Action-reflection – the very best kind of learning.


Yesterday, our 15 year old son Josiah set off on the adventure of a lifetime. He is travelling to northern India for a month with a team from his school, trekking the Himalayas, installing gutters and rainwater tanks for a poor community, living alongside the local people, and taking in amazing sights, experiences and cultural differences. It’s not a “Christian” trip, but we know God will use this time in his life to shape him and stretch him and grow him. His name means “supported by God”, and we pray that God will support him through the many emotions and experiences he will go through over the next 29 days.

We know our son will learn more in the next month than he has in the past two years sitting in a school room. You can learn by doing, or you can learn by talking about it – but the very best way to learn is by combining the two. Lectures are of limited value if they are not directly linked to real experiences. Action is not enough without space for reflection.

Over the past 10 years, we’ve been experimenting with different ways to incorporate hands-on, action-reflection experiences into church services, instead of or alongside sermons. We often run interactive, participatory games – involving blindfolds, or blocks, or play-dough, or obstacle courses, or all of the above. People get involved, and moving, and laughing – but the magic is not in the activity, it’s in the space afterwards when we ask 1) “What just happened?” 2) “How did you feel?” 3) “What did you learn?”. It may not sound particularly “spiritual”, but people have deep insights during this time, and it primes us for approaching the Scriptures with an enquiring mind.

We’d love you to join us in praying for a safe and life-changing trip for our boy-who-is-becoming-a-man. I am convinced the combination of action and reflection in this trip will change his worldview forever, and I very much look forward to learning from him when he returns to us.


3 thoughts on “Action-reflection – the very best kind of learning.

  1. Yes! Action-reflection is at the core of how we teach people to get into the neighborhood at our church. They participate in a monthly neighborhood activity with no agenda other than to participate and listen (this is the action part). Then we gather for a monthly time of reflection on what we learned and where we saw God in the neighborhood. It’s been a great way for our people to learn that ministry doesn’t start with church programs; it starts in the places where they live their lives.

  2. Pingback: Why I’m slowing down my blogging (for now). | Church in a Circle

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