Getting Out of the Teaching Rut

Originally Posted on September 15, 2020

Webinar Transcript

– I’m gonna turn this over to you. Kathy Mims. Kathy, tell us how we get out of that rut?

– We’re gonna try.

– Okay.

– Okay. Welcome to everybody. I appreciate you coming on a Sunday afternoon. That can be a hard time to quit doing anything else you’re doing like taking a nap. But before I start, I just wanna say that we are gonna talk about teaching and teaching tips but I wanna talk a little bit about Sunday school more generally. Before we get to that, some of this is gonna be things you already know, but it doesn’t hurt to think about it so that when we get to the teaching, you remember why we’re here. What we’re doing as far as our teaching. First off Sunday school is not just a program, it is a ministry. It’s not just a weekly event, it’s a strategy. And you have to structure your Sunday school to carry out the task of the church. The number one task of the church is to reach lost and unchurched people. But there are some other tasks that the Sunday school should pursue. And three of those are, one is, of course you wanna reach people for Christ in church membership. You wanna teach people God’s word and you wanna minister to people’s needs. None of these are standalone tasks. They all work together. They’re interconnected. If you’re not reaching people, who are you gonna teach? And if you’re not ministering to people in time of need, you’re not carrying out part of the work that we have to do. Sunday school is where a lot of people make their friends, and when things are going in their life that they might need prayer or they might need some other types of assistance. It’s that Sunday school group that they’re gonna look to. Today we’re gonna be focusing on that second task, which is teaching people God’s word and ways that teachers can be more effective in helping all individuals in their class. You have to think about every person that’s in there or in your small group to understand and apply the word of God in their lives. Let’s talk a minute just about what are some characteristics of effective Sunday school teachers. It’s important to establish commitment upfront when you’re recruiting or enlisting Sunday school teachers. And I’m not sure who’s out there today, I can’t see you, I don’t know much about you. I don’t know how many of you are already teachers. I don’t know how many of you are in maybe staff positions or you might be one that recruits teachers or what your role is. But these are some things that you would wanna think about. And this helps to avoid problems later on. Some and these aren’t all of them, but some non-negotiable expectations to communicate to individuals that are being recruited to teach Sunday school. This goes without saying, but individuals who have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And this is your most critical characteristic that you wanna look for, critical denominator that you wanna look for when you’re looking for Sunday school teachers. You wanna be sure that an individual feels call of God to serve Him through the Sunday school ministry. We all have different gifts, we all have different callings and not everybody’s called to be a Sunday school teacher, but criteria for people that are filling this position, have to be more than well they’re breathing. Or will they finally succumb to my repeated requests, because we just needed somebody in there. You don’t wanna just fill the gap. You want somebody that’s committed to being in that position and feels called to serve there. And you want some people that are gonna strive to follow the lead of the Holy spirit in what they’re doing in that Sunday school group. Another factor to look for, is that the individual will actively participate in training and growing opportunities. I think this is vitally important is, training sessions that are offered at state level, your local level, association levels, go if you can. Be a part of those because you’re always gonna hear new ideas, new things, you’re gonna get to talk to other people about the struggles they might be having, or the good things that they’ve tried that worked. And they’ll give you more ideas. They’ll keep you energized. You don’t want to become stagnant. You can’t always rely on yesterday’s knowledge. And we know we’re living in a rapidly changing world and things that worked five, 10 years ago may not work now, or we have to look at them different ways. You have to be up-to-date on things. We want teachers that are sprouting, they’re growing, they’re maturing, they are still becoming. And as long as we’re living, we can still be becoming as we grow. You want an individual that will do all that he or she can to make Sunday mornings a positive uplifting experience. We don’t want boring. We don’t want just we’re in there. We gotta do this kind of attitude. The most lifting things in the world, are God’s salvation, God’s word, God’s people. And we wanna communicate that in our Sunday school, we want teachers who are positive. Teachers that are loving, are friendly people. But at the same time, we need teachers that must address sin. Call it what it is, expenses, destructive ramifications, but all this while showing people to live Godly lives and how to avoid Satan’s deathly traps. It’s how to live victoriously and to experience the abundant life. Sunday school is one of the main places that, that can happen. People might share things or present things and you might be thinking, or others in the class were thinking, that’s sin out now. We need to confront them about that, we need to let them know that they need to change that, or we need to work with them to change that. But you have to do it in a loving way. As they say, you hate the sin and love the sinner. And that’s what we need teachers who can do that and who can be very confident in their beliefs in reaching people. And then finally the individual should help set the tone and the atmosphere of the class. I don’t like a teacher that comes running in at the last minute or five minutes late. And he’s like, “Oh, I’m sorry”. That happens from time to time maybe because things happen at home. But if you’re gonna set the right tone and the right atmosphere for the class, you gotta be there early, you gotta greet people as they come in, you need to interact with people as they’re coming in. You gotta let them know that you care and that they’re wanted and they’re accepted, and you’re happy to see them. And you’re happy that they’re there. They want to know that the teacher is interested in them. Being a Sunday school teacher involves a lot more than just