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An Environmental Concern

By Don Loftis | 01.21.15

We typically think of environmental issues having to do with air and water quality.  However, successful teaching requires a safe and comfortable environment as well.  Tension, fear and discomfort are roadblocks to learning.  If we want to create effective settings to teach the Gospel in our buildings or in the community, we must understand this reality.  Let me suggest three things that might help set a proper environment.

#1 — Be friendly in our greetings as folks arrive.  Isolation or feeling like an “outsider” creates tension and distrust, while smiles and conversation reduce those barriers.

#2 — Be clear regarding what is taking place.  Worship leaders who briefly comment on prayer, the Lord’s Supper or the sermon help the visitor or novice to relax.  Anything that surprises or embarrasses a person will inevitably raise their defenses.

#3 — Be sensitive in how truth is presented.  Personal attacks, unkind judgments, and sweeping generalizations can easily be misinterpreted and close a listener’s mind to anything else that will be taught.  The text has to be the key to teaching, not our opinions.

I am not suggesting that we “dumb down” the Gospel or avoid the real truths of Scripture or minimize the demands of discipleship.  The challenge is to present those transforming truths in a context characterized by love, compassion, and respect.  Remember, Jesus made those who sought Him more comfortable than He did His critics.



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