The premise of my book, Disciple-Making Encounters, is that the teacher meets God in Bible study during preparation and is changed. Then out of the overflow of that encounter with God, the teacher prepares a lesson leading group members to meet God in Bible study and be changed. My title question is a check of your preparation pulse. Are you going through the motions of preparing a content dump, or are you leading your group to change like you did in your encounter?
Do You Change?
My hope is that you will consider a revolutionary shift in your mindset and preparation. Before you teach, open God’s Word and listen to Him, to what He has to say…to you. Yes, we need to listen to His message to the original audience. It is essential that we fully grasp the context. But do you change? Too often in our lesson preparation, we rush to consider what God’s Word has to say to them…to our group.
The pressure to produce a lesson becomes greater the longer we wait to start preparing. Life is busy, but there is nothing more important than spending time with God. Make an appointment with Him shortly after your last lesson. Ask Him to speak to you. Open His Word. Read. And then listen.
At that point, I find it helpful to journal. Jot down some thoughts. As you read, what did you hear? What questions did you have? What was the main point back then? How does that apply to life today, and how does it apply to you? What does God want you to do as a result of having met Him in His Word?
Encounters and Obedience
When you open God’s Word, He speaks. And that encounter with God is intended to be life-changing. He expects you to be different as a result of that encounter. How? My overly simplified answer is obedient. That could be mindset. That could be heart. But it is a shift in who you are and what you do. It is agreement with Him and a willingness to adjust yourself to Him and His desires.
Can you imagine what would happen to your lessons when you listen, agree, and obey before you teach? You then are testifying about your encounter and your need to be obedient. But more importantly, teaching from the overflow increases the importance of making sure your group opens God’s Word to listen, agree, and obey for themselves.
You see, your testimony is inspiring, but it is not life-changing. Only God in His Word has the power to change lives. You cannot meet God in Bible study for your group, but you can lead them to do it for themselves. But it will require a change in your preparation and your presentation. Do you change? Start early reading God’s Word. Listen. Agree. Commit. Obey. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!