I got this email yesterday from a missionary in Ireland who is teaching the Person of Jesus study:
“We now have a nightly Bible study once a month and we have had on average 14-15 women each time. Plus, two Irish women who have NEVER led a Bible study before have taken the lessons and actually taught for the first time! Because the material is so detailed and the questions are spelled out, both women felt quite at ease and did an amazing job! Thanks so much for all prayers for us.
“This material is like a breath of fresh air to so many who have been “religious” their whole lives in Ireland, but have never known who Jesus really is!”
I thrill when I see emails like this, partly because I love to hear about Jesus being lifted up in other cultures and partly because it shows our strategy working at multipe levels. Here’s how….
1. I wrote the Person of Jesus manual for non-teachers. If they follow directions, they can be moderately effective. The manual shows a teacher, step-by-step, what they need to say next. Our goal is for someone to “teach better than they are”.
The manual combines the Socratic method of questions with a transferable style of teaching that can be duplicated world-wide. In our seminars, I describe this method as “Socrates meets McDonalds”. It integrates a right-brain questioning method with left-brain systemization.
2. Oddly enough, professional teachers sometimes struggle initially with the manual’s method because they are used to a sketchy outline and then they fill in the gaps. But there aren’t that many professional teachers out there. There are lots of Christians who are afraid to teach because they can’t see themselves as small group leaders. We hope to provide the ’software’ to help make that jump.
With that in mind, we’ve started to encourage pastors to bring both current and potential small group leaders to our pastors’ conferences. “Let us help you create your middle management.”
3. The other thing that thrills me is that this missionary sees our strategy of focusing on Jesus. The center of Christianity–Jesus– is also the most attractive part!
4. You can also see our marketing strategy at work. We focus on top-down marketing, getting pastors and Christian workers to our pastors’ conferences. This missionary came to our Cape May, NJ ‘04 Pastors’ Conference.
5. Finally, it thrills me to see the study working in multiple cultures. In the last several months, we’ve heard of the study being used in Ireland, India, Indonesia, Peru, and inner city Chattanooga.
Who knows what God might do?