Learning to learn from Jesus is the key to an effective and successful Simple Church. A Simple Church is simply a group of friends (or a group who are becoming friends) who are learning from Jesus together as friends. Learning how to do this effectively is detrimental to your success.
Learning is a cycle. Being attentive to each stage of this cycle, and being proactive rather than passive or reactive to this cycle, is the key to learning effectively as followers of Christ.
The first stage is getting information. Since you are on a journey of knowing more about Jesus and His teachings, you need to get the right kind of information. Not all information is equally valid. Some information is bogus or untrue. You need information from primary sources, not hearsay. In the case of Jesus, you need to listen to His apostles, or those who knew Him first hand. You need to know, first of all, what He actually said or taught, which they recorded. Then you need to know how His apostles or first followers understood and applied what He taught. The main source of this information is of course the Bible, especially the Gospels. It’s alright to listen to preachers and teachers, for as long as we can verify if what they’re saying is from the Bible. Now this does not mean that whenever we hear someone quote from the Bible we will immediately believe him or her. But this is the starting point of learning, i.e. getting good information.
The next stage in learning is examining what we hear. This has to do with reflecting on the truth claims and reality of what we hear. It’s alright to bombard what we hear with thoughtful questions. That shows that we are actually thinking and reflecting, not just believing. It’s easy to believe something that we have not really taken the time to reflect on, but that often results in shallow faith.
Whenever we ask questions, we should do our best to find out the right answers. The answers must first of all come from the Bible itself. But sometimes it will come from our or others’ reasoning or experiences. At times, other thoughtful followers of Christ may have already thought about these questions already. However we find the answers, we must be willing to validate them through the help of others. The best way is to discuss our ideas in our Simple Church, so that we can hear what others in our group might say. If unsure, we can also further check it out with the teachers in our church. This is called humble learning.
Last but not the least, we must be willing to experiment with what we’re learning. We must be willing to try it out, to take the risk of failure or disappointment. Unless we do so, all we have are just intellectual beliefs. God wants us to test and approve His good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2). He wants us to experience the reality and truthfulness of His word, so that we can really say, “Amen!”.
Discuss this lesson with your mentor. Do not proceed unless you have discussed this and applied it with the help of your mentor. Once you’re ready to proceed, click here to read the next lesson. If you need to review the previous lesson, click here. If you want to go back to the beginning of this series, click here.