As a teacher, what do you teach at your group meetings? Although you may use a variety of teaching methods and use a curriculum published by your denomination and approved by your church; however, we use curriculum and teaching methods to do one thing – teach the Word of God to your group. As a small group or Sunday School leader, we do not use the Bible to teach curriculum. We use curriculum to help us teach the Bible.
Teach the Bible
The gracious hand of God was on him, because Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel (Ezra 7:9-10). Jesus is God’s revelation of Himself to man (Hebrews 1:2-4). Jesus is the Word of God as a Person. The Bible is the Word of God in written form, instructed and led by the Holy Spirit through the pen of inspired men. The Bible is deep and is our best way to know God. Unfortunately, many churches today allow their groups to study other books rather than the Bible. Although many times these books are based on Scripture, they can not replace the Bible as God’s perfect Word to all of mankind. Why study a copy when the original is so much better!
Notice the example of Ezra. Would you like to have God’s gracious hand upon your life? The Bible says it plainly, “The gracious hand of God was on him, because Ezra determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord…” Because of his devotion to not just teach God’s Word, but also study the Word and then obey the Word; God used Ezra to lead a revival through the entire nation of Israel. An essential piece of leading a small group where life-change is taking place is for the leader to teach God’s Word.
The Role of Curriculum
Curriculum is often confused with Bible study. The curriculum plays two essential roles in assisting the leader to teach God’s Word. First, curriculum establishes a comprehensive study plan. Commonly called “scope and sequence”, curriculum helps the leader teach all of God’s Word in a timely manner. Note the word “all”. Good curriculum helps prevent the teacher from consistently falling back on their favorite passages or topics. The book of Philippians is a great book, but if that is the only book the group ever studies then that group is not going to have a well-rounded understanding of God’s Word. Jesus clearly states in the Great Commission that we are to teach all that He has commanded us. The apostle Paul set an example when he told the Ephesian church that he declared the whole plan of God (Acts 20:27). A LifeWay curriculum resource such as the new release, Explore the Bible, will help the group study from each of the major portions of God’s Word every three years and all of God’s Word every 9 years. Curriculum helps us teach the whole counsel of God.
The second role curriculum helps play in Bible study is that it provides weekly learning activities and commentary for each study. Many if not most Sunday School or small group leaders have little or no training in doctrine and in teaching principles. By studying Scripture directly and using curriculum to help understand doctrine and teach the Bible in an age-appropriate manner, a small group leader can have confidence that they are correctly teaching God’s truth properly and appropriately.
Bob Mayfield serves as the Sunday School and Small Group specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. He has also served as interim minister of education in several churches and is a Sunday School/small group consultant.
Bob is married and has two adult children, Zach and Mary Kathryn. Bob also blogs at his own site, bobmayfield.com and manages an online training site for Sunday School leaders of all ages at reconnectss.com.