In my book, Disciple-Making Encounters, I address the importance of capturing attention in the early moments of your time together with your group (chapter 11). In Early Moment Opportunities, I shared four key elements (before group time begins): expectancy, early arrival, preparation of the teaching space, and fellowship. Then after a prayerful beginning, it is important to capture attention. Why?
Reasons to Capture Attention
Learners come to group time focused in many directions: the fight on the way, tasks for work, shopping lists, errands to run, lunch, the game, and many more. In order for a teacher to lead learners toward an encounter with God in His Word, the teacher must redirect learners’ attention toward God, the passage, the topic, and the truth for the day. Failing to do so will result in lost opportunities for listening and responding.
Early Moment Opportunities
Starting on time is an understated and simple way to capture attention. The group I attend does business before time to start (announcements, fellowship, and sharing contact results). As a result, the group is expectant about beginning on time.
Even with starting on time, some minds may still not be present. It is often necessary to do something intentionally related to the lesson to capture attention and create interest. Consider these as starter ideas:
- Ask a question.
- Tell a story.
- Read a headline.
- Share a testimony.
- Play a song or video clip.
- Rearrange the room.
- Get them in subgroups.
- Meet in a new place.
- Bring in a guest speaker.
My suggestion is to ensure whatever you do gets them thinking about God, the passage, and the lesson for the day. Avoid activities which lead them to distraction.
Not Just Early Moments
In truth, attention may have to be captured multiple times throughout group time. Keep an eye on learners. Are they listening? Check on it. Move around without distracting. Ask follow up questions. Get someone to summarize.
Attention matters if you want to lead learners to meet God in Bible study and be changed as a result. Don’t settle for less. Never start without capturing attention. And never let go of their attention. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!