Premastication: a yucky way to learn

Premastication is not some ancient theological term waiting to be rediscovered. It is the practice in the animal kingdom – including some humans who have not discovered the baby food isle or don’t have one – to chew the food intended for their babies. The standard delivery system is to spit the partially digested food into the baby’s mouth.

The authors of Creating Conversational Community write, “Yuck, you say? Well, that’s exactly how a lot of teachers feed their group members. The experience of learning a lot of cool stuff by feeding on God’s Word is pretty yummy to them. It’s pretty yucky if you are on the recipient’s end. Especially a dump truck full. We hope you are so grossed out by this idea that you feed your class in such a way that they have to chew on the Bread of Life” (p.29).

If you want to allow your group members to feed on God’s Word themselves, you’ll:

  • Ask great discussion questions.
  • Not tell them anything they can discover through guided study.
  • Use some of the 8 learning approaches as you teach.
  • Stop chewing up God’s Word for them – challenge them to study on their own before, during, or after your group time.


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