There we were sitting in a room listening to a presenter share about the dangers of lecture. He presented a list of the shortcomings of lecture and advantages of other teaching methods. He did it all in an hour and it was an informative lecture on the problems of relying only on lecture.
Let’s be honest. We all lecture. It is like that well-worn shirt sitting in the corner just waiting. Lecture carries less risk since we remove the chance of getting asked a question we can’t answer or don’t want to answer. Lecture also keeps us out of trouble because we control all the information flow.
As I sat in that conference enduring the presentation, I began to wonder about other ways that conference could have been structured. Here is my list of ideas:
- Provide the content prior to the conference and then led us in a discussion of the content, soliciting our reactions and solutions.
- Present a series of mini-lecture and invite us to add to the presented list or refine it.
- Present mini-lectures with buzz groups allowing us to illustrate or process the point being made with a smaller group.
- Place us in groups with different assignments with each group reporting back to the larger group (each group becoming an expert on one of the alternative methods presented).
The conference experience caused me to do some deeper reflection. I wanted to engage with the content presented. I needed to be able to process it for myself, but I wasn’t allowed to so I found a way to engage in spite of the presentation. My thoughts went to the different Bible study groups I have led over the years, wondering how many of them wanted to engage and process the content.
While it may be risky, moving beyond the lecture may be the greatest step we ever take to help the people in our Bible study group fully understand a Bible passage. The Group Plans found in the Adult Explore the Bible Leader Guides are being created with a view to helping the group engage with the Bible text and discover ways of putting the truths into practice. To do this, we must take the risk of leaving lecture in the corner, as uncomfortable as that may be.
G. Dwayne McCrary is the team leader for the Adult and Young Adult Explore the Bible teams, leads a weekly Bible study group for his church, an adjunct professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and carries 20-plus years of church staff experience.