Let me introduce you to my favorite 1st Grade Teacher. She was not my teacher when I was 6, nor did she teach my son’s 1st Grade class (she was teaching 6th grade then). We struck up one of our many conversations about teaching and preaching as we were returning from a “working vacation.” Yes, I am married to this teacher, I continual learn a lot from Amy’s wisdom and insight even after almost 21 years of marriage.
Discussing how some of us who preach generally approach a topic or sometimes a situation within a congregation, she said that in the church we need to change from only using “spraying and praying” in our attempt to teach the truth. To “spray and pray” is an un-choked shotgun approach. We do this when we preach a sermon or teach a class and hope that those who need to hear the message will get it. We “spray” the message out and “pray” it reaches hearts.
Instead, she gave an alternative approach: “Reaching and teaching.” This method is knowing the individuals of the congregation and reaching them with lessons to help them. We can accomplish this is smaller classes aimed at particular age or social groups (singles, young marrieds, etc) and most effectively working with people on an individual level.
The more I thought about this the more I realized this is what Jesus did much of the time. Consider how he taught the woman at the well, Nicodemus, Zacchaeus, and His apostles. This is also the approach Aquila and Priscilla used to teach Apollos.
Thank you Amy, for reminding me how to be more effective as a preacher, teacher, and Christian who is concerned for the salvation of all.
The question is, “How can we best “reach and teach” instead of “spray and pray”?