- Paperback: 864 pages
- Publisher: B&H Books (September 15, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1433689642
- ISBN-13: 978-1433689642
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hearts, Heads, and Hands: A Manual for Teaching Others to Teach Others Paperback – September 15, 2016
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About the Author
Sills previously served long-term as a missionary in Ecuador. While with the International Mission Board, he served as a church planter and general evangelist among the Highland Quichua people in the Andes and as a seminary professor at the Ecuadorian Baptist Theological Seminary. He also served as rector and professor of the Baptist seminary as a missionary with Global Outreach International. He has planted and pastored churches in both the United States and Ecuador. Sills has written several books and articles in both English and Spanish, including The Missionary Call: Find Your Place in God's Plan for the World, which has been translated into Spanish, Korean and Indonesian, Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience, and Reaching and Teaching the Highland Quichuas.
His Spanish books include Capacitación Cultural en la Cultura Quichua and Quichuas de la Sierra. In addition, he has also coauthored or contributed to several books such as Introduction to Global Missions and Introducción a la Misiología. A frequent speaker at conferences internationally, Sills has spoken for the Desiring God National Conference, Urbana Missions Conference, To Every Tribe, Master's College and the Cross Conference. He and his wife Mary have been married for over thirty years and have two grown children and four grandchildren.
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Sills does not advocate extracting a pastor-in-training from his native context in order to enroll him in a metropolitan seminary away from his village culture; rather, Sills proposes seminary-quality training for pastors in their native contexts, yet he cautions that using highly literate models of education do not transfer well to oral-based learners. He helpfully states, "Even though many students can read the words on a page, the headlines in a newspaper, or a verse in the Bible, this is not proof they are able to understand the argument or that they could learn and apply life-changing truths found on a printed page. Our Western forms of education that require literacy seem to us to be the best—or only—way to teach students. The use of numerical listings, progressive ordering of points, outlines, statistics, percentages, and logical reasoning is lost on oral learners. Additionally, oral learners do not easily separate the truth from the truth teller. For them truth equals relationship plus experience. If either of the latter two is missing, the lesson will not be effective" (8).
Sills posits that andragogical learning is preferable because then the student is self-motivated and the learning is problem-centered, not content-centered. Moreover, lest someone recommend the myriad of online learning opportunities, he does not promote information inculcation from such online platforms, though helpful as they may be. Sills argues, "The problem is not simply that the majority of the world still does not have reliable Internet with sufficient velocity to benefit from this method, but the very teaching style and delivery must be contextualized to a culturally appropriate method as we have already seen. Digital forms of teaching are not helpful for many. . . . Additionally, most cultures in the world are face-to-face cultures, and the relationship between teacher and learner is extremely important" (11). Sills further explains that combining in-class oral-based learning with peers would be enhanced much more through in-ministry mentorships because a trusting relationship is the ground in which the fruit of learning grows for face-to-face, group-oriented cultures.
Sills explains that this book is for trainers to know how and what to teach the pastors-in-training, but the final goal is that the students would themselves become trainers of others in the future. Thus, this book is a tool for training trainers over and against merely teaching students. He explains that this “curriculum is divided into nine one-week intensive classes with a rhythm of instruction flowing from hearts to heads to hands every day, employing a very specific and pedagogical philosophy, and presents the curriculum in a logical flow of courses presented” (15). These modules do not necessarily delve deeply into academic arguments and scholarly minutiae lest functionally literate and functionally illiterate students feel unqualified and incompetent. Yet, Sills provides suggested readings after each module for those who wish to study in depth or for those teachers who wish to prepare more deeply. Moreover, Sills helpfully explains,
"Although each module’s content is divided according to natural teaching sections, the material may alternatively be easily divided in any other way that may be more conducive to the specific training context. The module incorporates the content to be taught for Hearts, Heads, and Hands, occasional illustrations, applications, intercultural contextualization guidelines, as well as insights for how to teach the material. It falls to the missionary-professor to know his specific cultural context well and make appropriate adjustments in his teaching to enable the students to understand, remember, and be able to repeat the lessons. If any one of those three are missing, then the teaching with that group stops at the end of the class" (15–16). Each module is designed to require approximately thirty to thirty-five hours per week, and spaced between each module should be an interval of weeks or, more preferably, months. The weekly modules should focus five hours on hearts, five hours on hands, and twenty-five hours on head knowledge. In addition, for those teachers who require interpreters, phrase-by-phrase translation means that the professor will only teach for roughly half of the class time.
