In Part 1, I mentioned that Sunday School teachers must be continual learners. When the teacher stops learning, he/she stops teaching. The teacher must continue to learn from God and His Word, from life and life experiences, from and about teaching and learning, about the age group that is taught, about the specific individuals in the teacher’s class, and more. In Part 1, I talked about an article by Kim Dailey entitled Tips for Teachers.
In the article Dailey offers ten tips (teaching lessons that she learned the hard way) that can help teachers of any age group. In Part 1, I shared the first five of Dailey’s tips. In Part 2, I will share her final five tips in all capitals followed by my commentary:
- USE A TEMPLATE. Once you get into a regular rhythm of lesson preparation, you can develop a bit of a template that helps you to include all of the essential elements and yet allows you to customize the lesson. My one warning is for you not to allow this to become routine. Seek to encounter God first. Seek to listen to Him. Seek to understand the truth that He wants you to teach to your learners. But a template can still serve as a checklist for not forgetting to do something important.
- HAVE A POINT. Don’t just teach to hear yourself talk! Have a point, and make a point. Spend time seeking God’s leadership to the most important focal point for the lesson. What truth does He want emphasized? What truth do learners need most to help them to become better disciples? As Dailey put it, “Keep the application firmly in mind when creating the lesson and activities.” Build the lesson to make that point. Choose your teaching methods to best reinforce that point.
- SET EXPECTATIONS. Expect a lot. But expectations that are not shared will seldom be achieved. Let attenders know what you expect. Help them know what you expect to happen as a result of the lesson. Let them know what you are looking for them to learn. Give them questions you want them to answer as a result of the lesson. Encourage anticipation and listening.
- KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR STUDENTS. Sunday School is a 24/7 ministry which does not end when the Bible study hour is over. Make assignments. Give them questions about next week’s lesson to seek when they read the passage this week. Challenge them to apply the truth of this week’s lesson, and let them know you will be asking for testimonies next week; then do it! Keep up with special days in the lives of your learners. Keep in touch!
- DEPEND ON GOD. This is the most important of the ten tips. God is the reason we gather together as a small group. He is the reason we have something to study together and to apply to our lives. Depend on Him. Spend time in His Word and in prayer. Seek Him. Seek the power of His Holy Spirit in your own life as a Christ-follower and as you prepare to lead others to study His Word. Do your best to get out of the way when you open His Word with a group. Allow the group to encounter Him in His Word rather than to hear your testimony of having done so.
As I concluded last time, which of these five tips is a good reminder for you? What could you do to implement one of these tips into your teaching this week? What tips would you offer to a teacher who is just starting out? Share these five tips and others you might have learned the hard way with other teachers. Don’t forget the other five of Dailey’s tips in Part 1. Help one another be as effective as possible as tools in God’s hands. Be revolutionary!