One of our goals at Teach One Reach One is to analyze and research educational practices to find the most effective ones. We then take this information and translate it for ministries and volunteers teaching young people about God.
Occasionally, we discover a secular book that is so impactful, we encourage you to read it too. One of these books is Engaging Students With Poverty in Mind by Eric Jensen (Note: He has written a book with a similar title that goes more into the research and principles. The more important one to read is this one with practical strategies.). While the book is written for secular educators working with students in impoverished areas, it has crucial lessons for Christians.
Why? Because the excuses educators in public schools use when teaching children in impoverished schools are very similar to the excuses we make for our Sunday Schools and Bible classes’ ineffectiveness. They blame the parents, or the students attitudes – and so do we most of the time.
What Jensen’s research found is that an educator willing to do certain things can have a great amount of success with students regardless of parents’ or students’ attitudes and behaviors. While we don’t have as many hours with our students as they do, I still believe making these same changes he suggests will greatly improve the impact our Bible classes have on our young people.
The problem is, that it is easier for ministers, elders, deacons and volunteers to believe the excuses than to make corrections. At the end of the day though, we have to examine our priorities.
Are we taking the spiritual future of our young people as seriously as we claim to be doing? Or are we merely do the minimum, convincing ourselves it is acceptable, because God doesn’t even require us to do that much?
We need to realize we are fighting a war for the souls of our young people and the young people in our communities. Good enough has never been good enough. It is even less so now.
Read this book. Share it with others in your ministry. Talk about ways to implement some of the strategies in Bible classes for kids and teens. Train other volunteers to do the things that will help their students build those strong spiritual foundations and develop to their godly potential. It is absolutely worth your time and effort.
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