We want people to pay attention when we teach. If they don’t, we may be wasting our time and theirs. So how can we get them interested and increase opportunity for knowledge, application, and obedience? Preview may be a helpful tool in that effort.
Previews are short (1-3 minutes) efforts designed to help attenders focus on what lies ahead. Previews may be an overview of the coming lesson or why it is important. They may point to how the teaching-learning experience will be different or how attenders can prepare for it.
Times to Use Preview
There are three opportunities to use preview. I am not advocating use of preview during all three times each week. Some weeks, you may use all three while other weeks you may use only one of the times.
- End of the Lesson. You helped attenders review the day’s lesson and truth. You led them to apply that truth to their lives and challenged them to be obedient. Now is the time to use preview to get them interested in and ready for next week’s lesson. Tell a story. Ask a question. Make an assignment.
- Through the Week. Use text, email, phone, or social media to preview the coming lesson between Sundays. Ask them to read a key verse–or even memorize it. Share a personal illustration or struggle related to the lesson. Help them see why they need this lesson. Encourage them to invite a friend because the topic is so relevant.
- Beginning of the Lesson. If you gave assignments, this is a natural opportunity to check on what they did. Early lesson moments may give you opportunity to share how the lesson impacted you. You may simply list the highlights about the lesson or why it is so relevant for today. A key story or question may preview the lesson while also capturing their attention.
Previewing for Discipleship
Preview not only has potential for increasing interest in the lesson, it can also lead to greater discipleship. When we give assignments, the work they do on their own leads participants to own more of the learning in the coming lesson. Reading scripture before and during class increases opportunity for the Spirit to work through the Word. Giving an individual an assignment can increase Bible skills or leadership potential.
And beyond all that, when we capture interest through preview, attenders are more likely to listen, understand, and apply the truth. That means they are more likely to obey and to grow as disciples. So add preview to your teaching plan this week. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!