showing up on Sunday morning, teaching a class for 30 or 45 minutes, maybe an hour if you’re lucky. Going home, coming back next week and doing it again. It requires having a team spirit and living up to some very high standards. At the same time if you’re leaning on God, all that’s taken care of, all that’s under control. Let’s talk a few minutes about preparing to teach. And the greatest teachers are the best prepared teachers. I know I’ve had Sunday school teachers in the past that said, “Oh I finally got time to study at my Sunday school lesson this morning before I came”. And I’m thinking, how long did you study? And how much do you really gonna have to share with us today? But you wanna teach with this prepared. And there’s nothing, nothing, nothing that can replace that personal preparation time. Ability alone is not gonna make you a great teacher. And some of the factors that shape teachers, is a good teacher will give the majority of their attention to the content of the lesson, but with little thought on the presentation. The focus has gotta be on that content. It’s healthy to begin preparing by analyzing the biblical texts that you’re gonna be talking about that week. That’s the most vital ingredient of the lesson. But then you also have to give consideration to the presentation, the methodology. How am I gonna communicate this to the learners, to the class members? If the truths that you are attempting to convey, don’t connect with anyone. The question is, have you really taught? If nothing changed with them, in terms of them grasping something new, have you really taught? That’s one question to ask yourself. one of the things we know is that people usually teach in the way that they learn. Whatever style is best suited to your learning, is probably the style that you’re gonna use when teaching. But everyone in your class doesn’t learn the same way that you do. The more styles that you can incorporate into your teaching, the more people that you’re gonna reach with the word that you’re trying to communicate. We fall into the trap as teachers of using the same teaching method over and over because we get comfortable with it. And it becomes easy for us. And we like that, we like comfort, we like being in that little box sometimes. But you really need to be stretched and challenged to try something different. And that means that you’re gonna risk failure, but failure’s okay. It’s permissible to fail. Don’t let those things scare you. Then the teacher’s use of different methodologies is minimized with a large class. The larger the class is, the less options you have for different teaching methods. You want to think about that. That’s one reason, there are a number of reasons that we like to keep our Sunday school classes on a smaller scale. And that would be one of ’em because it confines your teaching styles and how you go about doing it. This is a good reason to limit class size. When I say limited, I’m saying 20 to 25 people, and if you’re getting too far above that, then it’s probably time to think about birthing a new class from that. But every teacher needs to use as many styles as possible so that they reach as many people as possible when they teach. And then the worst teaching method that a teacher can use is the same one used over and over and over. You wanna mix it up, you don’t wanna be predictable. And we’re gonna talk some about, how do we do that? What are some of the different methods that you might use in there? Let’s talk about a lesson plan. And there’s three parts to a good lesson plan. I’m gonna talk briefly about parts one and three. We’re gonna skip over two, to begin with, because we’re gonna come back to that with the teaching. But the first part of a good lesson plan is motivation. Please understand that most people, when they walk into your Sunday school room on a Sunday morning are not focused on that Bible lesson. Their minds have been occupied all morning with things like getting up, getting breakfast, maybe getting kids up or other family members up, grandchildren up, trying to help people get their things together, figuring out what to wear, getting dressed and all the things that we have to do. And then getting into that car on time and making it to Sunday school on time. Their minds are not on that central Bible truth of the lesson. It’s up to the teacher, that whoever’s in that room is that teacher, it’s their responsibility to help kick their minds into gear. Getting their brains going and get them focused on what’s gonna happen in Sunday school that morning so that they will take something out of there. And then the third part of a good lesson plan, is application. And this is where you ask questions like, how will we apply this Bible truth to Monday morning? How will we practically and tangibly flesh it out in the real world? And you wanna lead class members to make meaningful applications so that it will make a difference in their lives. If you can lead them to see how they should respond, you’re not telling them what they should do or how they should respond, but you’re leading them to figure out how they should respond. They’re gonna be more likely to make the responses, it’s gonna be more likely that they’re gonna live it out through the week. First thing you got is, you got to set an example. What responses have you made or will you make to God’s word? And share those. Then you have to allow time in class for application. A lot of times we get caught up in the lesson to the point where there’s not enough time left at the end to talk about the application and what does this mean for us individually? What does this mean for us as a class? What does this mean for us as a church in terms of responding to each other, to the community or how we live out our lives? What we need to change individually in our own lives. You want to give that time for the application, and then you can ask a key question to bring out several ways to respond to the text. For example, how can we as Christians show, we care about people and their spiritual needs? And then you want to encourage them to choose one way of responding during the week. And that’d be a good thing right there to do, is just getting them to think, what’s something I can do, make a commitment to do that during the week. And the next week you can get them to respond back to what did you do this week? What was the outcome of it? What kind of response did you get from somebody if you were ministering to them? But you’ve gotta encourage them to choose one way to respond during the week. A lot of people, they’re resistant to doing that. They say, “I don’t know. “I can’t think right