I was thinking about Sunday School lessons that are interesting and those that help me make spiritual progress as a disciple. Is there a difference between the two? Can a lesson be interesting but not help me grow as a disciple? Can a lesson help me make spiritual progress but not be interesting? Yes and no. Ideally, lessons should do both.
Lessons can capture my interest but not lead me to encounter God in His Word. I may be fascinated but not learn anything, not be convicted, and not make any change. On the other hand, if I fail to get interested in the lesson, I may never engage with God. I may miss the encounter and the truth. I may focus on my grocery list, the fight on the way to church, and my to do list rather than on the lesson.
What can we do to ensure lessons are both interesting and disciple-making? In this four-part series, I want to share a dozen ways Sunday School teachers can make lessons intersting AND disciple-making. Consider the first four:
BE CONFIDENT. Where does a teacher get confidence? Confidence comes first from a secure relationship with our Lord. Second, confidence comes from a call from God to serve as a teacher. Third, confidence as a teacher comes from a growing relationship with God and prayerful lesson preparation. Fourth, confidence comes from successful experience–time spent doing a job well. In addition to these, confidence can grow through affirmation of participants. Trust and follow God. Meet Him in personal Bible study. Allow Him to lead your lesson preparation. Be faithful. Be confident.
BE BELIEVABLE. Prepare well. Teach well. Tell the truth. Preparation and past performance leads to believability. In addition, your tone adds much. If you “sound” confident, it adds believablity. Rest well. Intentionally choose your words. Good relationships can also make a teacher more believable. Spend time with your attenders outside of class one-on-one, at fellowships, in homes, and in the community. Finally, be approachable. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know, and don’t be afraid to admit you are wrong. Some teachers fail here because they are afraid it will have the opposite impact. Attenders realize no one knows everything and everyone makes mistakes. Be believable.
BE PASSIONATE. If you enjoy teaching, your class, and God’s Word, let it show. Be enthusiastic. Be expressive. Show your excitement about the subject. Be expressive about progress you see in members’ lives. Show your passion for subject, context, truth, and application. Vary your delivery speed and volume. Be intentional in use of shout and whisper. Allow emotion to show through. Be expressive in your tone, facial gestures, and body gestures. Some passion comes from spending time with God in his Word to understand how important the lesson’s truth is for this group of people. Be passionate.
How do your lessons measure up? Do your attenders see you as confident, believable, and passionate? On which of these do you need to focus? What can you do to take steps in that direction? In the next three parts, I will share nine more ways Sunday School teachers can make lessons interesting and disciple-making: be knowledgeable, compassionate, a clear communicator, a role model, creative, flexible, facilitative, a life-long learner, and a step-planner. Care enough to invest time to encounter God and prepare well. Be interesting. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!