Facilitate Learning

When you get to know Q Place, it doesn’t take long to realize that we are serious about helping Christians facilitate learning rather than pour out what we know.

This is our core value of Self-discovery – people grow and learn best when they discover truth for themselves through discussion and study.

All of our core values—Scripture, Spirit, Safe Place, and Self-discovery—were integral at the birth of this ministry in the 1960s as Neighborhood Bible Studies. Little did co-founders Marilyn Kunz and Catherine Schell know how essential the value of Self-discovery would become in our culture more than 50 years later!

Marilyn used to give a talk called “The Philosophy of Neighborhood Bible Studies” to help communicate the value of facilitating discovery. Here are some excerpts from that talk.

People learn only 10% of what they hear, but 90% of what they themselves not only hear, but also see, or are involved in and participate in.

I saw an educational program showing excellence in education on TV. It showed a kindergarten class and at the back of the room was a large sign. It was obviously intended for the teacher, as she was the only one who could read it.

It read:

I hear, I forget.

I see, I remember.

I do, I understand.

In other words, if you are just lecturing to these students, they are not going to remember anything. This is true for the people in your Bible study. If they only hear—that is, if they only hear you lecturing, teaching—they will forget. But if they hear and see and do and participate, they will remember. A good Bible study is one in which each person is as involved as you can get them to be. A 19th century philosopher said that the only way in which one person can properly influence another is to get him or her to think for himself, rather than trying to instill ready-made opinions into his head. We want to influence people. If we are just trying to instill in their heads our ready-made opinions and it doesn’t go through their hearts and minds and understanding, we may think that we have gotten it across to them, but we haven’t.

There are so many times we think we are communicating when we are not. We are saying the right words, but we are not hearing the questions.

I am sure most of you know the story of the youngster who came home and said, “Mom, where did I come from?” She had prepared for this moment. She had three books about sex for little children. She sat down with him and went over the information for about an hour, about the birds and the bees. At the end of that he said, “Well, mom, I just wondered because Charlie comes from Cleveland.”

We all do it. Have you ever had a non-Christian friend ask you a simple little question, and before he knows it you’re in the book of Daniel, Revelation, Zechariah? We need first of all to be sensitized to where people are and how people learn. One of the best ways is to ask rather than always tell.

A good exercise is to go through the Gospels and discover all the questions Jesus asked. If there was ever anyone who walked this earth who did not need to ask a question, it was Jesus. Why does He ask questions? As you read, I’m sure you realize He asked questions in order to help people answer the questions they had, to get them involved, to get them thinking so that they could come up with answers for themselves.

There is a very interesting comment early in Mark about Jesus in His communication. Mark says, “Jesus taught them as they were able to bear it.” He never gave people spiritual indigestion. He was sensitive to where they were. Ask, don’t tell! Get people involved to the highest degree possible in a Bible study.


On Q thanks Fran Goodrich, Q Place SW Regional Catalyst, and Karen Schleicher, Q Place Publishing Leader, for this contribution.