Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Expository vs. Dramatic Teaching

I routinely get questions from teachers asking about how to make lessons more entertaining, more interesting. "I can't just plod through the text," wrote one teacher, "I need to add a lot of stories to make it interesting."

Our task is to teach, to disciple, to point people to the living Jesus. And our best source for this is the bible itself. Personal stories have their place, but not as a substitute for Scripture. Don't get stuck in the snare of using Scripture as a jumping-off point to fill the time with other stuff, no matter how entertaining.

Haddon Robinson has some good counsel on this issue.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Being the Teacher God Wants You to Be

Sometimes we get hung up because we see some other pastor or teacher and think to ourselves, "Oh, if only I could teach like _____ does!"

Wrong thought.

You've been made as a unique creation in the Imago Deo, a new creation in Christ! So God doesn't want you to be anything other than He has made you to be.

You need to be you, under the authority of God.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Responsible TO vs. FOR

I occasionally hear from teachers who are frustrated that their students (children, youth, adults) aren't following-through on the clear Bible teaching they are receiving. One man wrote me and said that after two weeks of reviewing the verses about gossip, "they're still doing it! I can't believe it."

As a teacher you have a holy responsibility and high calling. You must study, prepare, pray, and do everything you can to be effective in sharing truth from the Bible.

But the life-transformation power is from the Lord, not you.

If you feel frustration over the lack of life-change, go immediately to prayer. Confess any pride (you almost certainly have a pride issue here) and ask the Lord to translate your anger/disappointment/frustration/amazement into compassion, so you can pray more effectively for your students. Ask the Lord to show you how to be a better teacher -- a larger, cleaner conduit of truth and grace.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Two for Your Reading List

Here are two excellent articles by Roberta Hestenes that are worth printing off and reading several times.

The Unique Task of Teaching Adults
Good recommendations on how to interact with adults, challenge them to lifelong learning, and tailor teaching to them.

Knowing What to Teach, and How
(I think I blogged about this before, but that's ok :-)

The other good reason to read these, and reread them, is that they reinforce important principles of Great Bible Teaching.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Great Interview with Crawford Loritts

CT has an interview with Crawford Loritts that I heartily recommend to you. Don't miss his comments about challenging others for life change. Here's an excerpt:

"Every preacher needs to keep in mind three great axioms: (1) Don't ever dare to stand in front of a group of people with a Bible in your hand and not expect change. We must have a holy confidence—confidence in God and his Word, confidence that God is going to change lives whenever we speak from his Book. (2) Remember that the goal of all ministry is transformation. It's not about being liked. It's not about being accepted. God's ultimate goal is to change lives. (3) At the end of the day, the effectiveness of our preaching will burst forth from the holiness of our personal lives."

The whole interview (about 2 pages) is worth your time.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

"Biographical" Reading Plan

Here's an interesting idea for a 4 month Bible reading plan -- read about a different character each day. You don't cover the whole Bible in this plan, but you do get terrific breadth through looking at the key characters in the Bible story. This would be a nice plan for a family to use, or for teenagers, because of the variety it creates.


I wouldn't use this as my only plan, all the time, but a great "tool" for your toolkit.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Working Against Pride

If you're doing well as a Bible teacher, then you are vulnerable to pride issues. Actually, you're vulnerable even if you don't feel your teaching is going well.
Roberta Hestenes has some good advice in her essay, "The Pedestal Problem."
Looking for Holy Land Pictures?

If you're looking for high-quality pictures of the Holy Land, check out BiblePlaces.com . Very nice collections!

You can see their free collection at http://www.bibleplaces.com/free.htm to get an idea of the quality.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Part of your role as a Great Bible Teacher is to develop your students by encouraging (demanding) that they think. Christ's disciples need to be excellent thinkers!

Oliver Wendel Holmes said, "A mind stretched by a new idea never returns to its original shape."

Arrange your lesson time so that they have to work for answers, too. It's not enough to just give them answers. That doesn't satisfy, or allow for growth.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Prayer for Teachers

"Teach me, my Lord Jesus, instruct me, that I may learn from you what I ought to teach about you." -- William Laud

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Real Bible Study

"If you study the Bible and it doesn't lead you to wonder and awe, then you haven't studied the Bible." -- Dwight Pryor

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Good Principles for Teaching Kids

There was an excellent list of 10 principles for effective Bible teaching to kids posted in a newspaper. Since these links tend to disappear over time, I made a PDF file and parked it at


A lot of these same principles are true for teaching anyone!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Talk, Talk, Talk!

I spotted this on the World magazine blog today -- see if you can spot the problem Great Bible Teachers need to avoid:

"The New York Times printed an article today marveling at how senators on the Judiciary Committee - primarily Democrats like Joe Biden and Edward Kennedy - turned yesterday's confirmation hearing for Samuel Alito on its head. Instead of probing Alito's jurisprudence, some Senators took the opportunity to simply talk and talk. Elisabeth Bumiller writes... Judge Alito, who had been sitting without expression through Mr. Biden's musings, interrupted the senator midword, got out three sentences, then settled in for nearly 26 minutes more of Mr. Biden, with the senator doing most of the talking. With less than a minute to spare, Mr. Biden concluded, thanked Judge Alito for "being responsive," then said to Mr. Specter that "I want to note that for maybe the first time in history, Biden is 40 seconds under his time."... "

Here's the key to teaching that changes lives: talk less, engage more.
Free Bible Study Tool -- Bible Desktop

I know many readers are channeling their precious dollars into ministry and not on themselves, so you're always looking for high-quality free Bible study tools.

