Improve Yourself, Improve Your Teaching

Friday 8th June, 2007


What you do really does matter. People are watching. And as a Sunday School teacher, your life and example are important. In Ten Best Practices to Make Your Sunday School Work, Ken Hemphill and Bill Taylor said, "The leader is the lesson." If you are not real, they know it. If you aren't doing what you teach, they know it. If your life is a wreck, it has influence on the impact of what you teach. Your life teaches powerfully!

Paul writes in Ephesians 5:15-16, "Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity" (NIV). Take advantage of every opportunity to improve your leadership, and it impacts your class and teaching. Improve your relationship with God through your quiet time, and it impacts your teaching and its application in the lives of your class. Improve your communication skills, and it impacts your teaching.

So I want to challenge you to focus on one area of improvement in the next quarter. Pray for God's leadership and help. Focus on it. Read about. Take a class. Practice on it. Then act it out. Then observe how it naturally pours itself into your teaching.

Gene Taylor has written a great article entitled Becoming a Better Bible Class Teacher. In it he shares seven areas of improvement that impact teaching. The introductory sentences in all capitals are his; the commentary is mine. Consider these areas of impact:

  • ANALYZE YOURSELF AND SEE WHERE IMPROVEMENTS CAN BE MADE. Prayerfully examine all aspects of your life, example, leadership, and teaching. What do you see that needs improvement? Where do you need assistance? Where do you need training?
  • IMPROVEMENT CAN COME THROUGH ENCOURAGEMENT FROM WITHIN AND WITHOUT. Listen to what is said to you and to others about your class and your leadership. Consider the strengths that are affirmed. Build on those strengths. Never focus on the challenges without also focusing on the blessings. Be free with words of affirmation.
  • IMPROVEMENT CAN COME THROUGH SELF-SUPERVISION. STUDY YOURSELF CONSTANTLY. Audio or videotape yourself teaching. Take inventories to understand better your personality, gifts, leadership style, etc. Be honest with yourself. Challenge yourself. Focus. Set goals. Risk.
  • IMPROVEMENT CAN COME THROUGH INTENSIFIED STUDY. Learn all you can about God, God's Word, leadership, teaching, learning, biblical history, Bible lands, members of your class, and your community. Become an expert simply for the purpose of sharing from the overflow. Read. Research. Study. Pray. Observe.
  • IMPROVEMENT CAN COME THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE. Watch and ask questions of other teachers and leaders. Ask for feedback of class members and of the director and pastor. Ask someone to observe and give you feedback. Ask for ideas and suggestions for improvement. Seek synergy through gathering ideas from an enlisted group.
  • THE GREATEST IMPROVEMENT CAN COME THROUGH IMITATING JESUS CHRIST, THE MASTER TEACHER. Become a student of Jesus. Look at His methods. Study His words. Study His interactions. Don't be overwhelmed. Just take small steps in living out His life in day to day life.
  • IMPROVEMENT COMES THROUGH PRAYER. Never underestimate the power of prayer in your life and class. Ask for His insight. Seek His will. Spend time with Him daily. Value and protect your appointment with Him. Walk with Him daily. Teach and lead out of the overflow of His presence and blessings. Believe. Ask for great things.

Where do you need to start? Which one of these areas could produce the greatest impact on your teaching in the next quarter? Now that you have identified the area, take a step in that direction. Pray and ask God to help you. Share your commitment with another leader. Commit to improve yourself and your teaching. Be revolutionary!

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