Bright as a Bunch

It is Friday evening. The week has been long, and I am hungry. But it does not matter. I feel bright.

The reason? I am in a room with over 50 people from all over the UK, Ireland and the Nordic countries. We have come together for a special weekend of teaching on ‘Apologetics’, the New Testament and Church History. The collective eagerness is energising.

The genius of learning as a group is under-appreciated. Our culture is becoming increasingly individualistic. And we wonder why motivation sags. Three things that occur to me as useful lessons to help us when we are not feeling so ‘bright’.

  1. Learn with a group. Collective motivation is stronger than individual motivation. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…” (Acts 2:42 NIV11-GK). The convictions of these first Christians were built so strong that even death did not dissuade them from their beliefs. 
  2. Listen to the group. The teachers available are many in a group learning setting. We can learn fro everyone and not only the man or woman up front. Listen to the comments, questions and answers of other people. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”” (Matthew 18:21 NIV11-GK) Peter’s question gave all the disciples an opportunity to learn something new.
  3. Love the group. Devotion to a group in the act of learning will deepen our own commitment to what we are learning. “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” (Acts 2:44–47 NIV11-GK). This group of early Christians were devoted to one another just as much as the teaching they were receiving. We are the poorer when we separate the intellectual from the relational.
Want to feel brighter? Learn with a group, listen to the group and love the group.
Malcolm Cox