now, “I don’t interact with people that might need that”. But helping them to figure out how are you gonna do that and let them come to that conclusion for themselves. And that’s one goal of Sunday school, that you want your members to be changed, and you want them to take what they have learned and to be doers of the word, not just hearers of the word, but doers of the word. You got your first two, is your motivation, your application is number one and three. Let’s go back to number two in your lesson plan. And that’s your examination. What are you going to do, to study God’s word? How are you examine the Bible truth? And the teacher prepares the learners to participate in ways that help them grasp the biblical truths themselves. More time should be devoted to this part of the lesson than the other two parts. You’re talking about 75% of the time should go right here. And why is that? It’s because this is where the learners are getting into the meat of the word. What does this really mean? Taking it apart, looking at it, examining it. Learners should be confronted with what does this mean? And then got it into discovering the proper interpretation of the text. That takes time. It takes good planning to figure out how you’re gonna do that, so you’re not spinning your wheels with a lot of time wasting time in class. Let’s look at, we’re talking about getting out of the rut, and that means we got to use some different teaching methods. And so what are some teaching methods that you can use? Y’all excuse me, I’m having allergy problems. I may have to stop and take a sip of water occasionally. This is probably the most used method is lecture. And I’m sure all of you are familiar with that. That’s where you have a speaker, that’s before an audience making a speech basically. Too many adult teachers use this method as their primary means of communication in their classes. And lecture has a place in adult Sunday school. It’s just not lecture every Sunday. You don’t want that to be, as we said, while ago, you wanna mix it up. You don’t want it to be the same old, same old, every single Sunday. It’s better to use what you might call an involvement format. With lecture, there’s not that much involvement from the class members, is the teacher telling them, teaching. We wanna do an involvement format. How are we gonna get them involved in what we’re doing? How are we gonna get them taking ownership of some of this? That might require a mindset on the part of the teacher. And think about two approaches to Bible study. In the first approach, you study the Bible texts thoroughly, you spend the week getting ready for Sunday school. And then you gotta tell your students what you’ve learned during the week, that’s your first approach. The second approach, you still study the Bible texts thoroughly, but then you’re gonna plan ways for the class members to discover what you learned during the week on their own. You’re not telling them what you’ve learned for them to absorb. You’re helping them to discover what’s in that message for them, what’s in that text for them. Which of those approaches do you think is gonna be the most interesting? And which one do you think is gonna be the most valuable for your adult learners? And I hope you’re gonna say the second approach because that is the correct answer. The more involvement that you get from them, the more they’re gonna get out of it. Let’s look at what are some of the methods that you can plan for, and that you can use to have an interactive Bible study and for them to learn what you’ve learned while studying the text. There are three basic methods and some of these I’m sure you probably used to some extent. The first one, is question and answer. You wanna prepare a series of questions that lead the adults through the content of the passage. And then these questions will explore things like who, where, when, what, how many, those kinds of questions of the text, what’s the text saying about those things? It’s a good idea to put your questions on paper and depending on how you use it, it could be that you’re reading the questions to them and getting responses, or you can pass out the paper to them and letting them all over it think on it, work on it a little bit, and then have that discussion time afterwards. But question and answer is one format that you can use. Group discussion. And this is a planned conversation with three or more persons in groups, you can divide the class into groups on a selected topic. The key here is you still got leadership, they’re not left to their own devices to have this group discussion. The good discussion questions is for the when. How issues of texts and require an analysis of what the text says, not just the identifying information, but what does this text actually trying to convey to the reader? And they can discuss that in their groups and come up with their answers and go from there. Paraphrasing is another technique. Ask your adults to put the scripture text into their own words. Erm. What is it saying to them? How would they say that if they were writing it? Instead of the biblical writer that did it. And this is a great way to involve them and to help them to explore the meaning of the text. And for you also is, if they share that, then you can get an idea of what it’s saying to them or where they might be coming from. It helps you to better understand your class members. Those are three basic methods that you can use. They’re pretty simple actually. And don’t require that much more preparation on the part of the teacher. Preparing questions takes some time, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult. But then what are some other methods that you should employ? And there’s a whole list of them. We’re gonna get through some of them. And hopefully some of these are ones, if you haven’t tried them that they’ll pique your interest or say, “oh, I can do that”. First one is a panel discussion. And this is a planned conversation before an audience on a selected topic. And you have to have about three or more panelists. You don’t want a large group ’cause you don’t have a lot of time. It’s not like an open-ended type of thing. Taking into consideration how much time you have in your Sunday school class, you might have two, you might have three, some classes might have four. You might more and a leader. You have somebody who acts as moderator of that panel and keeps them on track with the questions that they are being asked to keep it on subject. I’ve seen panels that worked very effectively and the people in the panel responded very well to the questions put before them and stayed on track. And