Monday, April 30, 2007

The Sunday School Revolutionary!

20 Tips for Life-Changing Small Group Time

I've been impressed by what I'm seeing on the "Sunday School Revolutionary" blog. Here's a nice list of tips for making the most of your small group leadership opportunities.

The Sunday School Revolutionary!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - Originality, Authenticity, Creativity

Six Communication Keys

Mark Batterson identifies 6 keys to effective communication:

1. Law of Scope -- less is more
2. Element of Surprise -- violate expectations
3. Picture Principle -- a picture is worth 10 million words
4. Law of Metaphors -- say old thing in new ways
5. Authenticity Test -- you are the message
6. Law of Emotion -- stronger emotion means longer memory

See this for more: - Originality, Authenticity, Creativity
What Kind of Fruit Are You Teaching For?

Growing Saints Takes Time. Be patient and persevere -- like our heavenly Lord.

"The church should be a community of dates instead of pumpkins. Pumpkins you can harvest in six months. Dates have to be planted and tended by people who will not live to harvest them. Dates are for future generations." —George Chauncey, Leadership, Vol. 2, no. 4.

How to Grow Your Sunday School Class

Coffee is good. Friendliness is good (but remember, what people need are friends, not just a friendly atmosphere). Great Bible teaching is the number one way to grow your Sunday School class.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bible Study Tools

I'm regularly asked for my recommendations on Bible study tools and references. These two articles will get you started:

Thompson's Chain Reference Bible

Renn's Expository Dictionary of Bible Words

You can check out some of my other reports here.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

More on Studying in Depth

Earlier I posted on Help Your People Learn to Study the Bible in Depth. I had listed three methods of studying a Bible passage in depth here.

Here are three more:

#4 Read backwards

A common way to check for spelling and punctuation errors is to scan the text in reverse. There's something about going backwards that makes things noticeable that you missed going forwards. So try reading the sentences of a passage in reverse order. You might be surprised at what new insights you get!

#5 Use the "Not" method

Ask the question -- what does this verse/passage NOT say? This is a great discussion approach. You'll quickly learn more deeply about what it DOES say when you clarify what it does not say.

#6 Build prayer from what you read

This is one of the most important ways to apply what we read in God's Word to our lives. Take the ideas and the very words of a verse and make them into prayers.

Use these six approaches as you prepare to teach -- and coach your students how to study better themselves. Teach to change lives!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Dealing with Critics and Complainers

Numbers 12 gives the story of how Moses was severely criticized by his only family -- his brother Aaron and sister Miriam.

Teachers are leaders, and leaders WILL be criticized.

Handle criticism with humility, openness, and backbone. Distinguish between constructive and destructive commentary. Pray for the critic. Guard your attitude! Concentrate on your mission -- teaching to change lives -- and fix mistakes.


Adrian Rogers had a way with words! The two volumes of his pithy "Adrianisms" are worth your consideration. Here are some of my favorites:

Has it ever occurred to you that nothing occurs to God?

God grades on the Cross not on the curve.

Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory capacity.

I read other books. The Bible reads me.

If you have a Bible that's falling apart you'll have a life that's not.

You can save a lot of time waiting on God.

If you need encouragement, give it. If you need love, give it.Whatever you need, give it away.

Just because it doesn't make sense to you doesn't mean it doesn'tmake sense.

If Satan can't make you bad, he'll make you busy.

On gossips: don't let them use your ears for garbage cans.

It's what you sow that multiplies, not what you keep in the barn.

If you live for this world, you are in the junk business. It's all just premature junk.

There was a time when you were not. There never will be a time when you will not be.

We live in a day where a hero is a sandwich, life is a magazine,power is a candy bar, joy is a detergent, sin is a perfume, a star is an actress who's been married three times, and the real thing is a soft drink.

You can't sweeten the well by painting the pump.

God does not flunk any of His children. He just re-enrolls them.

If you were sinking in quicksand, the devil would pat you on the head.