Each of the themes (heart, head, and hands) is integrated together in each module. The theme of the heart focuses on the leader’s spiritual development, which is divided into nine personal spiritual disciplines, the nine parts of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22–23, and the nine aspects of the thought life in Philippians 4:8–9. The theme of the head focuses on the leader’s biblical foundation. And the theme of the hands focuses on the leader’s administrative responsibility. The integrated modules include:
•Module 1 (week 1)
Heart: Bible Intake, Love, Truth (5 hours)
Head: Overview of the Old Testament (25 hours)
Hands: God’s Call to Ministry (5 hours)
•Module 2 (week 2)
Heart: Prayer, Joy, Honorable (5 hours)
Head: Overview of the New Testament (25 hours)
Hands: The Pastor’s Character (5 hours)
•Module 3 (week 3)
Heart: Worship, Peace, Just (5 hours)
Head: Christian Doctrine (25 hours)
Hands: Shepherding God’s Flock (5 hours)
•Module 4 (week 4)
Heart: Scripture Memorization, Patience, Purity (5 hours)
Head: Church History (25 hours)
Hands: Ordinances (5 hours)
•Module 5 (week 5)
Heart: Serving, Kindness, Lovely (5 hours)
Head: Hermeneutics (25 hours)
Hands: Developing Leaders (5 hours)
•Module 6 (week 6)
Heart: Evangelism, Goodness, Commendable (5 hours)
Head: Missions and Church Planting (25 hours)
Hands: Mentoring (5 hours)
•Module 7 (week 7)
Heart: Stewardship, Faith, Excellence (5 hours)
Head: Homiletics and Storying (25 hours)
Hands: Community Engagement (5 hours)
•Module 8 (week 8)
Heart: Fasting, Gentleness, Praiseworthy (5 hours)
Head: Family Ministry and Counseling (25 hours)
Hands: Church Finances (5 hours)
•Module 9 (week 9)
Heart: Silence and Solitude, Self-control, Peace (5 hours)
Head: Worship Leadership (25 hours)
Hands: Church Discipline (5 hours)
The students, if applicable, are encouraged to own and use a quality study Bible to supplement their class lessons. For those wishing greater depth of study, professors are encouraged to provide suggested readings or supplemental material. Such additional instruction should be integrated throughout the module instead of offering an extra elective course, Sills advises, “lest it give the impression that the additional classes are optional or, worse, only for the more spiritual” (19).
Sills also includes seven appendices that discuss helpful tips regarding teaching in cross-cultural contexts, the role of women, ecclesiology, oral-based learners, using the manual for discipleship, discerning prosperity gospel doctrines, and cultural adaptation. Then, at the very end of the book, he provides outlines for each of the nine modules. In his final introductory comments, for the sake of clarity and focus, Sills repeats that the goal of this manual is to train competent pastors of high-character quality who are equipped both to serve their ministries and to train others to do the same.
Sills has done a great service to missionaries seeking to train the undiscipled. Combining conservative evangelical theology with contextualized pastoral insights and practical applications for spiritual growth, this manual proves to be adequate in scope and sequence to equip Christian leaders in any cultural context for every good work. Because Sills is familiar with the typical literacy and education level of students in jungle, mountainous, rural, and non-Western settings, he does well to focus on broad themes of instruction instead of particularly concentrating on academic minutiae. Nevertheless, he provides enough biblical verses and exposure to topics so that, if the teacher or students so desire, more in-depth learning could be pursued. These lessons are designed to be the broad strokes of what they should know as the first steps of their ministry training. For those missionary-teachers preparing to utilize this book, it helps to think of targeting students who do not know much beyond the fact that God has called them to serve the church; this is not a North American seminary education in a single volume, though it sets a foundation for more advanced theological/ministerial training in future courses.
Missionary-teachers who use Sills’ model would benefit from reading through each module and preparing supplemental material in case students desire deeper discussion and further clarification. As Sills explains, “The content of these modules is primarily for the teachers, teaching them to teach others more than detailed content containing everything a pastor needs to know” (14). These modules can be adapted for a broad spectrum of learners—from those with a functionally illiterate learning style to those with a highly literate learning style. The modules are not fixed transcriptions for the teachers to read aloud; they serve more as basic content outlines for the teachers to follow in a concise, easy-to-follow format. Pre-course preparation for each module would benefit the overall teaching and learning experience.
One unique feature to this training manual is how it is designed for face-to-face, group-oriented cultures. The suggested teaching modules are not written in a way that would promote a memory dump or information download. Sills designed the modules to be conducted in a conference style. Related to this relational manner of teaching is the unique method of teaching. According to Sills’ research and experience, “spaced repetition” is ideal for transformative learning: “The same lesson taught repeatedly at spaced intervals, and approached from many directions to make the same point, is powerful in our memories” (8). Lending itself to non-linear modes of learning for those not educated in Western pedagogy, this method of spaced repetition proves to be very effective for all learners, but especially for those in bush, jungle, and rural contexts.
