Three Types of Teaching

Within the Church, there are three types of sermons and lessons. They are educational, inspirational, and practical.

Educational teaching provides people with new information. Maybe you have never read this story or thought about its meaning. Here is a Bible passage; let me show you what that means.

Inspirational teaching is designed to trigger your emotions. Hearing this material will inspire you to take what you already know and use it. People become complacent or apathetic, and the goal is to motivate them into different behavior.

Practical instruction is focused on changing actions. They are not trying to teach us anything new but to take what we know and show us how to implement it into our lives. For example, the Bible teaches us to love our spouse, but practical teaching shows us how to do that daily with the dishes, money, and bedroom.

All three of these are needed in the Church. One is not better than another, and they serve a different purpose. Individually we may value one over the others and might even feel it is the only way to do it. This is simply not true. We need the correct information, motivation, and practical steps to make it happen. Education alone leaves us feeling smart but unchanged. Inspiration alone can move us to do anything we feel is right. Practical steps need a foundation of truth upon which to build.

Whenever you listen to a sermon or a lesson, it is worth asking, “What type of message is this?”

The Church needs a balance of all three; just because you prefer one does not mean the other ways are invalid. All three are required for transformation into Christlikeness.


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