Did you ever notice that some of the most important conversations Jesus had with his Apostles occurred when they were moving from place to place or eating a meal? That’s why disciples in the ancient world left their lives behind to follow master teachers or rabbis from place to place. They realized that learning just didn’t happen in times of formal instruction. More learning occurred in conversations while traveling or eating together and from watching how the teacher interacted with others and lived his life.
Your Bible students probably won’t drop out of school to follow you around all day, but you can create additional “in between” moments to give them more opportunities to learn from you what God wants them to know and how to put it into practice living a Christian life. (Let your motto be like the Apostle Paul’s, “Imitate me when I imitate Jesus.”) Not every one of your students will be able to take advantage of every “in between” moment you create, but if you can offer them regularly, eventually everyone will be able to participate.
Here are some “in between” moments you can create to give you more informal teaching time with your Bible students.
- Field trips. Field trips provide lots of in between moments, from travel time, to meals and snack times to the experience itself. Museum exhibits of artifacts from Bible times and places, zoos, parks and other similar places make great field trip destinations.
- Meals and snacks. Have your class over for a picnic in your back yard, or invite a couple of students and their families over for ice cream. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Meals and snacks give lots of opportunities for conversations.
- Service projects. Service projects are great for teaching and modeling serving others and sharing your faith. They also have a lot of the same “in between” moments as field trips.
- Hikes and walks. Most trails are wide enough to only allow conversations between a couple of people at a time, but getting there and back, water breaks and the like can provide more opportunities.
- A cup of “coffee”. Teens love coffee shops, even if their drinks usually have more sugar than coffee. The atmosphere in coffee shops feels grown up, yet encourages relaxed conversation.
- Baseball games. Sorry baseball fans, but baseball probably has more down time that any popular sport. You can have entire conversations while a pitcher tries to prevent a runner from advancing while he pitches! Plus, on a beautiful day, the atmosphere of a baseball stadium is relaxed and just encourages conversation..
- Gift discovery experiences. This varies from experience to experience, but a lot of places that provide chances to try things like painting and pottery have a lot of gaps where conversation is allowed.
Any experience that allows time for leisurely conversation – even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time allows you to have more time for informal spiritual instruction. For some of your Bible students, that extra instruction can make all the difference in the world.