Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Five Tips For Teaching Sunday School
by Tracie Walker
So you’ve been asked to teach Sunday School! Teaching Sunday School or Children’s Church is a big responsibility, but it is also a tremendous blessing. There are many sources for lesson material and craft ideas, but there is more to meditate on before you begin. If you are considering teaching Sunday School, here are five tips to think about that might lead to a more successful outcome.
Tip for Teaching Sunday School #1 - Know Your Subject - The Bible
You may be teaching children, teens or adults; but whomever you are teaching, you must know the subject matter before you can teach it. The subject matter, of course, is the Bible. If you haven’t read the Bible all the way through, now would be a great time to do that. Also, become familiar with the format. For instance, did you know that the Bible is actually a whole library of 66 books? Do you know the order of the books, at least an idea of what is contained in each, and a basic timeline of Biblical events? The Bible was written over centuries, but one of the miracles is that it is one cohesive whole. This is important to convey to your students.The more familiar with the Bible you are, the better you can teach it.
Tip for Teaching Sunday School #2 - Model Your Lesson in Your Life
Even if you know what the Bible teaches, if you don’t live it in your own life, then you can do much more harm than good by trying to teach it to others. Students learn only part of the lesson by listening to you teach. The rest they learn by example - YOUR example. They are watching when you don’t realize they are, to see if you really believe what you are teaching them, or if you are just wasting their time. If you are not willing to live it yourself, then you shouldn’t be teaching it.
Tips for Teaching Sunday School #3 - Be Prepared
If people are going to make the effort to come to your class, you should make sure that you are prepared to teach them. Be on time, to greet your students. Know the Bible story you are going to teach thoroughly, by reading it from the Bible. Don’t try to teach it from memory; take the time to read it, pray about it, and think of how to present the material most effectively. You don’t necessarily have to do a lot of research on the time period, the opinion of commentaries, or ways to “make it real,” you mostly just have to be very, very familiar with the Bible and what it says. If you want to do research, research other books of the Bible, which often cross-reference the story in question. If you are teaching a concept, the Bible is full to overflowing with Scriptures that refer to the same concept in different ways. When taken as a whole, they give the whole Truth on the subject.
Tip for Teaching Sunday School #4 - Teach the Bible
Perhaps you grew up in the church and learned the same Bible stories and lessons over and over. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the Bible stories are stale and that you have to come up with something fresh to teach. Each new generation of children, and even each new generation of Christians, don’t know these stories yet. The Bible stories are fresh, new and exciting to a child, or to a new Christian of any age. Even older Christians are often surprised when they read the actual Biblical account because it isn’t always the way they were taught it, or the way they remember it. God’s Word is “living and active and sharper then any two-edged sword,” (Hebrews 4:12), so you do not have to worry about it being dull. It is relevant in each and every society and time period. If you teach it with enthusiasm, your students will learn the lessons God has to teach them through His Word.
Tips for Teaching Sunday School #5 - Get to Know and Love Your Students
When you are teaching a class, you represent the church, and you even represent Jesus Christ. Be a worthy ambassador! Greet your students by name and treat them kindly. When you teach, be gentle in your rebukes for those who may be less than attentive; when you ask for comments, be careful how you respond when you receive them. If someone is saying something that is not true Biblically, it does have to be corrected, but if you use Scripture to correct it, that is much less embarrassing for your student. Besides, the Bible is the only real authority. If your students don’t like you, or don’t feel welcome in your class, they have no real incentive to come. Especially if your students are children, you can affect how they think about church for many years to come.
Teaching Sunday School is a tremendous privilege. Make sure you know the Bible and live it in your own life. Be prepared to teach by being very familiar with the material, and be on time. Remember that the Bible is God’s Living Word, and is fresh and exciting. After all, “All Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16). Get to know and love your students, and you should have a very successful time teaching Sunday School.