This post flows out of a reading of The Teaching Ministry of the Church edited by William Yount. Just some thoughts.
Yount discusses what he calls the Triad of life – head, heart, and hands. We have the thoughts and beliefs of the mind, the passions and affections of the heart, and the actions and doing of the hands. These categories are helpful in considering how to connect and teach disciples.
There is a danger to center one’s focus on one the area they are most comfortable with. That is, for the one who thrives in the life of the mind, the focus easily falls to the meaning of words and the exploration of the context of a passage. This, of course, can transform into a dusty and dry exercise.If one’s strength is in the area of the heart and affections, there is the temptation to ask a lot of “what does this mean to you” and “how does this make you feel”. Shallowness stalks here. If the focus falls to the hands, there will be lots of business, but very little belief or passion.
The key is to maintain a balance, both in one’s own life, and in ones teaching. It is here with teaching that these categories can be very helpful. Whether small group discussion questions, sermon preparation, or personal discipleship settings, moving through these categories can bring new life and vitality.
We should realize that we deal with people who are comprised of all three of these categories. In addition, we minister to those who learn the most through one of these categories. If our strength is in the life of the heart, if we teach solely with that bent, we will find that 2/3rds of the people are left out because they learn best in the categories of the head or hands.
Head Focused Questions
What does this word or phrase mean?
What does this text mean in it’s context?
How would the originally readers have understood this?
What should we believe based on this text?
Heart Focused Questions
How would you have felt if you were in this situation?
How does this text affect you?
Tell us about a similar experience to this passage that you have had in your own life.
What should we feel based on this text?
Hand Focused Questions
How can we put these principles into practice?
What should we do in response to this passage?
It is important that we do not over-emphasis one of these categories to the neglect of the others. In addition, we cannot pit them against each other, for transformation must come to each of these areas, in our own life and in the lives of those we teach and disciple.