As a student, I remember how much I loved those teachers who preferred classroom discussion and “in class” work to issuing homework assignments. As a former high school teacher, correcting homework assignments on a daily basis never ranked near the top of my list of favorite things to do. That is why I can understand both the aversion to giving out and completing homework within the church.
I would like challenge all of us involved in the discipleship process, whether it is one-on-one mentoring, counseling or small group discipleship, to reconsider the advantages of using homework.
Here are just a few good reasons for using homework:
- Homework allows each person to mine the riches of scripture on their own. Since the word of God is alive and powerful, it can provide them greater understanding, conviction, and guidance in regards to the issues of their personal life (Heb 4:12).
- Homework can help your small group members to examine themselves in light of the holy one of God and not compare themselves to others. Homework also takes the focus off of their circumstances and upon their response to the character of God. Good assignments will help them to evaluate their heart motives, attitudes, words and actions in light of God’s character and will.
- Homework assignments remind your disciple that they are not alone, because their covenant-keeping God will never forsake them. Assignments focused on God should include:
- Who God is: His character/attributes
- How God works: His Sanctifying process, sovereign control, grace and forgiveness.
- Disciples’s relationship to God: their identity in Christ, how to meet God, and how to serve God in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Case studies from scripture: God at work on behalf of his people; how God fulfills His promises to His people.
- According to Hebrews 4:12, the Spirit-empowered scriptures alone have the power to reveal the evil thoughts and selfish intentions of those you are mentoring.
Next week, we’ll look at how homework can help the discipler be more effective in the mentoring process.