Friday, September 25, 2009

Over-Prepare, but Don't Over-Teach

I strongly advocate teaching less material well, rather than teaching too much content poorly.

To do this, you need to over-prepare. By this, I mean, you need to study more deeply than what you will end up sharing in your lesson.

I know you've read the commentaries, looked at the archeological pictures, cross-referenced this passage to other parts of Scripture, and listened to two sermons on it by your favorite pastor. That's all good, really it is.

But don't dump all that on your audience. Don't over-teach it. Don't even tell them you did all that.

Four reasons for this approach:

1. You're not trying to impress anyone with your exhaustive knowledge or work. Keep the attention on the most important elements of what you learned that match what your class or group need to know at this point in time. (You've been praying for this discernment, right?) This also protects you against pride.

2. You're likely to bore people, or overwhelm them. Either way, they stopped listening before you finished sharing. You just killed the learning process.

3. As questions and dialogue proceeds, you can draw on your preparation to provide helpful information. Then bringing these things out matches the conversation, and aren't over-kill.

4. If you've done some homework and good preparation, you'll be confident.

Again, focus on teaching less content really well. You'll see more changed lives.

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