ASK was intentionally designed to be interactive. That means the facilitator/group leader must introduce the session topic in class, help inspire conversations based on the questions provided, and use different multimedia tools (DVD videos, SMS polling, PowerPoint and Keynote presentations, online web forums) to create a dynamic learning atmosphere.
Why are we placing so much emphasis on interaction? Why not just play a DVD for 45 minutes? In the book Soul Searching, Christian Smith’s observations gleened from the National Study for Youth and Religion (NSYR) show:
- Religious educators need to work hard on articulation
- Youth are comfortable talking about God but not Jesus
- Teens need to practice talking about their faith
- Articulation fosters reality
The facilitator is to help carry and focus the class conversations around the session topic. We want to help develop the student’s ability to think critically. We do not expect a facilitator to have all of the answers. Actually, we expect a facilitor to learn with the class and model how to gracefully find answers when don’t know.
We firmly believe the Christian who understands that his/her faith can be defended and stands up to scrutiny from other worldviews is much better equipped when they are asked tough questions.
Consider this. According to the NSYR, many youth are never even asked what they believe about the simplest of spirtual issues. Since they are not asked, many students cannot articulate what they believe very well – they may have never really thought about the most elementary spiritual issues. Without personal reflection on faith and without being able to articulate belief well, students are often ill-equipped for the challenges which they will face as they encounter the plurality of worldviews and cultures.
ASK is a safe way for students to practice talking about what they believe.