Archive for Teaching

Teach Dynamically

VERSE:  Whcreativeteachingatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23, ESV

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? According to one of the definitions for dynamic (dy·nam·ic) is “marked by usually continuous and productive activity or change.”  In the Christian realm, I think that most of us desire for our relationship with God to be dynamic in the sense that we want to be in a continuous state of growing in our relationship with him – which would often produce activity and change.  So it is important that this carries over into our teaching time on Sundays, Wednesdays, or whenever we are teaching at church.

WHAT DO I DO? As I began to think of the topic of teaching dynamically and the definition above, several key thoughts and actions came to mind:

  • Spend time in God’s word on a daily basis
  • Pray for God’s directions, for your class time, for the kids in your class and their families.
  • Prepare.  Take time to prepare to teach God’s word and to share the Greatest story ever
  • Develop relationships with your group members. Get to know them.  They are all created in his image.
  • Take advantage of training opportunities.
  • Choose to take time to teach creatively to different learning styles.

What would you add to this list to have a dynamic teaching time?

Maria Brannen has served as a State Missionary with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board since 1998 and is a Kids Groups and Faith Development Consultant. Prior to that, she served on church staff in Georgia and Texas. She has produced multiple resources including Bible Drill Devotional Books, Youth Bible Drill Leader’s Guides and a Bible Drill app in the iTunes store.  Connect with Maria at,    
or . Maria’s e-mail is

3 Ideas to Get More from the Bible

3ideasWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10, NKJV).

Ezra provided us with a great model, not only as a teacher of God’s Word, but also for the hearer. This short verse, tucked away in the Old Testament, provides us with three ideas to get more from reading and studying the Bible.

WHAT DO I DO? If you’re a Bible study teacher, Ezra’s example reminds you to…

  1. Prepare your heart as you seek God’s will;
  2. Obey God; and
  3. THEN you teach God’s Word.

The Bible is meant to be obeyed. Teacher, as you prepare to teach each week, be sure your preparation includes a desire to know God’s will, not only for your hearers, but also for you own life. Like Ezra, you must be willing to obey what God says in His Word, before you stand before your class/group and teach. As you prepare your heart and seek God’s will, you will get more from the Bible as you obey and make necessary changes in your own life.

If you’re a student in a Sunday School class or in a small group, then you too must be willing to approach Bible study with a seeking heart, sincerely wanting to know God’s will. Then, be willing to obey what God is teaching you.

Using a Teaching Style Different from Your Natural Preference

creativeWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Most teachers will teach the same way this Sunday that they taught last Sunday.  They will teach the same way the next Sunday that they taught this Sunday.  Why? Because that’s how they teach.

But how did Jesus teach?  Did he teach the same way every time? What kinds of methods did Jesus use?  Shouldn’t all of us want to teach the way that Jesus taught?

WHAT DO I DO? Intentionally plan a lesson each month using a teaching style different from your natural preference.  Consider studying these three topics:

  1. Examine how Jesus taught. As you read the Gospels, identify the methods that Jesus used.  Bruce Wilkinson in Teaching the Jesus Way said that when he determined that Jesus rarely used the same method. His teaching was different every time based on the outcome that he desired and the audience that he taught.
  2. Study how people learn.  Most groups will have people who prefer to learn differently from how the teacher teaches.  The Eight Learning Approaches are: Physical, Verbal, Visual, Musical, Natural, Relational, Logical, and Reflective.
  3. Read a book on teaching.  Your teaching style will determine the likely learning outcome of your lesson.  A good book is TEACHER: Creating Conversational Communities.

My favorite definition of teaching is: Teaching is creating an experience in which a person changes in some lasting way his knowledge, understanding, attitude, skills or values. So get creative and teach a lesson each month different from your natural teaching preference.

Learn More about the Skill of Writing/Asking Good Questions

questionballsWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Several years ago I was introduced to a new skill.  I had no idea about the impact that this training would have on my life, my teaching, my group leading, and my relationships with people. This skill is coaching.  Oh, not the kind that you see in a football, basketball or baseball game.  This skill teaches a person the disciplines or listening and asking good questions.

WHAT DO I DO? What I have found is that learning these 2 disciplines can also help someone to be a better teacher.  It isn’t the teaching where you download a bunch of information from you the teacher to the student.  It is a way to help the student discover truth and wrestle with God’s Word for themselves.

Asking good questions involves these adjustments:

  • Learning to ask instead of tell.
  • It means that you seek to help the student discover for themselves instead of you giving them the right information.
  • It means learning to ask open ended questions.  Simply put, if you ask a question and someone can answer with yes or no, you have asked a close ended question.
  • Ask questions with how, or what if, or describe for me.

The point is to ask questions that cause the student to have to describe their answer rather than give you the facts.  When you are using this skill in your teaching, be sure to prepare by writing out your questions beforehand and ask the question to yourself and think about how you would answer that question.  If your answer is yes or no, go back and try again. Happy Asking!!!

What Every Student Needs in Their Sunday School Classroom

welcomeWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? The Bible conveys to us that we have been made creatures have need relationships. I know that many might disagree with that statement, but it the core of our being I believe we all desire community.

Certainly there are those moments when we all look for that time of peace, quite and solitude.  I look for that myself, but at the end of the day we need relationships. We need people in our lives that can be there in the good times and in the bad. Your small group or Sunday school class is a great place for that to happen.

WHAT DO I DO? Community begins to take place when you do things outside of the classroom or group time. Too many times we simply go to church, go to our class, listen to the lesson, move into the worship time, get into our cars and go home without communicating with anyone.

I’m not talking about the casual “hello” or “How is it going”… I’m talking about connecting with people you are doing life with. My wife and I have made connection with a couple in our group and every week we are together we always talk about the next time we are getting together to grab a burger! Then it’s at the restaurant we can really begin to laugh, share, pray and enjoy each other’s journey and hear what God is doing in their lives.

So make the effort to start (or continue) those relationships within your group and see how God will use that to spark new opportunities.

Hebrews 10:25-25: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”