Sunday Recap: A Better Way to Teach


Above is the case study we used to rev up our conversation this past Sunday. I wrote about this last week. A case study is a story you write or an article you find that brings out ambiguity and the grey-ness of life. They are perfect for revealing the variety of values that reside in every group. They help open up lively discussion on how you should apply wisdom to a certain situation.

This case study focuses on a new boss and the hard changes they bring. The new boss was driving folks crazy with their new initiatives. In the midst of this, the CEO emails you asking a few questions about how its going with the new boss.

Our group had a wonderful discussion about how much truth they would share. Some said, “I be very blunt.” Others said, “I’d weigh my words carefully, since I have family and need the job.” Still others said, “I’d just wait. Things change. Bosses change.” It was a nice way to have a lot of different views voiced for all to hear. It was great to see everyone thinking and active.

After our small group discussion on this topic we joined back together to discuss the biblical implications. The question was, “OK you’ve made some judgments how did you come to this conclusion? How would you support it biblically?”

Here’s some of the verses they went to.

  • Rom 13:1 “Obey every governing authority.”
  • Col 3:23 “…serve wholeheartedly as if for the Lord and not for man.”
  • 1Tim 6:1-2 “All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered.” NIV
  • 1Pet 2:18 “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” NIV

Here’s where I landed, 1Samuel 24. This is the account of David giving the chance to kill Saul and does not do so. David would not lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed. The powerful point for us is, don’t hurt your leaders/bosses. We definitely wouldn’t kill them, but we might make it harder for them lead. The caution for us is not to harm in anyway the ability of those in authority over us lead us and others. We can disagree privately or in a meeting, but publicly we must work together. This can be hard choices when we don’t like either the policies or the policy-maker.

Here’s the benefits I saw in our ABF using a case study.

First, they generate a lot of talk. Many who won’t normally talk feel much more comfortable in sharing. It might be because for some, who don’t feel particularly theological, they can share without fear of getting it wrong. So much of the discussion is wisdom or judgments that everyone makes on a regular basis. Second, it gets the class into the real world. Instead of staying in the typical Bible study world that they are normally accustomed to expecting, they are thrown into their real life situations. This helps the student think much more readily in how they can applying what they’ve heard and what they’ve shared. Third, your group will hear a big variety of answers. Because there are no clear lines of right and wrong in the case study, your students are allowed to explore what they think and what others think. Case study is a little bit like the book of Proverbs, where we find general wisdom for many cases, but not hard fast rules or laws. Fourth, all this adds up to making it memorable. If your group is thinking and continues to ponder the Spirit can continue to illuminate and guide. The hope from all this thinking is that they’ll make choices that will further their discipleship.


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