I mentioned in Part 1 that I was thinking about Sunday School lessons that are interesting and those that help me make spiritual progress as a disciple. 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?
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. Yet if I fail to get interested in the lesson, I may never engage with God, miss the encounter and the truth, and focus on worries and distractions rather than on the lesson.
What can we do to ensure lessons are BOTH interesting and disciple-making? In this four-part series, I will share a dozen ways Sunday School teachers can make lessons interesting AND disciple-making. In Part 1, I shared the first three: be confident, believable, and passionate. In Part 2, I will share three more:
- BE KNOWLEDGEABLE. Knowledgeable comes from experience. This is time spent with God in His Word. This is prayer, study, reading, and preparation. But it is also the journey through life. It is wisdom that comes from life spent with God. It is observation of the text, or the context, of history (then and now), and of human nature. It is observation of the lives God has entrusted to you. Start your lessons early in the week to allow God to illustrate the truth. Use teaching methods that address attenders’ learning styles (which means you need to be knowledgeable of their preferred learning styles). Be knowledgeable.
- BE COMPASSIONATE. Love God and love others as yourself. Love others with His compassion. Care enough to listen. Hear what is being said. Be responsive to needs. Act out your compassion. Lead your class to do care. Care in your teaching, in your organizing, in your reaching. Care for regular attenders, absentees, and unconnected people. This care will naturally come through in your teaching. It will provide illustrations and will lead to application of truths and encouragement toward obedience. It will lead the class to take steps to minister to needs in class and the community. The first fruit of the Spirit mentioned is love. Be compassionate.
- BE A CLEAR COMMUNICATOR. While knowledge comes from experience, clear communication comes from preparation. Think before you speak. Prepare before you teach. Listen before you respond. Be wise and careful with your words. Avoid confusing people. Make sure your lessons are heading in one direction. Avoid teaching multiple truths. Help them focus on one truth. Help learners to understand the truth, own the truth, and know how they should respond to the truth. Use the best method to communicate the truth of God’s Word to your specific audience at that moment in time. Be a clear communicator.
How do your lessons measure up? Do your attenders see you as knowledgeable, compassionate, and a clear communicator? On which of these do you need to focus? What can you do to take steps in that direction? In the next two parts, I will share six more ways Sunday School teachers can make lessons interesting and disciple-making: be a role model, creative, flexible, facilitative, a life-long learner, and a step-planner. Care enough to invest time to encounter God and become knowledgeable. Be compassionate. Communicate clearly. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!