There is an individual from another church who comes by my office about once per month looking for our devotional literature which we give him. His church is small and he was a deacon candidate. But before elected, he had to teach a class, or Sunday School lesson. His text, which was assigned to him, was John 3, the encounter of Jesus and Nicodemus. He had several months to prepare. How he did on this “lesson” would determine if he would be elected as a deacon. The problem was he had never been a Sunday School teacher.
I asked him how his preparation was going. He seemed frustrated and said he had been studying a lot but there was so much information, so many themes, there was no way he could get it all in. So I suggested that he select one thing. What do you feel is the most important thing, or the thing the Lord lays on your heart in the text to teach? His face lit up & he smiled as if he had just made a grand, new discovery.
One thing. Gal 3:2 (NIV) says: I would like to learn just one thing from you… As a teacher you may be frustrated that there is not enough time to complete the entire lesson. There is too much good stuff you want to cover. The solution is choose one thing. There is genius in zeroing in on one thing, making it simple and easy to understand and remember in order to make application.
Every teacher needs to ask a question when preparing their lesson: What do I want the class to come away with? When they walk out the classroom door, what do you want to accomplish or how do you want them to change? Is it that their faith is increased, they are a better witness, they pray more often, they are better stewards, they are able to forgive a wrong, they love one another, they are assured of their salvation, or to follow Jesus even in difficult times, …….. ? What one thing do you want them to come away with?
If your class came away with only one thing, 50 times a year, you would be considered an excellent teacher! You would be in the top 5% of all teachers. Take the one thing from the text and make it plain & simple. Then make practical application: how do you put it into practice daily and apply it to you life? Then spend time praying about it in class. Ask the Lord to give you strength and courage to make the necessary changes. If you could only accomplish one thing today – what would it be?
PS – The man did well on his lesson, and is going to be elected as a deacon.