Undivided - Our Fall Learning Series

The summer has ended, the fall has begun, and life at Living Word is off and running. It has been that way for several weeks.

All our ministries are in start-up mode. The kids and teens started in late August. Adult ministries launch early to mid September.

And in the middle of September we always start our Fall Sermon Series. This year we are studying Romans 12-15. Our series is called:

Paul is writing to a deeply divided church. Rome was the center of the Roman Empire. In Rome, every glory and flaw of the city was on full display. Among the flaws were agonizing social divisions. Just because a city is cosmopolitan doesn't mean it's a unified city. It turns out the Church wasn't united either. The Church, instead of being a counter-culture alternative to the ways of the world, turned out to be too much LIKE the world.

That is a core reason why Paul wrote his Letter to the Romans--to help them get along. And to get along the way Christ wants his people to get along.

The problem was not new to the 1st century. The problems of division, disagreement, suspicion, antagonism, and acting out against one another have been around as long as SIN has been around. In other words, a very long time! And this problem has never gone away. Some believe that in the 21st century it is as bad as it has ever been. Certainly the Church in America, in recent years, knows it has become very bad.

Frankly, too many Christians just don't like each other. They certainly don't love one another. And the North American Church is as divided as it has ever been. Things are NOT the way they are supposed to be.

In Romans, Paul sets forth a strong theology, a powerful pastoral ethic, and a rich relational way of being a united Church, where there is deep love and care for one another. And, therefore, a witness to the watching world.

That's the message we dive into this fall for 9 WEEKS, starting on Sunday, September 18 and ending on Sunday, November 13.

The Shift from Teaching to Facilitating Learning.

One of our CORE FOUR Words is GROW.

Our staff has spent years studying about adult education. How do adults learn best? It turns out that LECTURE is about the worst way for adults to learn.

Guess what the sermon is?

That's right! A lecture on the Bible.

This is why good Bible teachers try to use illustrations, examples, stories, and many other communication methods, so a sermon can be more than a lecture.

Still, it is a monologue, even if it is a solid one and interesting. But the listener is always in a passive mode of receiving. That is NOT how adults learn. Perhaps that is why surveys conducted on Monday morning find that people who listened to sermons 24 hours earlier remember less then 10% of what they heard and, by the end of the week, most of them struggle to remember anything of significance from the Sunday sermon.

We have a great communication team, but we know the drill. We don't imagine we are immune from this. We're not.

This is why our team is not just producing sermons. We are creating an entire learning environment, using the best insights about adult education.

Five Best Ideas That Guide Us

ONE: Learn a Little and Use it a Lot
That means we work very hard to find the smaller number of best ideas and get those ideas to you. Now, instead of giving you more ideas, we create ways for you to wrestle with those few ideas, engage with them, and use them. You almost never need more teaching. You almost always need more processing of the learning you just had. More learning is actually an illusion if you have not processed and absorbed prior learning.

TWO: Use it or Lose it
This is absolutely true. If you don't use it, you will forget it. That's why our devotional resources always have practical take-away ideas. We create stepping stones for you to put into practice the best ideas we deliver to you. Without application, there will be little transformation.

THREE: Repetition Makes a Difference
If the secret of real estate is location, location, location, the secret of learning is repetition, repetition, repetition. Don't think about it once. Do it again. One day is not enough. You need many days. Our devotional resources are provided so you can "do it again" or "think over it again." Routines and patterns make a big difference in your learning.

FOUR: Personal Discovery is Most Powerful
When I give you the best ideas I can in a sermon, those ideas can be very meaningful for you. But, the power of personal discovery is even greater. When you discover or discern or learn a truth, that is exciting. You did the work. You did the learning. It means even more when you think, reflect, advance, and arrive at an understanding. So again, our devotional resources are designed to help you be an active learner.

FIVE: Conversation with Good Friends Accelerates and Deepens Learning
We are relational people. We need to talk and discuss things that matter. We need to argue (in a good spirit) about those things. We need robust, iron sharpening iron conversations. We need to hear what other friends are learning. We need to see things from their perspective. Learning together with friends is stimulating. It also provides accountability.
And the result of this combination of


is great learning and growth.

That is what you can expect and what you should dive into this fall.
It is going to be a great fall of learning, growing, and coming together in the way the Body of Christ, the people of God, and the community of the Spirit are meant to be together: united in love, centered on Christ, and focused on his mission for us in the world.

Be sure to look for tomorrow's post on Making the Most of the Devotional Resources (Digital and Print).

In Christ,
Pastor Brian Rice
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