Saturday, February 13, 2016

How a Sunday School Teacher Can Prepare Effectively

Posted by Standard On February - 1 - 2010
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Sunday school teachers are co-laborers with Christ, who decreed in Mathew 28:19-20 that His followers are to make disciples, baptize them, and then teach them His Word. An effective Sunday school teacher equips and empowers Christians, deepens their understanding of God’s Word, and helps them to live by its teachings.
I have identified Seven Steps to Effective Presentation that will help Sunday school teachers bring added value to their students and impact their lives in a greater way.
Step 1: Clarify Objectives
A Sunday school teacher’s objectives will be determined in part by the age of the students—whether young children, teens, or adults. Sunday school teachers of both young children and teens may want to build a strong, supportive relationship with each child and his or her parents and actively involve parents in their child’s spiritual development. Teen Sunday school teachers obviously want to find ways to make their class time so enjoyable and meaningful that the teens will want to come back week after week with their friends. Adult Sunday school teachers may want to think about the actions they want to happen as a result of their teaching and how those actions tie into the bigger message that is being preached and taught throughout their church.
Step 2: Define Your Audience
Defining the class by age, class size, developmental and cognitive abilities, maturity level, social pressures and influences, background and frame of reference, interests, and motivations and expectations will help Sunday school teachers know how to better plan, prepare, and deliver their lessons.
Step 3: Gather Content
If the church does not provide the curriculum, Sunday school teachers can find great curriculum at Christian bookstores or on the Internet, keeping in mind the factors discovered when they defined their audiences. We have included a great free resource section on PurposeFilledPresentations.com. Including interactive and age-appropriate activities and experiences will help Sunday school teachers effectively reach those audiences. Ministry to any age group must be grounded in sound Bible doctrine, or it loses its relevancy to the mission of the church.
Step 4: Maximize Preparation
The level of preparation demonstrates the level of respect Sunday school teachers have for their students, so it’s important to start planning lessons early in the week. If teens and adults, especially, can tell their teachers have made an investment in the preparation process, they will be more motivated to participate. Waiting until Saturday night to prepare puts undue pressure on the Sunday school teacher, stifles creativity, and does not allow adequate time to think and pray about what God wants to say.
I have designed the 3-D Outline™, which can be very effective in helping Sunday school teachers organize their thoughts and actions as they relate to their audiences, objectives, key points, and timing. It also conserves their valuable time and allows them to focus on the big picture. We have included a free template for the 3-D Outline™ in the resource section on PurposeFilledPresentations.com.
Step 5: Open Well
Meeting and greeting people as they come through the door is a great way to start for any age level. Sunday school teachers may want to open with a “teaser” that will get the students excited about what they will be doing, using a sentence, a question, or an icebreaker that foreshadows the lesson.
Step 6: Engage Your Audience
This step is critical with all ages. Toys and props make great tools for helping younger children connect with the Bible story. It’s important that Sunday school teachers look for creative ways to get teens to participate in the delivery as well as the learning, perhaps through presenting part of the lesson, reporting back on an assignment from the previous week, or journaling their devotion time for one week and then sharing with the class. Asking thought-provoking questions is a great way for Sunday school teachers to connect with both teens and adults, as well as forming discussion or discovery subgroups that report their findings back to the entire group.
Step 7: Close with Action
Sunday school teachers of young children may want to send something home with the children that will both cascade the message of the lesson to family members and remind the children of the point of the lesson each time they see it. A great closing activity for teen and adult Sunday school teachers may be to ask students what their main takeaway was from the lesson or ask them what they are going to do differently as a result of the lesson.

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