Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Launch, Not Close
Here's a straightforward change of "mind" that I wish I
had discovered years ago. In fact, I didn't come around to
this until after I wrote Teach the Bible to Change Lives!
But it's one of the most important new things God has been
teaching me about how to teach, and I want to share it with
Best of all it's EASY to do, and doesn't take any money or
Here it is: At the end of your teaching time, think
"launch" instead of "close."
Most of you are probably closing a lesson with a wrapup
sentence of two, maybe a summary of the key points, and a
prayer. The problem with this is that you're training
people to shut down their brains and shift to the next
activity. I'm sure you've noticed people putting away
their handout and pen, zipping up their Bible cover, etc.
By thinking "close" you are pulling down the energy level,
dear teacher! You're missing a critical opportunity to
transform the way lessons operate.
What do I mean by "launch"?
The idea goes back to Ephesians 4:11-13 -- the function of
teaching is to equip believers for works of service. We're
not just filling heads and warming hearts and tickling ears
-- your teaching must be about helping people understand
God's ways, hear God's voice, and obey.
So you've just had a terrific lesson, and they're all
engaged. Now don't close them down, but SEND them! Launch
them into the ministry work that God has already prepared
for them to walk in.
How do you launch them?
Make sure your closing statements lead them to think about
what they'll do this week. Encourage them to take the key
ideas from this lesson and share with others (perhaps their
children, or someone else a school or work, or a neighbor,
or a relative). Remind them that the Lord saved us out of
the pit to serve Him by serving others -- and they can use
what they've learned in that service.
And make sure your prayer is oriented towards this launch,
too. Don't just say, "Uh, thanks for this time, Lord, and
bless us as we go on to the next thing." (You probably
don't say those words, but is that what our Lord hears?)
Make your prayer a benediction and blessing and a sending
step. As you prepare for this class, think about
commissioning them to ministry service, and that will give
you ideas about how to pray specifically for each of them.
This won't take much effort to put into place. If it
helps, talk about this change with your class, so they
understand what you are doing and why -- I'm sure they'll
Think "launch" and prepare to be amazed at how much of a
difference this will make.