Continuing on from the last post of how I organize my thoughts when I prepare to teach, another important tool I use each time is called Heady Hearty Handy. (I also learned this when earning my degree fall of my freshman year – and I never forgot it).
As I’m preparing my notes each time I process these three significant questions:
This simple diagram helps to visualize the process. (NOTE: the name – and the picture below – is so ridiculous and simple, I bet you won’t forget it!)
In the margin of my notes I will write “heady” “hearty” and “handy” when I feel I am answering the questions with my teaching. If I feel as though my teaching was “flat” it is usually because I answered only one or two out of these three questions.
Thinking about this further:
-If your teaching is just head knowledge, it is a lecture.
-If your teaching is just heart, you inspired the audience (possibly giving them warm fuzzies) but gave little substance. It’s Oprah with a little bit of Jesus sprinkled in.
-If your teaching is just hands, all you’ve done is given them marching orders, which can come off bossy and condescending – and doesn’t equip your listeners in any way.
-If your teaching is head and heart but lacks hands, it gives people information and motivation, but fails to provide direction as to what to do with what they just heard. The purpose of teaching is to listen to God and to challenge people to respond appropriately to Him.
-If your teaching is head and hands but lacks heart, they leave with a sense of obligation to “do something” but are left uninspired and fail to understand why this is important. This can be breed legalism where people act because they “should” do something.
-If your teaching is heart and hands but lacks head knowledge, people could leave with little knowledge or context, dangerously encouraging people to simply “follow their heart” without any sure footing or theological anchors. This is usually how heresies begin.
A simple Venn diagram communicates this well. The goal is to have our teaching land in the gray triangle.
Good, solid, clear teaching answers all three questions clearly and compellingly. It is much easier to say, but much more difficult to do, but – by the grace of God – when the head, heart and hands are present in teaching the inspired Word of God, He can do great things.
Pastors, teachers and preachers: may we do our part in preparation and in prayer, but may we never forget that unless God shows up, all of our teaching is useless!
And may the Spirit guide us in our preparation this week for his purposes and not our own.