Thoughts on Teaching Youth

Posted 9/27/2001

A couple thoughts on teaching young people, edited from an note sent to a friend:
1. Getting the young people to talk. This is tough, and this is also a weak point of a fill-in-the-blank outline: the young people are trying to guess what you want in the blank. I really try to avoid getting them into the mode of coming up with the single "right" answer. I try to structure my lessons and questions such that I can use their answers and move on with them, and not convey the idea that my answer is the only right one.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating right by popular opinion! The vast majority of my questions have to do with reading one or more passages, then fishing for answers from those. Also, because of the backgrounds of most of the young people, I generally ask non-normal questions - I try to get them thinking beyond the obvious.
Anyway, where I was going with that is that you might be feeling rushed, and you don't give them time to respond. By that I mean you don't stop talking long enough for them to speak up, even though you may be asking them for their feelings.
2. Scripture, scripture. You can never have too much. Nobody can refute the power of the Word of God, and I make it my goal to make it clear that is what I am teaching. I do my best to clearly distinguish my opinion / interpretation from the clear truth of the Bible, and insert my opinion only sparingly. I'm also a firm believer in the incredible value of the Bible as its own commentary, and use that as my primary line of reason when trying to understand confusing passages.
I hope I haven't come across as too critical - I'm trying to be careful and thorough with my explanations so you understand where I'm coming from.