One day, my study time was focused on how parents can help their children learn God’s Word. As I meditated on different passages, the Lord gave me an idea on how to best communicate and illustrate this important concept. Before I took my next breath, I was thumbing through the contact list on my phone to find Zach Bumgarner’s number. Zach was a former student in my youth ministry who was playing football at the college level. I asked him, “How does your coach teach your football team new plays?”
Setting up a game plan
Zach described how the coach gathers the offensive team together in a classroom and takes them through the play. His goal is to thoroughly explain the play until his players have a solid grasp on how it works. Then they go out to the practice field for the second step — the “walk-through.” Each player stands in his designated spot and simply walks to the proper location prescribed by the play. When all the players have been sufficiently drilled and the coach is satisfied with their performance, he has the offense put on their practice uniforms for the third step — the most critical part of the practice.
Fully dressed with pads and helmets, the coach has his offensive players set up to run their new play. This time, however, they are faced by the defensive unit. They run the play until they have worked out all the kinks and can execute the play to perfection. The team runs and reruns the same play because repetition is key.
Zach went on to the fourth part of their process — accountability. There are points during the game when the coach can make any necessary adjustments (or chastise a player). After their contest, the team watches film of the game to critique plays and learn where improvements are needed.
How well is the church equipping the parents to be the primary disciple-makers of their homes?
A model for parents
Zach laid out an excellent model for moms and dads to intentionally disciple their children.
The coach used the two methods of teaching that Moses describes in the book of Deuteronomy. The Hebrew word “shanan” means to intensively and intentionally teach in a repetitious way. The coach employed the “shanan” teaching style to introduce his offense to their new play. Repetition was one of the key ingredients he used to teach his team. Understandably, this technique made the new play become second nature to the team.
The second method the coach used to help his players learn the new play is by what educators refer to as the three primary ways of learning — visually, auditorily or kinesthetically. Moses, on the other hand, calls this the “lamad” teaching style.
Deuteronomy 11:19 says, “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
How do you cause someone to learn? Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Each person has a unique coding that enables them to learn. Instead of asking how well moms and dads are preparing their kids for game day, maybe we need to ask this question: How well is the church equipping parents to be coaches — the primary disciple-makers of their homes?