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Leader's Insight: The Hidden Curriculum

5 Questions 4 John Ortberg

1. You've recently accepted a new ministry position. What is one of the first things you do when you move to a new church or place of leadership?

There was a teacher of the year a few years ago named Kenny Dowd. I remember a phrase that he used that I liked a lot: "the hidden curriculum." There's the formal curriculum. That's when the teacher gets the math book out and teaches algebra. Then there's the hidden curriculum: Who gets called on and who doesn't? Who wants to sit by which kid, and which kid gets left alone? And it's the hidden curriculum that really shapes the lives of students most strongly.

I think similarly in church there's the formal curriculum. When I stand up and teach, that's an important thing and that will shape folks. But the hidden curriculum is about how the people relate to each other.

When somebody comes up to talk with me. Do I look at them, so as to say Oh, you're important so I really want to spend some time with you, or You're not very important so I really don't ...

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