Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 31, 1968
NUMBER 26, PAGE 3b,5

From The Sons Of This World — (Fifth In A Series)

Lowell D. Williams

In the last article we compared the teaching procedures of the public school systems with those of most churches today. It was observed that while we are turning out a generation of unlearned Christians, the public schools are enjoying the most enlightened methods of teaching known to man. Since the "Sons of this world" are getting the job done in their realm and we have obviously failed in ours, why not study their system and copy their approach, when we find it better than the one we use? This article gives a few suggestions that we might put into practice, thereby improving our Bible classes.

1st. Use a qualified teacher. The preacher in any congregation should have at least two good qualities, as should the elders. He should have a good knowledge of the Bible and the ability to teach it effectively. This is the primary job of an evangelist, (though he is generally thought of as the man who makes hospital calls, visits old ladies, and councils those having marriage problems.) If a congregation is not taking full advantage of the teaching abilities of their evangelist, they are wasting his abilities. The chances are that each person reading this article has an excellent teacher available in the person of the local evangelist. If so, use him. Don't let George teach the Wednesday class just because the preacher has a class on Sunday. Use the best qualified man or men that you have available, and use them as often as you can. The men in your community don't take turns teaching the English class in your High School. They hire a qualified teacher and use him every day. Look on your evangelist the same way. Use him as often as possible. Make him a full time teacher.

2nd. Perhaps you can revise your present class schedule to make it more efficient. We have come dangerously close to accepting two services on Sunday and one on Wednesday evening as the binding scriptural pattern. There are no more reasons for having a Wednesday evening class than a Friday morning class. There are no more reasons for having one mid-week service than for having five such services. The Lord has not specified when or how many such services fall in the realm of expediency. The only reason for having any midweek service is to edify the saints, therefore we need to ask ourselves a simple question. Which night, or how many nights, will edify the saints most effectively?

Some churches have recently found that it is better to discontinue their Wednesday night services and replace it with three, four, or five nights of Bible classes. Some of the reasons for making this change are as follows: (1) By having their evangelist to teach several night classes, it removes the excuses of those members who do not attend the regular one mid-week service. Surely, every member can make arrangements to attend one night each week if classes are offered three or four nights every week. A day class (or classes) should be offered for those unable to attend at night, or who prefer day classes.

(2) The second advantage of this system is in favor of the mothers. They can attend one night and their husbands another night, and by so-doing will not have to wrestle the children all through the class. (What would a University do if a mother took her four children to a Biology class and spent her time wiping noses, running to the nursery, pulling Johnny from under the seat, etc.?) It is impossible for a young mother to learn Biology or Bible under such circumstances! Biology teachers have always known this to be true, yet the Lord's church generally forces every young mother into this circumstance. This practice is against every principle of education known to man. Mothers are mortal beings, and a mortal being must be able to concentrate on any subject before they can learn it. Thus, if the mothers and fathers attend separate classes, it multiplies their learning ability a hundred-fold.

Furthermore, any mother would much rather sit through an hour and half class where she can concentrate and learn, than through 45 minutes of "riding herd" on her children. By adopting this one procedure, any congregation could double their teaching time from 45 to 90 minutes. It would not only double the teaching time, but it will multiply the learning ability several-fold. The very worst we could do would be to increase the efficiency of the class by four-fold! It might also be added that the multi-class system could be practiced leaving the present Wednesday services as they are. The arrangements are unlimited and each congregation should set up a schedule to fit its own needs.

Another advantage of having several classes per week is to provide every young man, who desires to preach, the opportunity to learn the Bible rapidly. He would no longer have to attend a "Christian College" to learn the Book. He could do this within the framework of the local church. He could take all the classes offered in your program which would give him the same opportunity as going to college. Other ambitious men who must work full-time could take two or three classes per week, as their time afforded. This could soon develop them into fine teachers and preachers of the word. Such a schedule would enable every member to use his time and learning abilities to the fullest extent.

Some could only take one class, while others could take two, or more. Those young men among us who desire to be gospel preachers could work part-time, or be supported by parents or friends while studying full-time.

3rd. The quality of classes could be improved. No respectable school system would allow an unorganized class to be taught. This is the character of most of our classes, but it could easily be changed if the above system were to be adopted. A time schedule should be observed by each class. An efficient semester system, consisting of 21 weeks each, could be used. The Fall courses could run from Sept. 5 through Jan. 29, and the spring courses could run from Feb. 6 to July 1st. The summer weeks could then be utilized for shorter special courses.

A systematic time schedule is a valuable asset in keeping the teacher on the subject matter. He knows he must complete his class on a certain date, therefore he must make a lesson plan based on this schedule. He will not have time to roam "here and there," but will confine his time to the subject of that lesson. This will make the classes much more interesting and beneficial. All school systems, both public and private, operate on this basis.

In using this organized procedure, the classes could, and should, be taught on college level. There is no reason for a human institution having Bible classes superior to God's divine institution.

4th. This type of class schedule will cause every teacher to improve himself. He must plan his material and present it as any college teacher must do. He will not feel obligated to "roam at the will of the class," but will make sure the class is on schedule. The students will understand the goals of the class and confine their remarks to the subject matter. Needless to say, the amount of material covered and the quality of that material will be multiplied many times as a class moves from an unorganized arrangement into systematic instruction.

Just the simple suggestions above will double the actual teaching time, increase the number of students by removing all excuses, multiply the students comprehension by removing the distraction of small children, increase the quality of teaching, and allow much more material to be covered in a year's time.

By multiplying these things together, one begins to see the improvement that is possible by simply adopting a few ideas that have, for years, been accepted by all public and private school systems. By incorporating only these few suggestions, any class can increase its efficiency by ten-fold, easily.