My church during high school used to have these great children’s moments during our worship service. The pastor would call all the children to the front of the church where they would sit on the steps and listen to him do a 5-minute “children’s sermon.” (It was the favorite part of the service for a lot of us teenagers . . . and some of the adults.) He almost always had some “object” that he used to get the kids’ attention and give them something to look at. Then, he would relate the object to some aspect of their lives. We called those object lessons. I remember one rather outlandish object lesson in which he brought dog food on stage and then compared it to having a diet of television instead of feasting on the word of God. The kids all liked these object lessons, but the challenge was that they seldom actually got the point. Young kids tend to be pretty concrete in the way they think about dog food and don’t always do a good job of comparing it to television.

Object lessons require the learner to do some abstract thinking in order to learn from them. Jean Piaget suggested that kids develop the ability to do abstract thinking at about age twelve. More recent research has found that kids considerably younger can do better abstract thinking than Piaget thought, but the point I would like to make is that when kids develop much improved skills for abstraction, we quit using object lessons. We almost never use object lessons with adults.

A few years ago, I was trying to think of a good way to begin a lesson for adults on how Jesus came to redeem our lives. I decided to try using an object lesson. I found an old broken Christmas ornament and, as the lesson began, I laid it on the table in front of the class. I explained that this ornament was very important to me—a bit of an exaggeration—and that it had been broken. I asked them what they could suggest for me to reassemble the ornament, to make it like new again. Of course, they laughed and told me I just needed to go buy myself a new one. I prodded them a little, and they came up with some lame suggestions: glue, tape, a soldering iron. Then, I asked if any of them had ever felt like their lives were broken up like my ornament. They saw the connection . . . and this led us to some fruitful conversation.

Forrest Gump used his box of chocolates as an object lesson to teach us a lesson about life. What kind of objects might be worth bringing into your class to provide a simile for your Bible study lesson?


Read More

Rhonda Kelley

Dr. Iorg admires the faithful and genuine character of his friend Rhonda Kelly.

Jeff Iorg
President
Dr. Jeff Iorg is the president of Gateway Seminary. Prior to his service at the Seminary, Dr. Iorg was the Executive Director of the Northwest Baptist Convention for almost ten years. He was also the founding pastor of Greater Gresham Baptist Church in Gresham, Oregon, and has served as a pastor in Missouri and a staff pastor in Texas.

Prayer Sparks

Pastor Jon Varner shares what he learned developing a practice of combining his daily Bible reading and prayer.

Jon Varner
Lead Pastor
Jon Varner is the lead pastor at Valley View Christian Church in Kent, Washington.

Listen

The Study Podcast
February 27, 2024

Melchizedek and the Angel of the LORD

In this episode of The Study Podcast, Tyler and Dr. Wegner look at a few passages in Genesis. 

  1. Abraham and Sarah go to Egypt and tell the Pharaoh they that are siblings and God sends curses to the land for their lie.
  2. Abraham tells Melchize
10 Questions with 10 Pastors
February 26, 2024

Joseph Gibbons

Joseph Gibbons is church planter and pastor at Favor City Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. Joseph and Tyler talk about having a big-picture approach, sermon prep, and emphasizing prayer and responsiveness to the burdens of the church. They also reflect on the importance o


Watch

Jonathan Edwards and the Asbury Revival

Chris Chun and Chris Woznicki discuss the signs of true revival, signs of the work of the Holy Spirit, and why it is important to critically assess the characteristics of revival in a spirit of charity.

Chris Chun
Professor of Church History | Director, Jonathan Edwards Center
Dr. Chris Chun is the professor of Church History and the director of Jonathan Edwards Center at Gateway Seminary. Chris’ doctoral research at St. Andrews University was focused on the eighteenth-century Edwardsean Baptists in Britain. He also has served as president of The Evangelical Theological Society (Far West Region).

Jonathan Edwards and the Baptists | Douglas Sweeney, Nathan Finn and Chris Chun

Dr. Douglas Sweeney and Dr. Nathan Finn joined Dr. Chris Chun for a panel discussion on Jonathan Edwards, recorded live at the SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim.

Chris Chun
Professor of Church History | Director, Jonathan Edwards Center
Dr. Chris Chun is the professor of Church History and the director of Jonathan Edwards Center at Gateway Seminary. Chris’ doctoral research at St. Andrews University was focused on the eighteenth-century Edwardsean Baptists in Britain. He also has served as president of The Evangelical Theological Society (Far West Region).

Get updates on new content!