From CEO of Church Excellence Framework
We are pleased to announce the introduction of another blogger to our team who comes with extensive experience coaching pastors and working with church growth tools. He will be blogging shortly.
Part of the framework is to communicate good learning and development techniques so we see quality disciples being made. Without this we can be under the illusion that we are making disciples. This is a tragedy if good learning is not taking place.
To do that it is critical that ministry workers understand principles of adult learning. So we have listed some key points here.
# Adults require a great deal of motivation –they need to know why they need to learn something. This is so important to keep reinforcing in any learning intervention particularly how it links with the strategic plan.
#Adults have a strong self-concept- adults learn they are responsible for their own learning. As such they resent others imposing their wills. We need to present the material in a way that respects and consults the learner. This may be done by: –
- Involving participants in the process of identifying needs and in the planning
- Encouraging the learning process to be more of a mutual responsibility where the trainers role is more of a facilitator and co-inquirer
- Helping the participants to manage their own learning and self-evaluate.
Adults come with lots of personal experience. Adults often have a well-developed sense of values, attitudes and knowledge, which can make them less, open-minded. The implications for training are:
- Relate new situations to past experiences
- Respect past experiences as an active component in learning
- Recognise prior learning and don’t ask them all to start in the same place.
- Employ training methods that use the learners experience e.g., role plays, testimonies
Adults are under pressure- so they want to learn things that relate to their concerns or immediate issues. By focusing on these concerns and restating the learning process in terms of these immediate needs, learners will be more open to receive training. This may require consultation with the congregation
Retention of Information Presented
The facts speak loudly that we need to involve people in learning interventions and not just speak to them. If we do speak it has been shown that on average 20 mins is the maximum for retention.
If we do use speaking it is better to contain vital elements such as power points, application questions and some interaction. Talking heads can be a poor way to learn particularly if there are multiple sessions such as in a conference.
We know there is power in God’s word to transform but we also need to ask what percentages of our sermons are actually talking about scripture to quote this reason?
The standard lists some creative ways of engaging particularly in Sunday services. Here are some more: –
- Webinar software
- Twitter or text message sent from congregation asking questions that pastor answers ( so can be filtered)
- Q and A from Microphone
- Ensuring themes to build on material
- Books and handouts recommended on a theme to ensure the learning are reinforced for those interested.
- Banner at back of the stage to reinforce a theme
- PowerPoint presentations with main points which are then reinforced at the end of the sermon
- A handout with application questions to ponder through the week
- Asking for a response for people to come forward after a message
- Moving the worship so that it can be used as a reflection time for God to speak after the sermon.
- Interspersing testimonies in between a message (a page on the website can collect testimonies on ongoing basis). Video testimonies can be powerful.
- Panel discussions.
- Sheet given to guest speakers as to the minimum requirements in terms of presentation( eg title, summary ,application, powerpoints, bible references)
Action Learning Illustration
Action learning is a buzzword that is currently being used to demonstrate different ways a learning intervention can be presented to ensure quality learning. The diagram below shows some elements. The more that are incorporated ,the more dynamic the learning. TALKING HEADS are not a good style when it is overused. A lot of churches are now bringing in shorter 20 min sermons with other tools to incorporate learning.
Examples of how to empower others: –
- Ask them what their passion, calling, gifting, past experienced are and help them move closer to this. An individual meeting can be offered to ascertain this and facilitate the use of their gifting. See checklist at Tools note 1, as a tool for use.
- Provide resources, contacts and authority for them to act. Check how they are doing and if you can help overcome any obstacles .ie use coaching skills to empower them.
- Be willing to trust and delegate and work through their learning issues. You were given a break when you were learning. Church is not meant to be a professional organisation but a learning organisation with a sovereign people so all are entitled to play a part and deserve to be trusted initially. With a good interview and management process any people not suited for a role can be directed to a more suitable position rather than excluded initially until they have proved themselves. This can be very demotivating to new people.
- Check how much you are not delegating in the name of protecting your people or not trusting. The world needs empowered Christians. Doing is the best way of learning.
- Encourage them to serve as a way of engaging them. If they are not right for the role then be bold and find something more suitable but don’t let this be a reason to not empower them in the first place. We are all the priesthood of believers so have a right to have a part in a church.
- Encourage those with authority not to ask permission on small items so small issues are not overburdening senior leaders.
- Encourage people to give prophetic words to each other.
- Find out what the person you are empowering is doing and coach them to find their own solution ( as opposed to offering unsolicited advice or assuming you know what the problem is without confirming it )
The framework contains lots of notes to help you implement the principles and draw on the vast expertise of many researchers and implementors. Do contact us for the full version. At the moment this initiative is funded by personal benefactors so we are providing this at no cost. http://www.churchexcellenceframework.com/contact