I hoped to make an impact on those...
I hoped to make an impact on those high
school students, but things did not turn out as expected. Every last Saturday
of the month, I visit at least one high school to guide and counsel teenagers
about the Christian way of life. To avoid redundancy and boring my audience, I
start the session by talking about a recent event familiar to them. This
technique usually spices things up and makes the teenagers open to serious
conversations. Midway into my sessions, I find everyone enthusiastic and
willing to share their life experiences with me. They seek both intellectual
and spiritual guidance and I openly provide it to them. However, on this
particular Saturday, the crowd was very rigid and gloomy. I used my usual
familiarity technique and it failed. Only a few students were interested in the
conversation, while others seemed to be somewhere else mentally. From the look
on their faces, we were in parallel universes. Because I am not used to silence
in an audience, I felt uneasy as I spoke with these students.
even the tools from my Christian education toolkit did not work on this
specific crowd. Because no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes in life,
I used a personal experience to stress this point. I explained to them how peer
pressure enticed me to take drugs and how this behavior almost ruined me. If I
did not get saved, then I would surely be dead from drug overdose. Normally, a
personal experience like this one should alert the audience and spur some
emotions in them. Unfortunately, my audience was emotionless – they looked
puzzled and lost when I finished the story. They looked at me as if to say, ‘go
on, finish your story and leave us in peace.’ I felt under so much pressure
with this bunch. My most effective tool did not work and that left me in a
state of panic.
the professional that I am, I did not let them see me at my lowest point and I
shifted the attention to the audience. I opened the floor for everyone and
anyone was free to speak their mind. By God’s grace, one student took to the
podium and spoke like I have never seen. He openly expressed himself and the
struggles he went through as a Christian. Additionally, he spoke about the ways
in which Christianity helped him overcome those challenges. This child taught me
that perhaps I should have been more patient with my audience. I should have
given them time to gather their courage and speak.
is a Christian virtue and maybe that is what I lacked in this situation.
God was testing me and I failed miserably. I let my emotions instead of my
brain control my actions. The moment I noticed the non-responsive faces on my
audiences, I panicked and rushed through the counseling. I felt like the
audience was judging me and I wanted to finish up quickly to escape the
experience taught me the importance of courage and confidence in Christian education.
A Christian educator should always be confident in their skills and avoid
presumptions. If I had believed in my abilities, then perhaps my audience would
have been more responsive. I should have been more courageous and less scared
of my audience. They looked up to me for guidance and I was afraid to give it
key areas that I need to focus on to become an effective Christian educator are
patience, courage, and confidence. I need to be more patient with people and
learn how to control my emotions. As a Christian educator, I am a leader and
people look up to me, therefore, I should be more courageous and confident.
Hershberger, "Patience as Hermeneutical Practice: Christ, Church, and
Scripture in John Howard Yoder and Hans Frei," Modern Theology 31, no. 4 (2015): 547.
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