In Part 1, I stated that there are many things that attract people to a Sunday School class. One attraction to Sunday School is a great teaching-learning experience which begins with a teacher spending time in prayerful preparation. And this almost always involves two things: participation and fun. If attenders are involved in class time and enjoying themselves, the session is one of the best advertisements for next week.
I was reminded of some of the ingredients which add participation and fun to the recipe of an attractive Sunday School class when a I read a blog post by Marshall Jones Jr. entitled Conversation Cake: The 4 Ingredients of Interested Experience. Jones shares four ingredients of “interested conversations” which are essential for “interested experiences.” In Part 1, I shared his first two ingredients: (1) The butter: Questions and (2) The flour: Listening. In Part 2, I want to share the final two ingredients in all capitals followed by my commentary:
- THE EGGS: STORIES. In many ways, the Bible is a love story of God and people. It is filled with stories from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus himself was a master storyteller. He frequently drew illustrations from circumstances and surroundings. Biblical stories and truths intersect with the stories of people in our classes and world. In many way, stories are timeless. They often have application despite the passing of years. When we share illustrations and stories, people’s attention and interest increase. Stories can come from encounters along our paths, newspaper or other media, or even be made up. Stories bring minds and hearts to common issues. They provide common language to address. Add some good questions to stories, and the conversation begins. For additional suggestions, check out Use Stories Like This When You Teach, Part 1 and Use Stories Like This When You Teach, Part 2.
- THE SUGAR: HUMOR. There is much humor in life and life situations. Jesus pointed out some of it himself. I realize that some of us have difficulty telling jokes and trying to be funny. But if you will pay attention to things around you and to elements in stories, you will notice things that are humorous. If they are humorous to you, they just might be for others as well. As Jones stated, “Funny people are interesting.” A humorous response or story can lighten a group experiencing a moment of tension, frustration, or grief. Sometimes it is as simple as reminding a person or group of a shared experience which resulted in laughter. Humor is an ingredient that helps us lead attenders to participate and enjoy themselves. If the experience is fun (or funny), they will be more likely to learn, return, and tell others about the experience. Check out Ten Marks of Great Teaching for more thought on humor and other ingredients.
What can you do to make your class even more interesting through the use of stories and humor? Which of the two could use a little more work in your class? What step can you take this week to strengthen that ingredient? The extra effort to increase participation and enjoyment of your class will pay dividends. Check out Part 1 to consider the other two ingredients: questions and listening. Prayerfully prepare. Fold in stories and humor. Be revolutionary!