When I went to Bible college and seminary, the primary focus of my preparation for ministry was centered around transferring information and knowledge from one person to another.
It’s simple. The professor tells us everything they can about Jesus, church history, and what all the scholars think. Then as stewards of this knowledge, they taught us the skills necessary for us to communicate digestible versions of that knowledge to folks sitting in pews.
Having received this model of instruction, the church has more or less tried to replicate what happens in the academy in the streets. And to some degree, I think this is a good thing.
There is certainly a place for the formal instruction and the actual teaching of sound Christian doctrine. The proclaimed word is a powerful thing. We do have a faith with content to pass on and for others to believe.
How I Learned To Ride A Bike
But here’s the problem with strictly this type of learning. Most people in the real world don’t effectively learn this way. In fact, according to studies you will forget most of the things you learned within the first two years of college.
But you know what you don’t forget how to do after many years of having not done it? You never quite forget how to ride a bike. And how did you learn to ride a bike? By reading a manual? By listening to messages about riding a bike?
I learned to ride a bike by having someone actually show me how to ride a bike. And having been shown, I am now equipped with a knowledge I will never forget.
Catching The Faith
I believe Christianity is something that is better caught than taught.
Jesus did a lot of preaching and teaching in His day. But more than that, Jesus spent a lot of time simply hanging around His disciples. He walked with them, He ate with them, He went to parties with them, etc. Wherever Jesus was, His followers were always in His shadow.
Jesus didn’t simply stand up and lecture a few times a week to whoever would show up and listen. He lived his life out in front of others in such a way so as to show them how to ride their spiritual bike.
And being that we live in an age where we have no shortage of blogs, books, and sermons ever available for our consumption, I don’t believe Christianity is in need of yet another sermon. We are in need of individuals who can show us how to actually live a life of faith.