Change of Plans?

What’s better: Learning one-on-one, but isolated, or learning in a group, without the individual attention? What’s the better teaching situation for the pastor?

Typically here, we offer something called a BIC: a Bible Information Class. It’s adult catechism, basically. We go through the basic doctrines of what the Bible teaches in an orderly way. At the end of the sessions, if that person, convinced by the Holy Spirit, says, “Hey! That’s what I believe!” then they are welcomed into church membership. Usually I’ve got a class of five or six people that go through all together. It’s generally pretty awesome; those who go through together get close. It serves well to generate discussion. I love hearing what the participants ask in the sessions and how they all respond to each other. You can see the Holy Spirit growing them week-to-week.

The downside of a setup like that, of course, is that you move at one pace for everyone. Some people love asking questions; others really want to stay focused on the material. And that can cause some frustrations. You also have the issue of schedules; not everyone can show up at, say, seven on a Thursday night. (more…)


Sometimes, I See It.

Lutheran pastors have a penchant for making their confirmation students memorize “pointless” Bible verses. The kids complain, maybe the parents complain, but they retain a certain configuration of words just long enough to vomit them forth on command from the preacher.

Maybe this configuration of words is familiar to you: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” That’s Genesis 3:15, and at least in my circles it’s regarded as a pretty important verse. I read it out loud in front of the congregation pretty much every Christmas Eve, in fact, and refer to it regularly in sermons.

This week we covered the fall into sin from Genesis 3 in my Bible Information Class, which is confirmation review or a membership class, depending on who you are when you take it. This particular day only two women were there. Both were raised Lutheran; one has been at this church most of her life, and the other hasn’t been to church in decades.

And as we walked through, we paused at this verse. (more…)