When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them? (Psalm 8:3-4 NIV)
Natural learners see God’s handiwork all around them in nature. They are drawn to activities that allow investigation and exploration of God’s world. They are skilled at identifying elements of the natural world. They relate well to stories in the Bible about creation and nature. They have a fascination with plants and animals. They are sensitive about protecting God’s world as well. So how do we engage natural learners in our Bible study classes? Here are some thoughts:
When the Scripture and weather permits, go outside and teach. This may sound crazy for some adults who can’t fathom it, but hear me out. If you had a lesson on Zacchaeus, I would have someone dressed up as him in a tree. Bring the class out to hear his story. If the lesson includes elements of nature, go outside or bring that element inside to observe as it fits with the lesson. Have your natural learners share about that element.
When Biblical imagery about nature is in the lesson, use pictures. It is easy to find lots of examples on the internet for whatever picture you need. I am a natural learner. Every time I see a thunderstorm, I automatically thing about Psalm 29. I envision the Psalmist watching the thunderstorm as he describes the glory and power of God.
Emphasize ways to take care of the environment. Natural learners want to be good stewards of God’s creation. Recycle! We had a gentleman in our last church encourage everyone to bring their paper, aluminum cans and other recyclables to the church. He would collect them and get money for the items. All of the money went towards church mission projects. By the way, Millennials believe in stewardship of God’s creation and recycling as well!
Plan social events around nature. Perhaps your class can take a hiking trip or a retreat in nature as well (Go back and look at this blog about lessons on a men’s retreat: https://tonystopic.com/2015/07/22/four-lessons-i-learned-on-a-mens-retreat/.) Natural learners would lead out and share about nature as you hike or retreat.
Have an Arbor Day social and plant or care for trees at the church, in a park/school as a community project (get permission) or in class members’ yards.
Henry David Thoreau perhaps puts it best for natural learners: My profession is to always find God in nature.