then I’ve seen other panels that, just go chase rabbits. And at the end, you’re like, what was that? And so it would be your job maybe as the teacher, unless you had somebody else to do it, to be the moderator for the panel and to keep them on track and keep them focused on what you’re trying to accomplish that morning. You also could do a panel forum and that way they would do the same thing. You would have your panel, but then you would have audience participation, after the panel had finished answering the questions and sharing what they have to share. That would be pulling your group into that conversation with them after they have completed that. There are buzz groups that you can get. This again, you would get the class into small study groups and they would each be discussing an assigned problem. And then this is usually done, we’ve all probably done this at some point in time or another, been in one where your group has something, an issue, topic to discuss it’s related to the lesson, to the text that’s going on. And then you report back to the large group, and maybe everybody has the same question and you see what different kinds of things you might come up with. Or each one has a different something to look at in the text that day or different verses to look at and texts that day. But then at the end, they would report back to the whole group. And there would be that group discussion that goes on. Role-playing. This is unrehearsed. You could recruit people even that morning to do a dramatic enactment of a situation. And you would have maybe two or more persons that do that. And then it would be analyzed by the group, just you’re playing out what’s in that scripture or how a problem that might arise or that’s related to that scripture, and what the main lesson is that day, what the main point of the lesson is that day. And you have to know your people. I’m not a role player particularly, don’t call on me to do it. But I’ll discuss all day. And I’ll do that so you have to know your group sometimes and what they’re comfortable doing. ‘Cause if you start calling on people to do things and you might even enlist them during the week ahead, that’s probably a better idea. Is give them a phone call and say, “look this is what I’ve got planned for Sunday morning. I’d like to do this and wonder would you help me? Would you participate in this?” And if they have a little time to think, you don’t have to tell them what. Just say, we’re gonna do this role play I’ll give you the information when we get there Sunday morning. And I said, it’s an unrehearsed dramatic reenactment or an enactment of human conflict situation or other situation there. Case studies are always good. And this is an account of a problem situation. You give enough detail to make it possible for groups to analyze the problems involved. And how would we respond to this? How would a Christian respond to this? How would a non-Christian maybe respond to this? If a Christian encountered a person in this situation, how could they help them? How could they respond to this? You can take it in a number of different directions. I know one of the popular ones when I was coming up in my teen years and early college years was the one where, you’ve been stranded on a desert island with 10 other people, and you’ve got these 12 items and you’ve got to decide which ones are gonna survive the shipwreck you were in or something, which ones do you really need? Be it flashlight, matches, can of sardines, whatever. And then the group had to come to consensus on those kinds of things, that can be a case study type situation. That’s an example, you present the problem and they have to figure out, what are some possible responses to that problem. And again, everything should be based around that text for that Sunday. What’s the lesson? What’s the major point of the lesson that we’re trying to convey today. Brainstorming. And that’s a method of problem solving. Group members suggest in rapid fire or all of the possible solutions they can think of. And there’s no, what I would call screening. Somebody gives a suggestion, they blurt out an answer, you write it on the board or you write it on the whiteboard. You don’t say, that’s not a good idea. If you do that, you’re killing the brainstorming. It’s gotta be things that are just coming up, like popcorn popping and things are just coming out. And then you go back. And look at all the things you generated and which one of these sound feasible, which one of them aren’t feasible, which one of them would be productive or non-productive or a positive or not positive. And again, everything relates back to whatever you’re talking about in that lesson. When you start planning to do these things, that’s what you have to stay focused on. Is that key point that you’re trying to convey that day. Listening teams are always a good thing. Again, you can divide the class into teams in advance of a presentation, and it might be again, you’re gonna put them in groups and you’re gonna do your presentation, or you’re gonna have that drama, or whatever method you’re choosing that day. And then they are going to listen with very specific assignments in that and report on their assignment. We used to do a lot of role playing when I was in my master’s program. I have a master’s degree in social work. And we had to do a lot of situations where we were counseling people or trying to help people figure out how to get through their problems. And you might have somebody acting as a counselor, therapist or the helper and the other person that’s got the problem. And then you have a couple of people observing that role play, and one’s watching the counselor one’s watching the person in need. Where were they coming from? What were they feeling? What was the problem? How effective was the response of each to the other, Get people taking different perspectives on what’s going on and then coming back to, what does all this mean? What does it mean for us as Christians? How can I apply this during the week? What I’ve learned here today in terms of that. The trick is you give them specific assignments to look for, and they’re different for different ones in the group. Debate is a good method to get maybe a couple of speakers who are for and against a proposition. They present their points of view. Sometimes there’s not a different point of view in a group. I just gotta play the devil’s advocate and get them to do that. And then the group members can question the presenters about the stance that they took on whatever their issue is. There are lots of issues in the Bible that come up in terms of something as simple