Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Teaching Strategy

I read recently how one person characterized Rick Warren's communication strategy: "Respectfully begin where people are, irrespective of where that may be, and lead them toward what they were created for."

That's a GBT strategy! Let's get that idea deep in us.

Great Bible Teachers need to cultivate creativity. It's a God-provided attribute of the human mind to be creative, and expressive. We are made in His image, and He is powerfully creative.

But for some reason creativity can fade and weaken, particularly as we become mature. I read about a man who asked a kindergarten class "Who is an artist?" and nearly every child raised his hand. He asked the same question to 3rd graders, and half raised their hands. He did the same thing with progressively older grades and fewer children raised their hands. In the high school only one or two teenagers would raise their hands.

Great Bible Teaching demands creativity. We are not inventing the Truth, because that's been given to us. Our creativity is needed to do a better job of presenting the Truth so it can be understood and absorbed. We want to teach to change lives!

Let me suggest a few starting points for cultivating creativity:

1. Spend time each day using your imagination. A great way to develop your imagination is to picture yourself in the Bible stories. What do you see? smell? feel? taste? hear?

2. Practice paying attention. Concentrate on things. Really observe a plant, an object in your house. See if you can draw it in a notebook.

3. Intentionally learn about new subjects, something that you aren't already familiar with. Many, many teaching insights and illustrations can come from the intersection of new things. Jesus helped the disciples understand things about God's character by teaching them botany!

4. Journal your thoughts. Don't worry about where they go, just monitor them and see if you can write them down.

Do you have other suggestions?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Latest Audio Answer

You can listen here to my answer to the question, "How do you get prepared to teach in impromptu situations?"

Monday, August 28, 2006


One question I get more frequently now is "Do you know how to get started in podcasting?" Many people are recording their sermons and lessons and making them available as mp3 files. This is a terrific way to leverage your teaching material -- people all over the world can benefit.

I'm just at the front edge of learning about podcasting. If you're interested in this area, I recommend you check out this resource -- PDF ebook, over an hour of online video to walk you through it step by step, many useful bonuses, and a 90 day money-back guarantee!
Handling Criticism

Men and women in church leadership positions -- including many teachers -- need to learn when to ignore criticism. Check out this useful article on this theme.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Truth Project

Focus on the Family is launching a new DVD series about Christian worldview -- it's called The Truth Project. This might be an excellent study for your small group or an elective class at your church.

A good starting point is this article about Christian worldview by Del Tackett.
Improving Teaching Through Feedback

Here's an excellent article (actually an excerpt from the book Mastering Contemporary Preaching) about improving preaching and teaching through feedback.

Somewhere I heard the phrase "feedback is the breakfast of champions."

I personally both want and don't want feedback. And I need useful feedback that can help me get better. If all I hear is "Thanks Glenn that was great!" then I don't know what to work on. I need specific information about what I should start doing, what I should keep doing, and what I should stop doing.

How many of you have established a systematic feedback mechanism? This is an area that I would glad to hear more about what's worked, what hasn't.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Teaching Outline -- Unanswered Prayer

Bill Hybels has a useful teaching outline on the mystery of unanswered prayer.
Teaching on Sexual Purity?

If you are teaching adults on sexual purity, don't miss this Perry Noble blog post "Hooters." Good stuff for men and women here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pray for the Gospel in China!

Time magazine reports on the growth of the Church in China, and the persecution. It is good to weave into your teaching the perspective that the Church is worldwide, and growing. It's easy for us to become insular and teach from a provincial perspective.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The School Year is Starting...

...and lots of new Sunday School classes are, too! Be sure you're signed up for free teaching tips each week!
Strong Backbone Themes

Build your teaching on a strong backbone themes: Jesus, the cross, grace, holiness, worship, service. Keep pointing people back to these, because that's what the Bible does.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

What Are Your Risking For?

"Everything God created us to be and do is on the other side of risk." -- Scott Aughtmon
Podcasting & Technology-based Outreach

Check out this good, solid article about the value of podcasting sermons (or other material) from your church and using technology to expand your reach. "The message is sacred, the medium is not." Don't underestimate how God could use your willingness to make good information available.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Using Email to Help Connect Groups

This article outlines some practical ways people are using email to help keep small groups connected. Many of these principles will work with a small group Bible study or Sunday school class.

More Sunday School classes and study groups are using blogs, too. I was delighted to hear from one of my wonderful customers "down under" who has set up her first blog for their "Lighthouse Club." Great Bible Teachers use technology to reinforce learning and strengthen relationships -- having fun on the way!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What's Written Inside Your Bible Cover?

Perry Noble shares some terrific quotes he has written inside his Bible cover for encouragement.

I have this one: "To be reminded is as important as to be informed." -- Richard Halverson

How about you?
Using Others' Material

Here's a very good article about plagiarizing sermons and reusing materials from others. There are some good suggestions about how to give credit.

I'm opposed to flat-out copying someone else's work and portraying it as yours -- that's simply a lie.

I'm in favor of humbly re-using what others have done, and giving credit where it is due. I don't think it detracts from you at all. Our job as teachers is to bring people to God's Word and help them hear and understand and apply.

If this is about you, then there is a bigger problem than plagiarism!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Quote of the Week

"True conversion gives a man pardon but does not make him presumptuous. True conversion gives a man perfect rest but it does not stop his progress. True conversion gives a man security but it does not allow him to leave off being watchful." -- Charles Spurgeon
Be Careful How You Measure Progress

I love this evangelism story from Bill Hybels. He spent years befriending his son's soccer coach, helping him with little things. It reminds me to be careful about how we measure progress and value -- in the kingdom of God we are usually wrong to be concerned about the rate at which spiritual progress happens.

Monday, August 14, 2006

New Audio Answers

Today I'm starting a new thing -- audio answers to some of the best questions I receive from Great Bible Teachers like you! Check out the first one, and watch for these weekly. Let me know what you think about this format.
Tips for Teaching Younger Kids

Here are some interesting and useful tips for teaching Bible stories to younger kids.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Short Hiatus

I'll be on vacation this week, away from the electronics, enjoying God's creation. So no blog postings until after Aug. 11. In the meantime, keep on teaching to change lives!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Load Up Your MP3 Player!

Here's a free source for the New Testament as MP3 files. Enjoy the Word heard!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Sharpen Your Communication

I highly recommend this book, and Amazon has the lowest price. Get it today, and start putting these communication ideas -- practical, sensible, and life-changing -- into practice in your teaching ministry.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Using Someone Else's Sermon

There is a rich and fascinating discussion about plagiarizing sermons and using other people's materials as your own on the "Out of Ur" blog.

The reasons I point you, as Bible teachers, to this discussion are
  • Many of you are pastors and preachers yourselves
  • Many of you are supposed to use prepared lesson materials someone else created
  • It's a significant temptation to present others' materials and insights as your own
  • We are in the business of presenting the Bible (the original 'Old Reliable') in fresh ways to new audiences, building upon the ministry of those who have gone before us and beside us -- we're not in the business of creating something brand new from scratch.
And there are others. This is an important topic. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What People Believe

Seth Godin, an astute observer of human behavior as a marketer, says this:

"People don't believe what you tell them.
They rarely believe what you show them.
They often believe what their friends tell them.
They always believe what they tell themselves."

If you accept these four statements as true (and I think there is truth in them), what do we need to do in our teaching to help people believe the Truth from the Source of Truth?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

One of Glenn's Most Embarrassing Moments

If you've got 11 minutes, I'll tell you about one of my most embarrassing moments -- and how God did me a huge favor by humbling me. Check it out here.