What does it take for a Sunday School lesson to be excellent? Think with me about elements of lesson excellence related to preparation, presentation, and application. In Part 1, we will look at elements of lesson excellence that take place prior to the presentation of the lesson. Consider the following preparation elements:
- Relationship. Relationships matter. Relationships are strengthened between teacher and group members by time spent together during and between meetings. Where good relationships exist, trust can develop. Where there is trust, teachers can lead, encourage, and challenge group members. Trust in turn impacts the preparation investment for the lesson.
- Prayer. Prayer for group members, their needs, and God to speak to the teacher and members is an investment that results in powerful, life-changing lessons. Prayer begins in advance of opening God’s Word and continues through the teacher’s confession of sin and seeking God’s will for his/her own life. All of that is in advance of putting a lesson together.
- Bible Study/First Encounter. When we open God’s Word, God speaks. The teacher seeking lesson excellence, opens God’s Word seeking to hear a personal message from God in advance of preparing a lesson for his/her group attenders. This is the first encounter, the teacher meeting God in personal Bible study. (The second encounter is when the teacher facilitates the group to have an encounter with God in His Word.)
- Personal Truth Application. What response does God expect from the teacher as a result of this encounter with Him in His Word? This makes the lesson personal and passionate, adding to lesson excellence.
- Context Understanding. It is essential to set the lesson focal passage into context. What is the setting in history and geography? Who are the author, characters, and the original hearers? What was the reason for the writing of the passage? Understanding the passage context helps us to avoid misunderstanding or misapplying the truth. Because lesson time is limited, lesson excellence demands advanced preparation here.
- Passage Mining. Beyond the context, it is important to notice the words and phrases of the verses. How can the passage be better understood through preparing an explanation of key words or phrases?
- Lesson Planning. Only after previous steps is it appropriate to invest in planning for a group-impacting second encounter/lesson. Since much of that will be detailed in Part 2 of this three part series, I won’t go into much detail here. But it is important to build a flexible plan for lesson excellence.
- Reminders/Assignments. In the course of lesson preparation, it may be appropriate to remind attenders about something and/or to make assignments to the entire group or individuals. This can create greater anticipation and investment in the lesson, further adding to excellence.
What would you add to these preparation elements for lesson excellence? Press Comments below and leave your thoughts. Build strong, trusting relationships. Pray. Meet God in Bible study. Seek His truth. Mine the passage. Prepare the lesson. Make assignments. Teach for life-change. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!