Rows, Circles, Knowledge

I am finally closing in on the point of actually doing the research for my dissertation on Relational Discipleship.

As I was reviewing some material getting ready for a conference call with my committee I tried to sum up the “learning theory” behind the research.  Basically — it is the concept that adults learn best in relationships / groups.

Not simply sitting in rows — but the circle.  The circle that interacts and where everyone is on a somewhat equal footing as opposed to an expert up front pouring out material those in rows must scoop up and process.

meeting-icon-clean1There is a place for row learning.  But true multiplication learning — the learning that really changes lives is the learning that takes place in a group setting where everyone has a stake in the group and the group “learns” together in aggregate.   Yes, there is still individual learning — but the group moves forward.

In theological and church life settings this means preaching has a place — but it cannot replace the dynamic of small groups living life together and applying scripture principles to the ups and downs of daily life.  These groups do that as individuals, but also corporately.

Each individual learns what they need to learn from any given life event or circumstance — but the group learns together how to react to the plight or joy of those within the group.

When one part of the body suffers — the entire body suffers.

Christianity is both vertical and individual while it plays out daily in the horizontal and “one another” aspects of church life.


What is your church doing to encourage the one another side of faith?   Is the Sunday “show” the main event with everyone in their row — not really interacting with anyone else?

Or are there opportunities to share in groups around coffee and learn from each other how to live out this faith on a daily basis?


Leave a Reply