In Part 1, I asked “What is your preferred routine for Sunday School lesson preparation?” What do you do first? What steps do you take? What do you do last?
What is your attitude when you prepare for a Sunday School session? Do you have a hard time believing that it is that time of the week again? Are you dreading the time, or are you just a procrastinator whose time has gotten away this week? Or perhaps your attitude is one of prayerful anticipation of what God is going to do this week? Is your attitude more about you, about the group, or about God? This may be the most important question as you prepare!
In my experience, there are several important steps which can lead you toward great preparation and a great attitude. While the following list is not exhaustive, it can be helpful. Consider the following (days of the week are suggestions only from experience):
SUNDAY-MONDAY: Pray for God’s leadership in understanding God’s Word and knowing how the truth of this week’s lesson intersects with the lives of people in your group (prayer continues through each of the following days. Read the upcoming scripture passage (not the commentary or Bible study materials) as soon after the previous Bible study session as possible to give the Holy Spirit time to speak to you and illustrate the truth throughout the week.
MONDAY-TUESDAY. Read the scripture passage several times and in several different translations if you have them available (many are available online). Before rushing to a commentary or Bible study materials, look for the truth in the passage which God is communicating.
TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY. Consider the context. Look at the passage background and setting including surrounding passages. With the help of commentaries and other materials consider what God is saying through the passage . Look for the author’s intent with his original audience.
WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY. Consider the meaning and application of the passage to people and times today (general application). Then seek God’s application of the passage to your life. Seek conviction of the truth on your life and commitment to respond obediently to the truth.
THURSDAY-FRIDAY. Having considered the personal application, look for the difference this truth makes in the lives of individuals in the group. Apply the truth to their circumstances and lives.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY. Develop several critical questions which can lead the group to consider the significant issues. Consider which methods to use to lead the group to examine the truth and issues in best possible way. Remember their learning styles when planning teaching methods. Write down a flexible plan to use. Place it in your Bible. Plan to teach from your Bible rather than the teacher’s book.
Pray. Prepare for an encounter with God. Pray for life-change in yourself. Pray for life-change in the group. Pray that God will use you. Plan to make disciples!
Darryl Wilson has served as Director of the Sunday School Department for the Kentucky Baptist Convention since 1997. He served as Minister of Education in five churches in Kentucky and South Carolina. He is the author of The Sunday School Revolutionary!, a blog about life-changing Sunday School and small groups.