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Teaching to Change Lives – Howard Hendricks

As a future pastor/teacher and current sports coach, teaching has been an integral part of my life. I’ve been involved in teaching others since my first coaching job at age 13 and have been trained collegiately on teaching methods and on how to teach Biblically. I’m also always looking at ways to be a better teacher. When it came to teaching the Bible, every professor and scholar I read or learned under all pointed to the same name as their inspiration: Howard Hendricks.

Even though I read Teaching to Change Lives for a class on how to teach Biblically (CHMN 387 from LUO), it quickly became one of those textbooks that will find its greatest use outside the classroom. Within evangelical circles, Howard Hendricks is synonymous with “Christian education” and Teaching to Change Lives gives the reader a brief overview of why.

Nothing about Hendrick’s teaching is all that revolutionary. In fact, Hendrick’s model is based off the very methods and principles Jesus’ used to teach. Such principles are divided into seven chapters to form the acronym TEACHER:

The law of the Teacher – If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow. Hendrick’s core premise is that teachers must never stop learning. Stagnant water stinks meaning a teacher should be vibrant, full of life, and always learning.

The law of Education – The way people learn determines how you teach. This is an important premise because it puts the responsibility on the teacher to teach, not on the learner to learn. That is, each person learns differently, but it should be the teacher who adapts to learning style rather than the student trying to adapt to teaching style.

The law of Activity – Christian education should impact people, transform them, and produce tangible results. Christianity is the most revolutionary force on the planet and yet is often the institution most resistant to change.

The law of Communication – More than just speaking, Hendricks lays forth the case that Christian teachers must form relational bridges that provide weight to their teaching.

The law of the Heart – Teaching must involve more than one’s intellect, but affect intellect, emotion, and volition. It is one personality transformed by the power of supernatural grace reaching out to effect in others the same.

The law of Encouragement – Teaching tends to be most effective if the learner is properly motivated. That is, the smartest person in the world not given reasons for learning something will learn less than the average person with a passion for the subject.

The law of Readiness – Be prepared to teach and prepare your learners to learn. More than just bringing in doughnuts to Sunday School, preparation requires working to develop lesson plans and class assignments.

Overall, these seven principles are ones that I’ve gone over time and time again, both in class and out. It’s definitely positively affected how I teach. Definitely recommended for anyone in any sort of leadership position and a must-have for any church library.

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