This is article seven of a ten part series. Click here to view the previous article.
Principle Four: Introduction
When I was Sunday School Director of a large church in Cary, NC I used my regular leadership meetings to coordinate the Sunday School ministry. I always included a brief, “Ten Minutes Tops” training time for skills development. On one occasion I led a training time on “How to Make a Focal Wall”. It was very simple, and I had a sample one to show them. I used the “Unit Poster kit item” as the basis for the wall, then using the colors from this poster (if possible – LifeWay uses weird colors on their posters!) I created a placard for each of the session biblical truths and placed them around the Unit Poster. (The computer has made this simple; type the biblical truth using a large font on to 8 ½ X 11 paper and print.) I placed a movable arrow on the session of the day. As I said, it was simple, but effective. I truly do believe that “the room is the silent teacher”. The next Sunday morning I was making my rounds to visit every class room, as was my custom. As I walked down the hall, a young 30-something red-headed lawyer came out of his room and called me, ‘Phil, come here! I want you to see my focal wall’. He had created his very first focal wall and was proud of it; and he should have been. It was well done. I affirmed his efforts and was glad that my “Ten-Minutes Tops” training had paid
A focal wall is an excellent teaching tool
to focus learners’ attention on the biblical truth of the session, but also to get the “Big Idea” of the entire unit. I use the focal wall to introduce the unit and each session to the learners. On the first session I preview the unit and each title and biblical truth. I give a brief synopsis of each session and then focus on today’s session. On all other sessions I review each of the previous and preview all future sessions with learners. As in every class, some will be at the beach this Sunday, others at the mountains or grandchildren the next week. This keeps everyone, including irregular attendees, informed about the unit. I always have learners read the biblical truths together, aloud several times during the session but especially during the Introduction. This keeps everyone on the same track; even the non-readers.
Phil Stone is the State Sunday School Director for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.