as, should you eat or drink that? And what effect is that gonna have on the people that see you do that? And is that wrong? Is that a sin or is that not a sin? And then there’s much more deeper issues that come up. But set up that debate situation and let two people. There’s probably usually always somebody in the group that likes to debate and discuss things. They would be more than willing maybe to be participants in that. You also, when you’re doing these things, you don’t have to rely strictly on people that are in your class. There might be somebody outside of class that you know would be a good person to pull in to do a role play or to help with something. And don’t feel confined by, I’ve just got this group to work with. But again that’s one way to think outside the box. Here’s somebody else that could entice to come in here and help us out this morning with that. You can have formal discussions. And that involves stating the problems, getting the facts, considering the possible solutions, and then selecting the best solutions. It’s a more formalized way of doing things in just an open debate. Symposiums. And that’s a series of short speeches before an audience. With leadership, again if you’re asking people to get up and do a little talk on something, then you’ve got to set some parameters for them. That the speeches would be to present a different aspect of a topic, not necessarily different topics, but one topic with each person giving a different perspective on it. And when I say set parameters, you need to let them know how much time they have, exactly what you want them to focus on, and then maybe even get with them ahead of time to go over that to be sure that they’re sticking to what you suggested. ‘Cause if you don’t, then it can throw everything off kilter on that Sunday morning when your group meets, if you’ve got one person that goes way over time, then that messes the other side, or it messes you up and trying to bring everything to a conclusion and get the application part of it in there. That’s also a symposium, Then you could also have a symposium with a forum afterwards. And that means again, you’ve just got that audience participation. You do it same way, but at the end, there’s that group discussion, audience participation in the topics that you’re talking about that day. Study guides are good. That would be a series of questions to be answered in large groups, small groups or individually. And it’s not one everybody doing the same question, but you would give them out to however you want them to handle it, whether individually or in groups. And letting them go through some of the texts, trying to get it into the meat again of what you’re trying to convey that Sunday and what that topic is for that Sunday. Object lessons are a great tool to use and they can be very simple, to very elaborate. Those are used as a way just to give a visual to a point that you’re trying to make. A couple of simple ones to think about, is one is, if your main point. Bible truth, maybe one Sunday is that as Christians, we are to be in the world, but not of the world. One object lesson that has been used as you bring out a clear glass that’s half full of water and also a quarter of 10W30 motor oil, or a motor oil. You pour the motor oil into the glass and what’s gonna happen. It stays on top of the water. They don’t mix. And that’s a very visual picture of what it means to be in the world but not of the world, or of the world, but not in the world. Because it’s separate, as Christians we’re separate, but yet we live in the world. We live in a sinful world. And that gives a good visual, I’m a visual learner. If you gotta tell me something, if it’s all audio, sometimes people will say, hey listen to this and tell me what you think. And they’ll read it to me. And then I’m like, “let me help out, let me look at it. Let me read it”. ‘Cause I have to see it, to process it and get it all in my brain. If you’ve got people that are very visual learners, object lessons are a great way to do that. Another one that I thought of, and I have used this one in the past, if your central Bible truth, is to guard your tongue, be careful What you say. Is bring up a paper plate and a tube of toothpaste and put the toothpaste down on that plate and then ask somebody to put that toothpaste back in that tube. And of course the response is gonna be, that’s not possible. I can’t do that. And I know it’s not possible. But then your point is, you’re right, you can’t put it back. Neither can the words that you say, once they’re out there, you can’t take them back. If you have hurtful things to say, if you say things that are very inappropriate, whatever, once those things get out of your mouth, you can’t bring them back. The damage is done. Anything along those lines that you can do to create a visual for the people that helps them. I am a facilitator for GriefShare class in our church, and we use a lot of object lessons with them. And one of the most one that we use, is I went out one day and collected a bunch of rocks. And some of them were big rocks and some of them were small rocks. And then I wrote different emotions on them, anger, guilt, sadness, joy, positive and negative emotions on those rocks. And I bring those one night when we’re talking about emotions and how they affect you in your grief. I asked them all to choose one of the rocks and then said, “I want you to choose a rock that has an emotion that you are feeling or have felt, and it’s been a difficult thing for you to deal with in the midst of your grief and tell us about it”. And they picked their rocks. And then we put them in a like a cloth bag that I have. And once we get all those rocks in there, everybody’s discussed their motions and we’ve talked about them. And then I asked somebody to pick that bag up and carry it around room. It’s a heavy bag. And lot of times people say I’ll do that. And then they get up, they can’t even pick it up because it’s so heavy. But the point is, that we’re trying to make is your emotions can weigh you down. Grief weighs you down. But that’s a very visual thing that they have to show them what we’re talking about and to help them realize the reason I’m feeling the way I am is because I’m carrying all this weight. I’m carrying around all these emotions. I’m carrying around all this grief. My point is, if you can incorporate object lessons, that has worked well, and again, you don’t wanna do it every Sunday necessarily, but put it in there. You want to use variety. We talked about that. You don’t wanna do the same old, same old every Sunday, but then you also don’t wanna get stuck in another