Tuesday: Learning by Doing
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Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

No matter how many books a person reads about his or her favorite sport, and no matter how many games are watched, if someone wants to be a player they have to put their boots on and get out on the field. We call it hands-on experience, learning by doing, and without it a person is simply not equipped for the task. This universal truth even applies to the Christian’s witnessing and evangelism. Sometimes we hear people say that they don’t want to get involved because they are not completely ready. They must understand that active participation is a vital part of becoming ready. Starting small, step by step, building up, is the way to go. As the Holy Spirit leads us, our skills, experience, and confidence increases.

Matthew 10:1–14 records Jesus equipping His disciples and then sending them out. However different the situation than what we face today, what can we learn from Him sending them out that reveals how this was part of their training?

Jesus had taught the disciples “in the classroom,” so to speak. He had also taken them out into the field where they learned by observing what He did. Then after Jesus had equipped them with power to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons (vs. 8), He sent them out without Him. But notice the amount of instruction He gave as He sent them out. Jesus instructed them about what to preach, what miracles to perform, what not to take with them, with whom to lodge, and when to leave an unfruitful field of labor. We can safely assume that they received other instructions, as well. Only through this interaction with people would many important lessons be learned. This passage shows on-the-job training at its best. They couldn’t minister to those with whom they didn’t come into contact; this is a point we must never forget.

Read Luke 10:1–11. What similarities are there between the instructions Jesus gave to the 12 and to the 70? Again, what principles can we learn for ourselves from His instructions?  

Although initially Jesus sent the seventy into places where He intended to shortly go Himself (vs. 1), He knew what the disciples and other missionaries would encounter as they attempted to spread the gospel after His ascension when they were on their own. The instructions given to the seventy disciples as they were sent out indicates that Jesus was preparing them for what lay ahead.

How many excuses do you manage to find to not witness for your faith when the opportunity arises? What’s your usual one?

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Tuesday: Learning by Doing — 15 Comments

    • I don't see the lesson suggesting that we need a degree in order to minister -- whether as lay people or church employees.

      Some of the best ministers I have known were business people or trades people who felt the call to ministry and then spent a year at an Adventist seminary before entering the formal ministry.

      We can learn several things from this lesson:
      ~ Those who have experience in sharing the gospel with others need to take less experienced persons with them, so that they can learn by watching and praying.
      ~ Those who want to learn how to share the gospel effectively should seek out someone who is already doing it and ask to go with that person.

      Christ's method of training was apparently like an apprenticeship program. The disciples learned from being with him and by following his instructions. Then He sent them out to do their "practicum." This may still be a better method than classroom training.

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    • I personally think it depends on the situation. I can certainly agree to an extent though, and I believe Ellen White had counsel about getting too much education before entering the mission field.

      I think what concerns me most is that our colleges and universities are designed to train the student for post graduate programs rather than for the immediate job of being a pastor. I also think we are not training them to be instructors and trainers of the flock but rather as apologists of our doctrines.

      Many of the comments I am seeing moan and groan over a lack of congregational involvement. To me one of the problems seems to be that a significant number of pastors simply don't know how to do their jobs (see William Earnhardt's article "Pastors Who Do All The Work Aren’t Doing Their Jobs!" http://ssnet.org/blog/2012/04/pastors-who-do-all-the-work-arent-doing-their-jobs). In fact some even have trouble giving a simple bible study and many don't know how to deal with personal evangelism themselves let alone train others to do it.

      Perhaps the base problem is that we are too interested in complying with worldly norms and choose to follow their philosophy of education and yet I can see the need for those who wish to get a post graduate degree to comply with the requirements of generally accepted prerequisite classes.

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      • I can agree with your concerns.

        However, I was trying to make things practical for lay people. There are many experienced lay people who know how to share the gospel with others. They can train others to do the same.

        As I understand it, the final work before Jesus comes will be done largely by lay people -- lay people who are compelled by the Holy Spirit to share what they have experienced of the grace of God.

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  1. When reading the texts for this lesson it is easy to get the impression that Jesus kicked the disciples out the door and commanded that they go and do while He went on a vacation. I do not believe that was so; the good shepherd always knows where the sheep are and what they are doing. I see Jesus as keeping track of his disciples the same way that He saw Nathanael under the fig tree (Jn 1:48).

    A good parent, when training a child doesn't just abandon the child either but keeps a very watchful eye on what the child does and gives extra instruction if needed. So I believe it is with Christ. Even though the lessons separate the different phases of training they are all integrated and often overlap and sometimes don't even follow any particular order.

    If I were asked what comes first I would say instruction does for we need to see the overall picture and understand what we are to do and why. Then after that comes a combination of the other phases of training.

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  2. Naturally we dont lack excuses for not witnessing our LORD to others, however, its encouraging that Jesus is assuring us this day that He will prepare us for the task and all we need is a willingness to go out there and reach others with this message.

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  3. l need prayers for my church. It seems we only do the preaching but we can't heal the sick, cast out demons. Instead we seperate ourselves from such people.

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  4. When we all read the Bible we will get to know what to do because the Bible is the only book that helps man to live a good life on this earth so let's will to read the bible every day.

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  5. Hi, thank you for this wonderful lesson. Personally I agree that one learns by doing. Actually as the seventy, two disciples went out as they were sent by Jesus, they were learning. They were also getting prepared to go and evangelize.

    Personally, I can testify that I have learned a lot through doing. We have been running door to door evangelism and actually I am learning a lot. We need to practice, we ought not to give an excuse that we don't know and we need to be taught, all of us have the potential to work for the Lord.

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  6. You mentioned "being a prayer," I think you meant being a blessing to answer a prayer, right? We are all commissioned to "...Go therefore and teach all nations whatsoever I have commanded you..." Mathew 28 (by the Father through His son Jesus Christ. The conference, seminary or any other organization paid to preach or teach the words of God, will not be the ones to finish the work: as a matter of fact Ellen White says that whole conferences will be lost. My point is that the Bible must be studied and not just read, this is a huge problem today.

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  7. When you say learning by doing and observing you talk about me. I wasn't a Seventh-day Adventist but since I got involved with my daughter's father I could consider my self a member but am not real;y there yet since am not a member. I tell my self I am going to church because very soon I will be a Seventh-day Adventist and when that day comes I want to know what the church is about so I can fit in easily. So yes the best way to go about doing Gods business is to do it over and over again.

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  8. I graduated from the college to be a pastor. But appointed as a bible teacher, worked in school dealing with kids and teens. I think Jesus prepared me for the ministry this way for seven long years. What I studied in college is just book knowledge. I am a gospel minister for the past 25 years after the seven years of training dealing with kids and teens. I learnt a lot and still learning. College education is just a norm. Just do it! God is good and He will further teach you. Bless.

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  9. Learning by doing______ From the evangelistic point of view I would like to go one step further about our own spiritual lives. It is good that we learn great truths from the word of God. What is the use if they are not practiced in our lives or done in our lives? WE may teach these truths with zeal to others, we may have all the training to teach this to others. What if I do not do it?

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