Andrew (at “Paticipatory Church Gatherings“) has written a very interesting (and provocatively titled) article called “It’s Better to Preach to Your Pet than Sit Through Sermons“. The point of the article is that people retain only 5% of what they hear in a lecture. However, they often learn more from other styles of teaching and by taking part themselves.
Here is the breakdown according to the study that Andrew references:
- Lecture – 5%
- Reading – 10%
- Audio-Visual – 20%
- Demonstration – 30%
- Discussion in Groups – 50%
- Practice by Doing – 75%
- Teach Others – 90%
This is a very interesting study. (You can read Andrew’s article and follow the links for more details.) Notice that real learning begins when the person starts taking part in the learning process (discussion) and culminates when the person teaches for him or herself.
Now, I do not think we should base our church meetings on pragmatics. The fact that discussion “works” is not a good reason to allow multiple people to speak, ask questions, or give answers when the church meets.
However, from studying Scripture, I’ve come to the conclusion that the church gatherings in the New Testament were more interactive and more participatory than we normally find today.Â I’ve also realized that according to Scripture we were intended to interact with one another in this manner.
Thus, this study simple backs up what we already find in Scripture. Plus, this study also helps us understand why someone can sit in a church gathering listening to sermons for year with very little (if any) spiritual growth.
Do you think this is an important study for the church to consider? Why or why not?