In 2014, I learned a tool for Bible study. And I started to teach it to a group of young adults. I wanted them to know what to do if I didn’t show up for Sunday school some day.
You identify a passage of Scripture. A story, perhaps, or a section of teaching. You read it out loud in the group. And then you ask these questions, slowly, giving plenty of time for conversation. But staying close to the question.
- What did you like about that passage?
- What didn’t you like?
- What don’t you understand?
- What did you learn about God?
- What did you learn about people?
- What are you going to do with what you learned?
It is a good tool. It gets interesting conversation. Most people don’t get permission to talk about what they don’t like abut a passage in the Bible. And the last question makes us commit to doing something.
As I was thinking about doing an annual review, I started thinking about answering the question, “What did I learn?” Not so much, what did I do, but what did I take away from the year. Not things I did, but things I learned.
Not so much of “what did I do?” but, “what did I take away from the year?” I did a lot this year, from Nepal to running to resigning. From father of the bride to adjunct professor. But did I actually learn anything from all the activity?
And I wanted to remember that learning is not only lessons from failure: “Here’s what I’ll never do again” but also lessons from success: “Here’s what I want to do more and more.”
And then I realized that the discovery questions from the Bible study work well for thinking about a year.
So take an hour and a chair and a cup of coffee and something to write with. Take a planner from 2015 or a journal or a Facebook stream. Ask yourself these questions:
- What did I like about 2015?
- What didn’t I like?
- What don’t I understand?
- What did I learn about God?
- What did I learn about people?
- What am I going to do in 2016 with what I learned?
Let us know how it goes.