potential or the potential of the class to flourish. The principles and practices of teaching/learning and class growth had to be proven to him. As the class grew, Kevin would come to me and say, “I learned this from you…” or “You are the one that taught me to…” or “You said this would happen…” Kevin has grown eminently in his God-given abilities to teach and lead his class. What made the change? Was it because he had a good mentor? No, not at all!

Kevin attended training conferences, read books, and studied other material on improving his abilities. He knows the Holy Spirit is his teacher. He has learned to take the knowledge presented to him, gain a deserving understanding, then place it in proper perspective. Kevin has utilized God-given wisdom to put into action the application of learned knowledge. Kevin has experienced an alteration of behavior patterns for teaching/leading. He has experienced change and he teaches for life-change.

The Holy Spirit is our teacher. We are His instruments. Listening to the Holy Spirit causes life change. Whether you are a classroom teacher, a parent, or a business leader, how will you adapt your learning/teaching procedure today?

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