During the last ten years, I have worked with churches all over Kentucky. The majority of churches around the state purchase and utilize curriculum. Most use one of the four main series from LifeWay Christian Resources: Explore the Bible, Bible Studies for Life, MasterWork, and Life Connections. (For free samples, check this Curriculum Guide.) LifeWay has developed a new digital delivery system for Explore the Bible and Bible Studies for Life. It is called LifeWay Lessons. Because of its quality and web access, I predict it will grow.
Anyway, among churches around the state, I have encountered quite a few teachers and churches who prepare lessons with no other curriculum than God’s Word. For some, this is a matter of cost; for others, it is a matter of preference. For those using nothing but the Bible, it is important to put together your own lesson plan. This begins in personal prayer and Bible study. Teachers should seek God’s leadership for the passage to be taught and God’s truth that is needed by those attending the class.
After prayer, Bible study, and seeking God’s leadership for the direction of the session (passage/truth), there are many methods for putting together a lesson plan. I want to recommend another thought provoking blog entry. It is entitled How (not) to Write a Sunday School Lesson. The author has offered several helpful suggestions including several from the Seels and Glasgow book, Making Instructional Design Decisions.
- define what is to be learned, through needs, task, and instructional analysis;
- specify how learning will occur (design an approach) asking what are objectives, how will we know if they are met, what strategy will achieve the objectives, and what media/methods are most effective;
- develop instructional materials by deciding what they’ll say, evaluating media, evaluating quality standards of materials, and seeing if materials can be improved;
- teach the class; and
- determine instruction impact by asking have we solved the problem, what’s the impact, and what needs to change.
These might sound like odd questions for a Sunday School lesson, but they deserve a second look. I agree with with the author of the Blogos blog entry when he stated, “The starting point (for further study after today’s class) is analysis: what is the problem Sunday School is attempting to solve, and why do we want people to go there in the first place?” As you write this week’s lesson, what does God want you to accomplish during the session? What does God want you to do during the session? What does God want the attenders to do as a result of the lesson? These are important questions for applying God’s truth to their lives. Prayerfully prepare. Be revolutionary!