On salvation by works: I wouldn't trust the best fifteen minutes I ever lived to get me into heaven.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Teaching That's Most Likely to Succeed

Pastor Mark Batterson posted this recently (emphasis mine):

"A study that involved 50+ pastors and 5000+ listeners found that the most successful sermons are built around a clearly stated change-based goal that emanates from Scripture. That is so simple and so basic, but such a good reminder for preachers. The best sermons challenge people to change. And help them identify next steps in that direction! It is the difference between information and transformation. Our sermons need to be more action-oriented and application-oriented. Most of us are educated way beyond our level of obedience. We don't need more information. We need more transformation. We need to stop explaining what people already understand. A little less explanation. A lot more exhortation."

Now if you are teaching people new to the Christian life, that may not be true. Yet.

Teach for transformation -- teach to head, heart, and hands. Teach to the whole person, and inspire them to change. Teach to change lives! It's too small a thing to prepare lessons for anything less than Jesus-powered transformation.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Playing for An Audience of One

Perry Noble shares a great story about playing football for his mother, dying of cancer -- playing for an audience of one. And then he relates this to pastoring/preaching -- for an audience of One. Read it, believe it.

If you're discouraged about any part of your teaching ministry, read it.
Top Ten Issues Facing the Church

Interesting you agree with these top ten issues facing the church?

1) Soteriology
2) The Embrace of Open Theism
3) Homosexuality
4) Ecclesiology
5) The Bible - Absolute truth? Inerrant? Infallible?
6) Social Justice, Global Warming, etc.
7) Red Letter Christians
8) Infighting in the Church
9) Jesus Junk
10) Friend or Foe?

See the article for more details on each.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Three Things to Aim For In Teaching

Scott Aughtmon, a church-gatherer, has a great post about the power of telling stories.

"There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience."

"Pray and ask God, not just for the truth to speak, but also for ways to express that truth that will lock it into people's minds."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Quote of the Week

"Don't just throw the seed at the people! Grind it into flour, bake it into bread, and slice it for them. And it wouldn't hurt to put a little honey on it." -- Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Effective Use of Video in Teaching/Preaching

If you are interested in using video clips (from movies, for example) in your teaching or preaching, I recommend you pick up some tips from this article.

Remember: the audiovideo components need to illustrate, to reinforce, to illuminate -- not distract or confuse your audience from the main points.
What Kind of Disciples?

Do you ever feel like you've had a "whack on the side of the head" experience?

That's how I felt during a lunch conversation earlier this week. I was excitedly explaining to a man in our church how we need to view all our programs and activities through the unifying lens of discipleship. His statement caught me:

"Glenn, we're making disciples. The question is, 'What kind of disciples?' "

I immediately thought about Jesus' harsh statements about the kind of disciples the Pharisees and teachers of the law produced (Matt 23:15) -- "twice as much a son of hell as you are."

So our church efforts are perfectly designed to produce the kind (and quantity) of disciples we're producing. Now I'm wrestling prayerfully, asking our Lord to direct us to make the best (right) kind of disciples in abundance.
Are You In One Of These Groups?

Standard Publishing estimates "11 million adults in the United States ... meet each week with a small group from their church for Bible study, discussion and prayer."

That's great! May our Lord increase that number!

The article continues on to promote their Bible study guides that you can purchase.

I haven't seen their study guides, so I won't comment about their products in particular. They're probably ok.

But are they the best for you and your group? If you've read this far you're interested in maximzing the impact of those precious hours your group is meeting! So don't slavishly follow a study guide written for someone else -- tailor the content and sharpen the questions so they're the best possible for YOUR group at THIS time.

If you'd like learn more about how to tailor content and ask great questions, check out
Teach the Bible to Change Lives and 52 Model Questions.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

See the Universe to Scale

Here's a delightful web site designed to help you understand how big the universe truly is. There is an excellent animation to go from sub-atomic levels to the farthest galaxies.

"The Lord reigns; let the nations tremble." -- Psalm 99:1

I pray this will inspire your spirit with a renewed sense of the awe and majesty of our Lord.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Gmail Offers Paper

Google is offering a new service with their free Gmail -- they will send you paper copies of messages (including attachments!) -- free. They cover the cost by putting ads on the back.

I've been very impressed with Gmail and have used it since 2005. It's slick, fast, clean.

Go here to sign up for a Gmail account if you do not have one.

Update: I think I fell for their April Fools day prank! But you can certainly get a gmail account, and I recommend that.