You know what they say (whoever they are). The more things change the more they stay the same. Truth is, some things never change. I was recently thumbing through a copy of the church study course book Guiding Young People in Bible Study (W.L. Howse, 1955) and came across some things (a lot of things) that seemed wildly relevant and timely to working with students today. Now, we won’t get into the particulars of why I was perusing an old church study course book, but I wanted to take some time to share with you some of my findings. Who knows? Maybe I will share some more down the road, but for now, consider these:
Among the things listed as measures of successful teaching in a class (or group, my designation added) were:
Numerical Growth: “A teacher is succeeding if the members become concerned enough to join…in visiting (others).”
Attendance: “Normally, when a person is regular in attendance, (they) are interested in what (their class) is doing.”
Now, you may be thinking numbers don’t show us anything really. Although I would disagree with that assessment (we can get into that later), let’s look at other factors, non-numerical measurable, that were listed among the evidences of success for the teacher (leader, me again):
Attention, interest, and participation in the class (or group)
Evangelism (both with the lost and with believers)
Church membership/ affiliation with the body
Personal Spiritual Growth
The Growth of Religious Ideals/ Desire for Christian Living
The Development of Right Attitudes
The Achievement of Christian Character
The Expression of Right Conduct
Wow! This is great stuff! And it is a great reminder of how we might evaluate our effectiveness as we lead. It runs the gamut in covering the importance in connecting people with the community ad involvement in the church, the Truth of God’s word, in taking the Gospel to those in need, and seeing them come to faith in Christ and grow in Him. That is what we are to be about as we lead students in Bible study weekly.
So, next time you see an old book, I mean a really old book, don’t necessarily write it off as not relevant or outdated. It may still have something to say to you. Sometimes we think we were the first ones to think of these things, and that, somehow, we are God’s gift to teaching/ preaching and become reluctant to learn. It might just surprise you at how unchanging and constant the work we do with people is and challenge you to do the work you do well the more things change.