As we finished last quarter’s Sabbath School lessons, I regret to confess that my study during the final week exceeded any others for the last three months. The reason was that I was asked to teach a class that week.
For several years, I taught an adult class almost every week and relished the rich, deep study it entailed. Ideally, one should study like that every week and come to class with a lot to share. But some are involved in other departments and duties at church and home, and for various reasons study and attendance in a Sabbath School class is just not feasible.
With the start of a new quarter this week, I’m going to commit to studying my lesson quarterly more intensely and I will try to share with you my findings, questions, and any insights I happen upon in the lesson quarterly. I know from past experience that the topics are worth our attention and that we can all benefit from this exercise in Bible study.
This week, however, I’d like to share a few tips on how to teach a class. I learned these by combining the practices of several fine teachers I’ve had over the years.
- Before having prayer in your class, encourage prayer requests. This helps everyone to feel closer to each other and perhaps be more likely to participate in the discussion later. It may take up more time than you’d like, but is well worth it to create the small group atmosphere that every class needs.
- Start the lesson with a re-cap of the previous week or weeks. It’s nice to know that there is continuity to what you are studying and how the lesson fits into the big picture. Besides it’s always helpful to have a review of key points that were covered previously.
- The body of your lesson should flow logically, but the main goal is to include lots of open-ended questions that pertain directly or indirectly to the lesson. By that I mean nothing that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Encourage discussion all you can. It’s not a lecture. You are just a facilitator.
- The class I usually teach includes many hard-of-hearing individuals. Yet I’ve noticed in other classes, even under the best circumstances, it’s often difficult to hear class members when they make comments. So I usually try to briefly re-state those comments from my vantage point up front, just to make sure everyone hears. Try to acknowledge and value everyone who contributes.
- Finally, wrap up your lesson with a summary statement and also a “teaser” for what the next lesson is going to be about and who will be teaching it. Then you are ready for a final prayer that is pertinent to what was studied and the need to apply it to our lives.
I hope we can all gain a full blessing from our new quarter’s lessons which will cover the minor prophets. Studying God’s word should never be a minor part of our lives, so study hard and study well. Even if you won’t be teaching the lesson.