The Instructional and the Relational Approaches to Reaching Men
Ironically, I’ve been told that many youth programs have shifted from the highly relational “Young Life style, let’s have fun while we’re doing this” model to a teaching model in which a speaker tells the students what they need to know.
The modern model is instructional. The postmodern model is relational. One man refers to this as the difference between a Hebraic and a Greek model.
What’s the difference? The modern mindset is, “Give me the right information and I’ll put it to good use.” The postmodern mindset is, “Let’s build an authentic relationship and have a meaningful conversation.”
What are the implications for our ministry of making disciples? Some men we meet just feel like they need the right information—they’re soil ready for the seed. Others feel like they need someone to talk to. It’s a big difference.
You will reach more men if you ask this question before deciding how to interact with a new man: “Is this man looking for me to give him the answers (the intellectual approach), or is he looking for someone to talk to (the instructional approach)?”
In either case, please don’t talk at me, talk with me.
Yours for changed lives,
Pat Morley, Ph.D.