Preparing for a Sunday School Lesson with DEPTH, Part 2

Friday 27th February, 2009

In Part 1, I shared that I attended the annual meeting of the Baptist Association of Christian Educators at Ridgecrest. The speakers were Jason Hayes and Michael Kelley who work on Threads (collegiate and young adult Bible study) for LifeWay. After a discussion about ADHD and postmodernism, they identified four markers: community, depth, responsibility, and connection. Then they drilled down on depth for us. They introduced three characteristics of "leadership in the pack" with depth: move from information to exploration, from admiration to identification, and from dispensation to revelation.

Then Michael walked us through seven steps of what preparing for Bible study with a focus on depth would look like. In Part 1, I shared the first three steps. In Part 2, I will share his final four steps in all capitals followed by his suggestions and my commentary:

  • FIND THE 3 AM OF THE TEXT. What is the one point? What is the main point? Work to summarize the lesson into one simple statement you could explain to someone if they called to ask you at 3 AM. Michael suggested that it be 5-6 words in length. When doing expository teaching on longer passages, there may be more than one of these. But most passages are able to be broken into sections so you can focus on one.
  • PERSONALLY REFLECT ON THE TEXT. Allow God to speak to you. What is the truth you need to hear? What does He want you to do as a result of the personal encounter? You cannot be the guide the class needs unless you have an encounter yourself first. Don't just prepare a lesson. Begin with a personal encounter with God in His Word.
  • DRAW UP THE OUTLINE. Outline the passage. But also know where you are going with your teaching plans and methods. Begin with a method of creating interest. Consider using an icebreaker--but don't waste the time. Make sure the icebreaker not only gets the class talking but does so in the direction of your plan for sharing the truth. Craft your delivery. Plan for participation, interaction, and discovery.
  • SEEK TO LEAD OTHERS TO DISCOVER THE CONTENT ON THEIR OWN. Don't just lecture. Don't just tell them what you discovered in your encounter with God. Do more share your testimony of your own encounter. Instead, plan to involve them. Develop your teaching plan to include participatory activities. Get everyone thinking and talking. Engage them in conversation. Break them into smaller groups. Pair them off with discussion assignments. Make assignments. E-mail a question to the class and ask for reports on Sunday. When they discover the truth themselves, it tends to be more meaningful and long-lasting.
Go back to review the steps shared in Part 1. Learn these steps. Teach others these steps: Read the text. Ask lots of questions. Learn it. Examine your lesson preparation. Which of these four (seven) areas is your strength? Which one needs improvement. What can you do this week to address that step in your preparation for life-changing Bible study with depth? Read, question, and learn the text. Be revolutionary!

For additional ideas about lesson preparation, check out these blog posts:

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