rut of maybe you’ve done lecture a lot, and say okay I wanna try something different. That something different gets to be an every Sunday thing. You want to be careful about that. Sometimes that variety might be something as simple as setting up your room differently, turning the chairs facing a different direction. If you use classroom style with chairs and rows, you might put them in a circle. But what this can communicate to a class is, something’s going to happen in here this morning. Someone’s prepared and they have a game plan for us, for our time together today. Other good tools that you can use are, music, songs, YouTube videos. There’s some good YouTube videos that can fit in with lesson plans out there. You have to hunt for them sometimes, but don’t discount any of that because they can add a lot to a lesson and to what’s going on in the classroom. Do you know somebody whose testimony lends itself to what you’re talking about today. And could they share that? Get people to share their own stories. I’ve heard too many people say when we’ve talked about, learning to do your testimony or to write out your testimony, or would you share your testimony and they said, “I don’t have a testimony”. I’m like, “are you a believer in Christ? “Did you come to faith in class? “You got a testimony. “It doesn’t mean you had to be on drugs or drunk, “or have all this major sin in your life. “But you still got a testimony because God came “into your life. “Christ came into your life and has changed you”. That’s a good way to help people to learn to formulate their story in a way that it can be shared. But get somebody to come in and do that. Again, you gotta be sure to give guidelines. I can remember several years ago, a young lady was asked to get up and give her testimony in church. And I just said, “would you get up and take about five minutes “and give your testimony?” And she said, “sure”. That was the extent of the instruction to her. And she took 45 minutes, preacher didn’t get to preach that morning. ‘Cause once she got on the pulpit and started talking, there was no gracious way to ask her to step down. And so the person that had asked her to come that night, it was like, I’m the one that failed. But you have to be careful when you’re asking other people to participate, but you do give them guidelines. And again, maybe you second, we get together ahead of time. And you share with me what you’re going to say to be sure that you on the same page. But the more variety that you use, the more learning is gonna to take place. Again, not everybody learns the same way about the same methods. And if you want to reach everybody, you need to have that variety. The variety adds connection, it adds anticipation, it adds involvement, it adds excitement. And the study of God’s word should not be boring. We should really all be excited to come to Sunday school, to come to church, not just to see other people or eat donuts together or whatever we do. But that we’re there to study God’s word and to know Him better and to get to know what he desires for us better. These ideas are not exhausted. If we were in a classroom situation, I can see you and talk to you and I’d say, “what are some things you’ve tried? “What are some things you’ve done? “How did they work?” Those are things that be thinking about, What have I seen other people doing that work? What are some things that I might be comfortable with? These are not exhaustive. You need to be daring. You need to be creative when you put new methods into good use. And one of the things is, don’t feel like you got to try everything. Try some things, see how it goes. Most teachers will probably not be comfortable with trying new teaching methods, but if you start slow and you try some of these or other methods, then you get used to mixing things up. You’re gonna gain more confidence. I think you’ll start to see some changes in your group response. And then you you start adding other activities as you go along. And you can use things like crossword puzzles, interviewing characters from the text, but you’re gonna be surprised at how your class will be infused with new energy and enthusiasm if you just take the time to incorporate different ideas and different methods of doing things. A word of caution to you. Is you want to be sure that the teaching methods being used, actually get people into the Bible text. For example, your suggested discussion questions should not deal only with peripheral issues, but should deal with the text itself. You don’t wanna hop around it, you wanna get into it. And every teaching method should get adults into the word in some way. The guiding question in choosing a method is going to be, what will help my students discover what I learned this week from the Bible text. Through your own personal study, what did you learn and what methods are gonna be the best ones to use at that time for them to help communicate that? Just to sum all this up. I feel like I’m just cramming things down your throat, so to speak. But one is you wanna know your content and your subject matter. You gotta be prepared. The second one is you gotta know your audience, what are their learning styles? If you can figure it out, how many visual learners? How many audio learners? How many light hands on things? But know who your audience is and where they are. And then you want to prepare, prepare, prepare. We can’t say that enough. You’ve got to be prepared before you walk in there on Sunday morning so that you don’t look like you’re floundering. One of the things I was taught early on, when I started out, I was one of those very, not very confident people in terms of getting up in front of groups. And I had a lot of encouragers, I had a lot of mentors that worked with me and helped me. And of course taking speech classes in high school and college that helped. But one of the things that you don’t want to do when you get up in front of a group is say, “I really didn’t have much time to study this week. “And I really, I don’t feel very well prepared today”. They’re gonna shut down right then or “I’m not sure why they asked me to do this, “but I’m gonna give it a shot”. You gonna lose your audience. You have to get up and speak with confidence, and you have to get up and act like I wanna be here. I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad you’re here. And we’re gonna learn something new together today. And as long as you can exude that, then try not to let them see any insecurities or let any lack of confidence that you may have as you step out and try new things. That’s my good word for today. I hope some of that was helpful.