Check out Bible Desktop.
Expand Your Reach

This study suggests that only a very small fraction of churches are leveraging the power of Internet tools to share information. Of interest to you as a Bible teacher:

"Less likely to appear are Bible study material or helps, sermon transcripts, upcoming sermon titles or topics, sermons available in streaming audio, a bulletin board, forum, or chat room, sermons in streaming video, testimonies,..."

Get with the person who runs your church web site and see what teaching materials you could post on a regular basis -- handouts, audio files, links to resources used in a lesson, etc.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pause Before Answering Questions

One of the things the Lord has been encouraging me to do is to take a breath -- and let it out -- before answering a question.

This is hard!

You see, I'm usually already done with my answer before the question is finished. I know what I want to say. I'm chomping at the bit, waiting for that first microsecond indication that the person is finished speaking the question. (I do want to be polite, after all, and not interrupt anyone :-).

Dialogue trainers have a saying: "Don’t wait for silence before speaking. Wait for the silence to end."

If you desire great dialogue, real conversation, then pause after their question. A good discipline is to take a breath and let it out. That's probably five seconds. Consider their question again.

I am learning that my original "answer" -- the one I have before their question is fully spoken -- is often not the best answer, or even the answer to their actual question. That pause lets me be attentive to the Holy Spirit, and answer the real question. Sometimes I'm even able to recognize the question behind the question, and address that.

So I encourage you, dear teacher, to take a breath, and pause before you answer. Watch and see how the Lord works!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Priscilla Shirer Interview

Check out this good interview in Today's Christian Woman.

"I'm passionate about getting women into the Word. I want them to know the uncompromising truths of Scripture, but I also want them to experience the power of the Holy Spirit, the way he can use Scripture to bring his supernatural power to bear in their everyday lives. I want women to feel God at work in their marriage, family, workplace, and heart."

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Useful Tips on Using Humor

Check out this article from Leadership Magazine on using humor effectively. This is excellent advice: "...avoid joke books and pay more attention to what is going on around you."

I also love this humorous illustration:

"The Butterball company set up a Thanksgiving hotline to answer questions about cooking turkeys. One woman asked if she could use a turkey that had been in the bottom of her freezer for … 23 years. The Butterball expert—how's that for a job title—told her it would probably be safe if the freezer had been below zero the entire time. But the expert warned her that even if the turkey was safe to eat, the flavor would likely have deteriorated and wouldn't be worth eating. The woman said, "That's what I thought. We'll give the turkey to our church."
After the laughter subsided, I said, "Sin first shows itself in what you give God."
Strengthening Retention by Engaging the Emotions

There is abundant research data to document that our brains are wired to tie emotions and experience with facts. Stronger emotions --> longer memories.

Mark Batterson writes about this in his short posting on "edutainment": "the most important truths ought to be communicated in the most unforgettable ways."

Model your teaching ministry after Jesus. He taught with authority (you are teaching from the Word of God). He used stories and everyday things for illustrations, to help people understand the spiritual (unseen) reality. He asked lots of questions, and sometimes answered questions with a question -- he engaged people, got them to use their imaginations and their logic. So should you.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

How Not To Be Insane in 2006

A New Year is full of promise and possibilities. But achieving those may require that you change the way you do things. You remember that old definition of insanity --doing the same thing over and over while you expect a different result. To get around this "insanity" in your teaching ministry, freshen things up!

Every Bible teacher has at least occasional shortages of
* knowing what to do
* doing what we know
* encouragement to keep going
(and sometimes all three!)

Here are three steps you need to take NOW to help you overcome all three of these problems:

1. Sign up for free teaching tips by email each week at==> http://www.teachtochangelives.com/optin.htm

You'll get a steady stream of great ideas that you can use, and encouragement to sharpen your teaching ministry.There's no charge, and you can unsubscribe whenever you like -- but I'm confident you'll learn so much that you'lllook forward to seeing that email in your inbox every week. (I'll even send you a extra special report when you signup now.)

2. Check out my special reports on Bible Study Tools and other reports -- all free to you -- at ==> http://www.teachtochangelives.com/reports.htm

Here's what Sue Markton told me about this collection ofreports: "Glenn, I'm really surprised you don't charge for these. They're great, on-target, and better than most everything I've paid money for. Thanks for making them available to everyone." Every Bible teacher can learn something from these reports.

3. Buy "Teach the Bible to Change Lives" Here are two testimonials about this book -- and the follow-up 52 weeks of coaching:

"Where were you when I needed this 12 years ago? Now I'm using your prep and teaching strategies and enjoying itall. My students love it, too! Please keep sending me new ideas. -- Mike Smith"

"I downloaded your e-book and I love it. It is so practical. I have a small but loyal Bible Study. I make up my own studies using resources like the study Bible and other books and I enjoy doing this. I am a Catholic. We Catholics have not been encouraged to read the Bible until after The 2nd Vat. Council and even then it has been slow going. I laud the Evangelical Churches for their faithfulness to Holy Scripture.Thanks very much for your help. Sincerely yours in Christ, Mary R. Park"

Order your copy today at==> http://www.teachtochangelives.com

Take these three steps now as an investment in yourself and your teaching ministry. *You* are the tool that God will use to change lives through great Bible teaching. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Let's teach the Bible to change thousands of lives this year for Jesus!
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