Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15 NIV)
Teachers have the incredible privilege and responsibility to share God’s Word with their class. They are called out and given the opportunity. At the same time, they have a major responsibility to make sure they teach the lesson in such a way that transformation can take place.
Today I want to share my personal way of teaching. Here are some of the essentials for me:
1. Be in prayer for the class every day. What are the needs in the class? Be praying for each one on roll by name. (Look at James 5:16.)
2. Begin Scripture study on Sunday night. Too often teachers find themselves waiting until Friday or Saturday night to go over the lesson. It is hard to make necessary preparation in such a short time. I begin by reading the Scripture only on Sunday night and asking, “God, what is it you want me to see for my own life?”
3. Do background work on the text. Not only are we reading the text for personal study, but we need to be true to the context for which it was originally written. On Monday, I try to look at commentaries about the text to understand its context.
4. Read the lesson and teaching lesson while being sensitive to today’s news. On Tuesday, I usually read both lessons and begin noticing any current events or news that may catch the attention of the class for the motivation part of the lesson as it applies to the central truth.
5. Think about the learning styles of your class. Each of us learns in different ways. (For a document with learning styles, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you for the class.) By Wednesday I want to consider how to prepare the lesson based on the learning styles and needs. Most SS literature gives you options on ways to present the lesson. Consider the options or make your own as it fits the learning styles.
6. Prepare an outline for the lesson. On Thursday, I am prayerfully preparing the outline for Sunday. I want to make sure I include an opening motivation- something that will catch everyone’s attention when they walk in the room to think about the passage and how it affects them. (I still believe in total period teaching!) You want people thinking about the lesson and catch their attention when they walk in the room, even though you may begin with announcement and prayer concerns.)
7. Take a day off! Friday is usually a day to set the lesson aside. Though God may show me something in the news or life experiences to jot a note about the lesson, I try to use this day as a Sabbath from the lesson.
8. Finalize your plans! Sometime Saturday, I will finish my outline with importance on three areas: Motivation– a way to capture their attention, Examination– look at the text and commentary to contextualize it for the class and Application– find ways for them to wrestle with the text in their lives. If we don’t get to application for life, we have failed to do what is necessary for the lesson that day. Sunday School is about transforming lives, not information about the Bible!
For us to be effective workers approved unto God, we must prepare each week to handle the Word of Truth.