Friday, March 30, 2007

Waffle, Not a Pancake

A great opportunity for Bible teachers: help your people understand what God is doing in His world.

Marvin Olasky has a useful article about Christianity in China. One of the Chinese church leaders told him, "China is a waffle, not a pancake." Let us glorify our Lord for 125 million believers in that country! This is the news behind the news.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Great Quote to Ponder

"We are what we repeatedly do." -- Aristotle

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Does Your Adult Sunday School WOW People?

If you have any involvement with adult Sunday School programs -- participant, teacher, leader -- then hop over to the Sunday School Revolutionary site now and soak up the great blog articles there. (This is a great complement to the Josh Hunt materials on how to double your groups.)

I really like the concepts behind their approach to making Sunday School environments warm adn welcoming, and emphasizing quality experience. This maximizes learning when people are present, building stronger connections, and exciting people about returning.

Check it out.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Help Your People Learn to Study the Bible in Depth

One thing that I wish more teachers did was encourage the people God gives them to teach by showing them how to study the Bible themselves.

We are not some special class of citizens, simply fellow disciples of the same Master.

It will not take away anything from your "status" as a great Bible teacher if you share how you study the Word and help people learn to study the Master's Word for themselves. Quite the contrary, in fact!

I'm teaching a six week series on Luke 15 now and each week I'm giving them a strategy they can use to study a Bible passage in depth. So far we have covered:

1. Read the passage out loud.

2. Read the passage repeatedly. (I had someone time me while I read Luke 15:1-7 aloud -- only 45 seconds. It became obvious that everyone has time to read short passages repeatedly over a period of days.)

3. Look up all the cross-references.

So there are three more to go! Point people to simple practices they can do, and you are helping them move further along the path of becoming a mature disciple, able to hear God's word and obey it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bed of Nails Principle

Mark Batterson talks about an important communications principle we need to understand:

"If you lay down on a bed of nails they won't penetrate your skin because the pressure is diffused. That is what happens when we try to say too much. But one nail penetrates! That is why I believe in one-point preaching."

Get more across -- in a teach to change lives way -- by teaching less content better.
Hear God's Voice in Scripture

John Piper writes wonderfully about hearing God speak through His living Word.

Fall in love with Scripture all over again -- today!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Your Library

Great Bible teachers are first and foremost students of God's Word, and then students of the world. We need to be (and should be becoming) great readers. Jim Shaddix gives some excellent counsel about building your library (purposefully and economically), and includes specific sources you can consider.
Teaching in a Post-Christian World

The fact is that in post-Christian cultures (and many are now, around the world) people are still drawn to Jesus and yet reject Church. This CT article has some excellent counsel about ministering to people in this situation. It's not explicitly about teaching, but it's important to understand.
The First Few Minutes

You have to grab their attention in the first few minutes. Maybe the first 30-90 seconds. This is why I coach those who read Teach the Bible to Change Lives how to create a compelling "hook" opening.

You know those books that have "Introduction" followed by "How We Started" and then another chapter that seems like a warmup? People either start those and don't finish, or they skip ahead to chapters with more relevant-sounding chapters.

Either way you're wasting time and losing attention. In the affluent world, attention is the scarcest commodity.

I recommend starting with a bang and hooking their attention immediately.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Your Prayer Matters

Check out this classic Discipleship Journal article on prayer. "Your Prayer Matters" will not only encourage you, but could be the basis for a nice lesson or two on prayer.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Teaching "Difficult" People

Every Bible teacher will have the opportunity to teach "tougher-to-love" people:

Lesson Hijackers

I've started a special blog, just on this topic, and encourage you to check it out.

Tougher To Love

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Jesus Isn't Buried There -- Well, Not That Jesus

Kevin Nelstead has a good post on the absurdity of the Jesus Family Tomb "news" -- with links to detailed debunking information if you need it.