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Preaching in the One-Room School House

The legacy of the one-room school now remains mostly in the fading memories of our oldest generation. There was a time when almost all rural communities had a one-room school. Today there are still about two hundred active one room schools in the US. With one teacher and one room it does not take much imagination to recognize the challenge of meeting the educational needs of a range of students.

All of our Bible classes below adult level are all graded by age to accommodate the needs of students. However, all of our preaching is done in ”the one room school house.” That means our seasoned adults, who may have been members of the church for fifty-plus years are listening to the same sermons being presented to our visitors and growing children.

Immediately a challenge arises; to which groups are we going to preach? Older or younger? Men or women? New members, non-members or the old pros? As an audience member, how much of what the preacher says is going to fit me? Some people want to hear lots of scriptures and think stories are a waste of time. Some people think stories are interesting and a lot of scriptures are b-o-r—i-n-g!

Young people need basic lessons on the fundamentals of the gospel and the church. Young married folks need/want lessons that help them with their marriage and children. All want to find the practical value of scripture in their changing lives. Our older members rarely need lessons on marriage and family and in fact may be troubled by them especially if they are widowed or have children who have grown up away from God.

Then there are visitors who attend and come from various backgrounds; some from religious groups that believe, teach and act very differently from churches of Christ. Some visitors may be traveling members and others may be local neighbors checking things out. I will end with the ambition of Paul...

”For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law that l might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you". (1 Cor. 9:19—23 NKJV).

An ambitious and worthy goal indeed!

- Tim Orbison


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