– Thank you, Kathy. I couldn’t help but think, as we were talking about the styles of teaching. I’ve learned from a lot of my friends who are grandparents. That in this summer sit session time, they’ve done vacation Bible school at home. And they have been learning scripture and activities with their grandchildren. But you know what I learned? It sticks with the grandparents too.

– That’s right.

– learned a rap song, or they’ve learned a new scripture and it’s all because it was in a different format. If you used LifeWay, it was in Concrete and Cranes. And those kind of teaching mechanisms. I love those ideas of planning for all your learners that are gonna be there. I don’t have any questions that have been provided if anyone has joined us and has a question about getting out of that rut, please put it in the chat. And I will share that with Kathy and I just have appreciated the different things I was thinking about my son. We’ve all probably if you have not returned into your church for any of your small groups, which my church has not returned. We’re doing everything by Zoom, but some of this could actually be done even on Zoom. That you could enlist others ahead of time to perhaps get their view of scripture or to be ready to role play a session, or even set up a panel.

– We’re doing Sunday school by Zoom also. We have four teachers in our class and one of our teachers, his son and his wife, they went to India right at the beginning of the COVID stuff starting and adopted a little boy. And it was touching, guys were wondering whether they were going to get home. And then even after they got home, the grandmother, and the teacher, I mean the teacher and his wife, the grandparents to that child got COVID and they were not able to see that child forever. But anyway, one of the lessons we were doing, he had gotten some pictures and he tied in, he showed us pictures on the screen of his new grandchild and it was tied into the lesson that we were talking about that week and he said, you can use it when you learn how to use those things on Zoom. You can show visuals of your questions or pictures you’ve got that illustrate something.

