No wonder Paul used a different approach in his preaching at the meeting of the Areopagus court. This meeting most likely involved a group of men who supervised religious and educational matters on Mars Hill. So instead of starting with the scriptures, Paul began by acknowledging that his listeners were spiritual people (Acts 17:22). He didn’t start his message by pointing out how they were wrong, nor did he assume that they agreed with him and shared his belief in one God. Instead, Paul went back and told the grand story about a God who created everything (Acts 17:24). He then talked about how close this God was to them, even using words from a Cretan poet named Epimenides to illustrate his point. He also referred to the poet Aratus from his own country, Cilicia (Acts 17:27-28). Paul relationally brought his teaching into their world, eventually bringing his message to a point of challenge and decision, explaining that man would one day face this God in judgment and that the only answer to this situation is found in Jesus and his resurrection from the dead (Acts 17:31).
Paul used two different starting points for two different audiences, based on their worldview and knowledge of Scripture.
(Dan Kimball, The Emgerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations , 176)
What a strong biblical example of being relevent to your audience. I see this as being an example of how to live, not just how to minister. As an educator, it is my duty to bring relevance into the classroom. Students need to know why they need to know what you are teaching. We cannot expect students to just swallow everything whole simply because we think they should know it. Our students are too smart for that…
They need a good, decent, and realistic reason as to why they should pay attention; why they should buy into the learning that is happening.
The view that students are empty repositories in which we dump (ok, the modern term would be download, but it is more like file dumping) knowledge. This places the student in the realm of a passive presence in the classroom. The teacher becomes a lecturer, one who rambles on about what they deem to be important. Instead, let me suggest a more open dialog in the classroom dynamic. If students question the knowledge you give, at least they are engaging with it; they are having a dialog with it.
Sound familiar? See Socrates…(perhaps the first example of ‘formal’ education is a conversation….one with a purpose, yes, but still a conversation) this ‘revolutionary’ idea is not new at all…but it is revolutionary.