How We Teach and How They Learn, Part 10 – Learning Styles and Denominations

Last time we looked at how learning styles are affected by culture. Here we will look at how they help form denominations.

If you have been following the growth of Christianity around the world you have seen it is the more charismatic type of churches experiencing the greatest increases. Combine this information with what we looked at last time, and you will notice that this phenomenon is taking place in cultures that fit two of the learning styles – Imaginative and Dynamic.

The PCA is a very cerebral denomination – we love facts and details, and we make sure that every jot and tittle of even the Book of Church Order is examined. That is not a criticism, it is just who we are. We are a hard and fast analytic group by nature. Most of our pastors will test out as either Analytic or Common Sense men.

Read entire issue of Equip 3rd Quarter, 2011 (Acrobat Reader required).

There are other denominations like us: Methodists, Anglicans, Lutherans, and even most Baptists.

On the other hand, there are denominations like the Pentecostal, the Assemblies of God, Church of God (certain ones), etc. These are not known for doctrinal teaching. Rather, their emphasis is on the emotional and experiential side of life. These groups are made up of people who are Imaginative and Dynamic learners. Remember, these are the learners who thrive on interpersonal contact over against those who are more concerned with details.

It is important to understand that God was the one who created people with these different learning styles, therefore, one style is not right and the other wrong. Nor can one be judged as better than another. We saw in Part 8 how each of the learning styles works together in a perfect flow. In the teaching and preaching settings, it is only when all four are addressed that the whole congregation or class is ministered to. So, instead of dividing from each other, there needs to be better communication across the boundaries.

Take the “worship wars” that are dividing so many churches. Those that are Imaginative and Dynamic are more likely to want lively and movement-allowing worship. The typical PCA type person wants to stand still and listen to the details of the sermon yet to come. When I have been invited to preach in a Pentecostal church I feel very free to raise my hands in worship. The problem for me is that when I do this my mind leaves the God I am there to worship and it focuses on my hands. Therefore, for me, as an Analytic, I prefer to stand still while singing, with my hands at my sides.

There are factors in these “worship wars” that are serious, but much of the war could end if we understood the different ways God has created us. Will we ever try to learn how to work together and stop seeing the “other side” as being the enemy? Only by His grace!
How We Teach and How They Learn

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