by Greg Robinson and Mark Rose
Lessons of the Way is a unique and comprehensive approach to spiritual formation and discipleship to Jesus that is grounded in the knowledge and use of experiential education. Stories, scriptures, activities and questions create the basis for action, reflection, change and growth. Here is an in-depth, practical resource for facilitators and leaders who want to embrace and share the foundational truths of spiritual formation found in its forerunner, Adventure and the Way of Jesus.
The Approach of the Book, a note from the author:
I am a firm believer that we cannot give what we do not have and we cannot teach what we do not live. Consequently, this is not a book that has simple, easy-access lesson plans. This is not a teach-by-number kind of resource. Our best lessons come out of our own questions, our own searching, our own discoveries. This book asks a lot of the reader.
First, there are a series of lessons, meditations if you will, that ask you to reflect for yourself. They are written to stretch your thinking and make you ask some new or at least different questions. The lessons may cause you to question things you have always taken for granted so be prepared to be uncomfortable. My goal is for you to wrestle with what you believe and form a personal conviction—not based on what a lesson plan tells you to teach but out of your own life at the time you are reading this. Authenticity is the most important quality of a good teacher, and in order to have that, you must first consider and struggle with the same questions you want your students to struggle with.
Second, there are scripture passages that are connected to the lessons. These are passages not so much to prove an idea but places where The Bible initiated the conversation around the particular idea for me. The work of spiritual formation is not a debate to prove something to another and thus force them to agree. That is why the way scripture is used in settings of experiential learning can be troubling. Too often verses are just read before or after the activity to prove the point the facilitator wants to make. It is a “spiritual stamp” that is placed on particular ideas that are supposed to give them more credibility. Verses are often taken out of context to prove a point of view. To make the most of the source of Truth along our way, we must recover the idea that first and foremost The Bible is story.
This story is not just a onetime conveyor of truth but a deep and rich source of truth that seems to present something different each time we approach it. As our life context changes, our way of thinking progresses, and the questions we ask evolve—we are able to see something different than the last time we encountered the story.
Jesus used a particular kind of story called a parable.
A parable is not ordinarily used to tell us something new but to get us to notice something that we have overlooked although it has been right there before us for years. Or it is used to get us to take seriously something we have dismissed as unimportant because we have never seen that point of it. Before you know it, we are involved (Peterson, 2008).
Scripture enlightens us to times when others lived the same story we are living right now. I encourage you to really try to see the characters in the passages as real people, who lived real lives and struggled to experience the same truth that we are trying to believe. It is not a series of abstractions or principles that we apply. The Bible brings us into questions around the truth through the lives of others who asked our questions before us. Jesus was a real person who spoke of certain truths and asked certain questions, not because it would make good copy for The Bible but because he was living with real people, with real fears and uncertainties, who wanted and needed to understand who God was and what God thought of them.
Third, there are activities connected to each lesson. There are multiple activity offerings because, like most of life, there is more than one way to get to a destination. The activities are a means to start the important conversations generated by the lessons. The list of activities is not exhaustive. It is only a sampling of the activities we have used in our work as adventure educators. We include them to engage your creativity and help you find what works best for you. The same activities are used in different places in the book because most of the activities can generate different conversations depending on the emphasis you give to it. On some occasions, the activities suggested are from a challenge course or adventure pursuit using high elements. For instance, there is a lesson designed around rock climbing. There is a certain amount of anxiety and tension that is created when a person is 25 feet in the air that other activities cannot duplicate. But when possible, we have tried to provide options not dependent on a ropes course or adventure expertise. Challenge course and rock climbing activities require specialized training and supervision by trained professionals (see the list of training resources on pgs. 176-177).
Following each activity section are reflection questions. Again, in the spirit of our approach, the reflection questions are not an exhaustive list nor are they meant for you to just read to your groups. The questions are samples of questions that we use. They are meant to help you think about the questions you want to ask in your particular situation to the particular people who are working with you. So there may be questions that you will use just as they are written; however, our intent is to stimulate your own thinking. Ask the questions that come out of your life into the lives of those particular people with which you are working.
Finally, there are quotes related to the theme of the lesson. For me, quotes help summarize the ideas or questions that I am trying to understand. The ones chosen have been included for their ability to take big, important truths and condense them into a manageable amount of words. They also will provide you with other people who have written on the same theme in other places so that you can continue your search in other places and with other writers.
"One part devotional, one part textbook, and one part adventure ministry field manual. This is the book I wish existed a decade ago! If you want to be challenged, inspired, and better prepared to harness the power of adventure programming for spiritual development, this book should be o your shelf or better yet, in your backpack!"
Don Stock, President, The Adventure Guild/ZIPStream Aerial Adventure Parks
SIZE: 6 x 9
PAGE COUNT: 192