For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)
One of the questions I often ask in a SS training event is: Are you teaching for information about the Bible or providing an environment for the Holy Spirit to transform the class members as they come in contact with God’s living Word? It is about perspective. If you are looking to provide a history lesson of the Bible or simply teaching the context of the Scripture with the central truth being the emphasis without life application, we are falling short. I can take a class at a university and learn much about the Bible including context, culture and truths.
What we need more than anything is to provide an environment of seeing God’s Word come alive and leading to an experience with the Resurrected Lord which leads to life application and transformation. Allow me to share some examples:
Psalm 29 God in the Storm: Share the power of God in the midst of a storm through a video clip. Allow them time to remember a storm that they witnessed. What images come to mind? Talk about some of the storms they have faced in their lives. Where did they see God? What resources did they have to get through the storm? What was it like after the storm passed? How did God give a sense of peace?
Jeremiah 18:1-4 God as the Potter: Provide Play Doh for every person that morning. Share the story in Jeremiah, and then ask some pointed questions as each person molds the Play Doh: What areas of your life are marred right now? What areas are their cracks and frailty? Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share with someone next to you areas that need change in your life. Allow God to begin to mold you and make you. Perhaps share a song like “Spirit of the Living God” or Steve and Annie Chapman’s song, “Change Us Lord” as members imagine God molding them as they mold the Play Doh.
Matthew 11:28-29 God as Burden Carrier: Give each person a rock to hold. Talk about the burdens that weigh us down. Allow them to discuss their burdens and pray for each other after you share the passage. Ask them, What burdens do you need to give to God? What are ways you are to be yoked with Christ? Ask them to bring the rock/burden to the cross and pick up an index card. They are to write one way they can draw closer to (be yoked with) Christ that week, and place it in their Bible as a reminder.
Luke 19:1-10 God as Friend to Outcasts: Take your class outside to a tree where a young adult will be dressed as Zacchaeus and will share his story as an outcast. Allow them to imagine being Zacchaeus and to talk about ways they feel isolated. Encourage them to recognize they are not alone, and to think of resources they have to move forward. Allow them to imagine being a part of the crowd as barriers to Zacchaeus getting to Jesus. What are ways we can minister to persons in the community who feel like outcasts?
Whatever the passage, use your imagination to consider what it must have been like as one of the characters in the passage, and how to provide an environment where the Holy Spirit can lead people to an experience with the Resurrected Lord and not just another lesson.