Some missionary-theologians might infer, after skimming through the brief nine-module outline, that Sills has neglected gospel-related categories that are deemed theologically meaningful in varying degrees in all cultures, such as shame/honor, guilt/innocence, and fear/power paradigms. Admittedly, he does not strictly dedicate a whole module to these categories, so glancing through the table of contents would give the impression that they, and others, are not covered. However, he does indeed mention those specifically in numerous places throughout the modules in order to aid in culturally communicative gospel teaching. Moreover, his focused treatment of the scope of contextualization would be helpful for any teacher to read prior to teaching through the modules (see pp. 284–95). The material is generally structured according to Western paradigms of theological and biblical understandings as both a way to assist the teacher to understand and because most theological categories are essential, non-negotiables of biblical revelation. Introducing new paradigms for multiple cultural contexts would have been both confusing and unhelpful, given the demographic from which the majority of evangelical missionary-teachers come and the global churches which they will serve. This is a teaching manual, not a systematic theology textbook. As such, it is not intended to be comprehensive in content but, rather, thorough in scope and sequence.
Dr. M. David Sills has provided a highly recommended training manual that many discipleship-oriented and theology-driven missionaries have eagerly desired. Bringing together contextually appropriate teaching methods, culturally sensitive learning styles, essential biblical doctrines, and timeless pastoral wisdom, Sills’ Hearts, Heads, & Hands raises the bar for training pastors and Christian leaders in non-Westernized cultures who cannot access formal seminary education due to geographical, financial, and/or educational limitations. The contents of this book have been already employed in Sills’ ministry—Reaching & Teaching International Ministries. Therefore, these are not theoretical lessons created in the confines of the academy; rather, these are field-tested modules compiled after years of developing and refining. Moreover, this manual unapologetically seeks the transformation of the pastor-in-training’s mind, affections, and volition with the inerrant, sufficient Word of God. In an era of globally pervasive biblical illiteracy, this resource, if used as designed, will help guide missionary-teachers to heed 2 Timothy 2:2 and entrust biblical doctrine to faithful men who will thus train others also.
Would you believe that “in the USA there is one trained Christian worker for every 235 people” and that “once you leave the USA, that drops to one trained Christian worker for every 450,000 people”? This is the conclusion M. David Sills, author of The Missionary Call and Reaching and Teaching, has reached after a long and fruitful ministry in Ecuador serving as a missionary, church planter, and ministry leader trainer. Sills is now a professor of missions at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is the founder and president of Reaching & Teaching International Ministries. Sills is also the author of
The great commission calls us to reach the unreached with the gospel that we might see them saved. And with each passing year more and more people are reached and this call is answered more and more. But the great commission is more than just a call to evangelize – it is also a call to disciple. Contrary to some missiologists, Sills believes that the problem worldwide missions has is not that it is not reaching unbeliever with the gospel and seeing conversions but that it is not reaching believer’s with the gospel after conversion through good discipleship.
While many people believe the USA is in a post-Christian state, it still enjoys more ministry leaders, trainers, and resources than any other country in the world. “However,” says Sills, “around the world new believers who have come to the Lord with families saturated with false religions and anamistic worldviews will interpret the little they know about Christ against that backdrop, and the result will be syncretism at best.” (2) If the new believer’s in these now-reached people groups are not discipled correctly then they will in turn disciple new believers in the same unsatisfactory way. We need solidly discipled Christians to be equipped to disciple new believer’s in a sustainable way. Further, they need tools to do so.
It is for the purpose of supplying these tools that Sills has written Hearts, Heads, and Hands: A Manual for Teaching Others to Teach Others (B&H, 2016). As the title indicates, this book addresses the three key areas of discipleship which focuses on the whole person: head, hearts, and hands. The book divides the three discipleship areas into nine modules so that trainees receive instruction in each area. The Heart sections cover spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, Bible reading, the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, and the nine aspects of the believer’s thought life as found in Philippians 4:8-9. The Head sections cover areas such as systematic theology, church history, hermeneutics, and counseling. The Hands sections cover things like the pastor’s life, the ordinances, church finances, and church discipline.
The book is written with two helps for walking through the material. First, the bulk of the book presents the material in the form of a book. This walks through the material in a way as to explain all of the parts covered to the trainer themselves. It weaves together teaching you the material and along with teaching you how to in turn teach it. Secondly, at the end of the book is an almost 300 page detailed outline of the material for the trainer to use while teaching the material. This is extremely helpful as it is much easier to teach from an outline and the work is already done for you.
Hearts, Heads, and Hands is a missionaries dream in terms of giving them a comprehensive discipleship plan for new believers which addresses the whole person. While the book is written by a missionary for missionaries, I can see where this book would be useful for pastors and ministry leaders in the USA. I can see missions agencies training their new missionaries with this book and training them to use it to disciple new believers where the Lord sends them.
I received this book for free from B&H for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”