The Church’s Witness to the World (April 7-28)

Teaching in General

Changing Minds
The sessions in this unit include some significant conversions—or dramatic changes of mind. The Ethiopian Eunuch went from a curious seeker to a baptized believer. Paul went from being a persecutor of Christians, on his way to drag some back to Jerusalem, to one of Christianity’s most effective missionaries. Cornelius and his Gentile companions came to faith in Christ and received the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the most amazing change of mind came upon Peter and the disciples, who opened their hearts and tables for Gentiles to come into the Christian community.

As a teacher, you are given the task of changing minds. So how can you change a mind? To a great extent you can’t. God, through the Holy Spirit, changes minds when your class members are open to be changed. You can however facilitate the process.

In his book, Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People’s Minds (Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2006, pp. 140-141), Howard Gardner, names seven levers that can help lead students to change their minds:

“1. Narrative: telling stories about the topic and the people involved with it.”

For example Peter told the story of the vision God gave him and how the Holy Spirit came on the Gentile Cornelius, which led the disappointed to disciples to a change of mind.

“2. Quantitative: using examples connected to the topic.”

For example you could give examples of other conversion experiences to help student understand Paul’s conversion and nudge them toward
 their own conversion.

“3. Logic: Identifying the key elements or units and exploring their logical connections.”

Philips used logic to make connections between the Isaiah passage the Ethiopian Eunuch was reading and the life of Christ.

“4. Existential: addressing big questions, such as the nature of truth or beauty, life and death.”

These big questions are at the heart of what we do in Christian education.

“5. Aesthetic: examining instances in terms of the their artistic properties or capturing the examples themselves in works of art.”

Peter’s vision of a sheet full of unclean animals was powerful visual message.

“6. Hands-on: working directly with tangible examples.”

Mission trips and projects often lead to empathy and dramatic changes in perspective and concern for the least of these.

“7. Cooperative or social: engaging in projects with others where each makes a distinctive contribution to successful execution.”

Relationships and the positive influence of the Christian community can lead to a more faithful commitment to Christ.

These seven levers are tools you have at your disposal to help lead class members to a changed mind, conversion, a greater understanding of God’s will, to a more radical commitment to Christ.

Introduction to the Unit

Glocal Missions Emphasis
The month of April is Glocal Missions emphasis month, which highlights the many groups our church supports as a part of our “Witness to the World.” “The Church’s Witness to the World” is also the theme of our Sunday School unit for the month of April. You can help this month by raising awareness of the work of some of these groups supported by our budget and Glocal Missions Offering. Remind your class regularly that their gifts to the church budget and to the Glocal Missions Offering helps support these great ministries.

Glocal Missions Brochure and Prayer Calendar
Provide copies of the Glocal Missions brochure and the Prayer Calendar to your class members and encourage them to pray daily for the ministries listed. These will be placed in your classroom.

Schedule of Events

April 7        Worship Missions Testimony: Steve Clark and Annette Ellard and the Ka-rin refugees
April 14        Worship Missions Testimony: Paula Settle and her work in Nada
April 21        Worship: Soup’s On Us Commissioning Service
April 24        Prayer Meeting: Salvation Army presentation (Tentative)
April 28        Missions Fair (9:00-10:30 a.m.)
        Worship: Glocal Missions emphasis with sermon by Dr. Greg Earwood, president,
            Baptist Seminary of Kentucky