Over the years, I have experienced many great lessons and far too many poor ones. They have ranged from lectures and reading from the pupil’s book to meeting away from the church and classroom rearranging. One of the negatives about creativity is that it takes time–time to prepare and time to present. And teachers today are busier than ever making investment in creativity more challenging–but not any less important. For thoughts about the importance of investing our time in Sunday School, check out Leaders Take More Time for Revolutionary Sunday School and There’s Just Not Enough Time: How Can a Sunday School Teacher Do It All?.
Creativity, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. I am a somewhat “jaded” conference attender. What I mean is that I have attended hundreds of conferences over the years. I have seen many presentation styles and teaching methods. Today I experience very little that is new when I attend a conference. But for others who have attended fewer conferences, anything other than lecture may be creative.
On the other hand, creativity is more than variety. In many ways, it is strategically choosing, planning, and presenting methods for group involvement and delivery of content. The worst method is the one that is used all the time. On the other hand, the best method is the one (or ones) that is most effective at communicating the truth of God’s Word to this group of people (for more, check out the five-part series beginning with Leading Attenders to Meet God in Bible Study, Part 1). Let me break that last sentence down:
- Start with God in prayer and His Word discerning the truth that He wishes the group to confront.
- Then consider the group and their needs, affinities, learning style preferences, experiences, etc.
- Then choose one or more teaching method(s) which best communicate(s) that truth to that group.
Creativity begins with the teacher spending time with God in prayer and Bible study. This is more than simply preparing a lesson. This is a genuine seeking for an encounter with God in His Word. It is becoming a knowledgeable guide on a journey toward understanding God and His Word better (check out The Best Adult Sunday School Teachers Are Guides).
Creativity also begins by spending time with group members. It is being in their homes and offices. It is spending time over meals and at fellowships. It is attending weddings, funerals, graduations, and other celebration and stress-filled times. And lastly, it is focusing on the best way to get group members to obey the truth (Matthew 28:20). The more learners are involved, the more they learn. But, again, we are trying to move them to actually practicing the truth–not just “know” it.
What are some creative ways you have presented God’s truth? What can you do this week to be more creative in helping learners listen, learn, and live the truth? For more ideas about creativity, check out Could R.O.P.E.S. Improve Sunday School?, Why Is There No Variety of Teaching Methods in Sunday School?, Learning Styles in Adult Sunday School, and Balanced Diet of Sunday School/Small Group Teaching Methods, Part 1 (and Part 2). Be creative. Be revolutionary!