What is the best way to start a Sunday School lesson? Is there one best way to launch a Bible study experience? The answers to this question are as varied as the people in the classes, their learning styles, their interests, the passage of scripture, and so many other variables.
The bottom line is the need to capture attention and create interest. Many arrive in class with minds and hearts focused in other directions. Some are still thinking about the fight they had in the car on the way to church. Others are going over plans for the week in their minds. Some are going over grocery lists or appointments.
In a previous blog entry entitled Could R.O.P.E.S. Improve Sunday School?, I shared about a teaching process called R.O.P.E.S. The first two letters stand for Review (review the learners’ general knowledge of/experience with the topic) and Overview (establish connection between learners and content). These two steps in creating a teaching plan can be two great ways to create attention and create interest.
Besides review and overview, your method of presenting your opening section of material can attract attention and interest. This can range from how you arranged the chairs to a question on the board, to playing a song, to showing a video, to telling a story.
Many authors have written about hooks. Glenn Brooke has written a great document entitled How Great Bible Teachers Create Powerful Hooks to Start Lessons Off Right–Every Time. I want to encourage you to read the entire article. In the article, he lists three important purposes of hooks:
- Get their attention and interest.
- Generate expectations.
- Set up the key elements of the lesson to be relevant to the individual.
Glenn then lists several examples of hooks. After sharing great hooks, he then lists five common mistakes to avoid:
- Don’t try to get the whole lesson summarized in the hook.
- Make personal introductions short.
- Use humor the right way.
- Tailor hooks to the specific lesson.
- Memorize your hook, and practice staying it.
Then Glenn closes by suggesting a process for creating hooks. How have you used hooks in your lessons? Can you see ways to use hooks? Read the article and create your own hooks. Capture their attention and refuse to let it go! Be revolutionary!