Two ways to learn

In publishing, there are two types of authors.

1. Those who observe patterns
2. Those who create patterns

The first group observes, takes notes, and searches for meaning. For example, a marriage counselor hearing the same thing over and over, keeping track, and noticing that these words, behaviors, or beliefs nearly always result in these responses. She wonders why and searches for the meaning behind the evidence. Books like this often sell well because they’re rooted in what’s true.

The second group has a hunch. They know it’s probably true, so they collect anecdotes to substantiate the hunch. Maybe there’s even a biblical passage to serve as a metaphor. “Five loaves, two fish, and twelve baskets.” These books sell OK, especially if the author does seminars.

As we pay close attention to our students, listening carefully, noticing patterns, comparing notes with others, and then searching Scripture to discover what’s going on, we stand the chance of bringing just the right mix of truth to our groups.

That’s the type of truth that sets people free.