Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday- Read, Read, Read!

Spend time reading the passage. Read it in context. Even if you are familiar with the verses above & below the lesson passage, re-read. Look for key words. Note: God, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit are always key words. Words repeated often in a passage help me to see the point and applications will usually have their anchor in these key words.

Look for contrasts. Proverbs has the best example of contrasts. They usually are polarized words (light- dark, wisdom-folly, sin- righteousness).

Notice any time words such as when, now, or immediately. They help define action, either past present or future. Timing is everything with God.

Begin to study the lesson outline in view of the passage. Usually, the series of lessons will have a common thread. Using this common thread, develop a "POINT" and reinforce this point at the end of each section of scripture, Help learners remember the point through the use of objects, illustration or stories. You may even choose a song to help remember the "POINT." Jesus used everyday objects in culture to help people remember the message long after He was gone.

Be sure to gather any props early in the week. Many good lessons have diminished lasting effect because the teacher forgot to bring the objects, song or other visual aid.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Making a Plan- Monday

It's Monday and time to layout the basic plan for the lesson. There are three basic plans I like to integrate in a lesson:
  • Asking Good Questions
  • Parable or object lessons
  • Discussion
Questions help learners THINK about personal application of a passage of scripture. Jesus would use questions to answer a question others asked of Him.

Objects help focus the learners (and the teacher!) on the focus of the lesson. Jesus used everyday objects to teach a spiritual point. Imagine every time you see a particular object, you think about a spiritual truth. There's not a time I see a fig tree that I don't think about Jesus cursing the fig tree.

Sitting down and talking about an aspect of life was used by Jesus from His youth onward. Discussion doesn't mean lecture. Learners have the opportunity to share their personal take or change option with others in the class.

Resources like the LifeWay Quicksource Leader plan book offer helps for each of these approaches to teaching. Take a moment to blend all three approaches into your lesson each week.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Crafting a Lesson- Part 1

Time is the biggest enemy of preparing a life changing lesson. As teachers, we are able to work with the eternal Word of God. Though we desire to prepare and present a life changing message, time seems to leak away each week. Saturday night comes and we have barely thought about the Sunday's lesson, much less prepared any thing of substance for our class. Sound familiar?

I am not talking about a "Home Run" lesson each and every Sunday, but our Lord and our class deserve much more. So here's ONE 'How to" that may help you use time to your advantage rather than be overcome by the lack of time.

Begin as soon as the previous lesson is completed and presented on Sunday. If I take just a few minutes on Sunday afternoon to preview the lesson direction and a few additional minutes to read the larger passage, my heart begins the process of working through the scriptures and the suggested talking points. Notice I said "heart." That is where the life change takes place in my life and this is the target for the members of the class.

Sometimes there are great teaching tools such as LifeWay's "Quicksource Leader" book for their "Explore the Bible (ETB) Series". My personal favorite is the "Parable Plan". Quicksource suggests a common object to use during the lesson to keep the class focussed on the life change principle.

I find taking an extra look at the beginning of a quarter, will help me stay focused on where the scriptures are headed. Remember, it's only Sunday. We begin by taking a cursory look.

More later...