– Sure.

– You can interview people. There’s lots of ways you can do that.

– I feel that we’re all probably have learned a different format for doing Sunday school in our small groups, in these different times. We still need to be thinking about the people who are sitting there learning and being apart. I thank all of you who participated today, who were online watching. I hope that it gave you some different insights, things for you to think about. I will say it’s not always easy, to get out the rut. Because we also have a learning style that we are most comfortable with. We have to challenge ourselves.-

– Right.

– And as Kathy said, you don’t wanna try something new and then overuse it. Get comfortable with doing something different, and a couple of weeks later, you might do something different again. Go back to your lecture style.-

– And one thing I meant to say also, is I don’t know how much time teachers have in their Sunday… It varies a little bit from Sunday school class to Sunday school class. Elder groups tend to be there. If your class starts at nine o’clock, they’re ready to go, the older groups. My age group, they come dragging in about 15 minutes after we’re supposed to be starting. You don’t ever know, you have to plan accordingly in what you’re doing and don’t get too complicated in terms of what you’re gonna do so that your timeframe gets away from you with one part of that lesson or another. You wanna be sure to save time for application, but you don’t wanna skip over the text.

– Absolutely. I think that is probably one of the hardest things to do, is make sure that you end with plenty of time to apply your application. Oh, Oh yeah. And as you go this week, be sure and do, or how are you going to live that out. Make that an intentional part of you maybe. Thank you everyone for being with us. If I could, I wanna close our time in prayer and pray for you as you use some of these new ideas in your preparation for the coming week and weeks ahead as you teach in Sunday school. Father, I just thank you so much for new ideas and new thoughts that come to us as we are sharing what you’ve laid on our heart in our Sunday school lesson and our time that we have spent reading through your word, reading the material that has been prepared for us by a learned writer and that then Father, we can clearly communicate that to variety of members in our classes. Father, thank you for Kathy, and for the time that she spent preparing for us today and that this information today, and it is used in the coming weeks ahead as people go and find it online. That it will be of help to each and everyone. We thank you Father for this time together, we pray blessings on everyone in the days ahead as they use the material in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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