Out Your Lesson
By Paula Marolewski
When I taught a class on how to lead
Bible studies and teach in a group, the biggest push-back I received
was when I promoted writing out – in full – your lesson
for the week. People objected that writing out a lesson would squelch
the Spirit of God and would make the lesson mechanical.
After having led adult Sunday School classes and small group Bible
studies for over fifteen years, I disagree. Instead, I have found
that thorough preparation – including writing out as completely
as possible everything you want to say – brings only benefits
to the group or class you are leading. And that holds true regardless
of whether the class is more lecture-oriented or more discussion-oriented.
Here are three areas that benefit significantly from taking the
time to write out your lesson:
- Writing helps you focus your lesson and achieve your
goals. It requires you to define your main point and decide how
to explain it, support it, illustrate it, and apply it.
- Writing out your lesson ensures that you have enough
content to fill the allotted time. You won’t have to suffer
the embarrassment of being done with your material and still
have 15 minutes of dead time to fill, nor will you find that
the bell has rung and you have 15 minutes of material still to
- Teaching is about expounding on points, not just stating
points. It’s one thing to say “God calls us to forgive
others.” It’s another to talk about the reasons we
resist forgiving others, the process of forgiveness, and the
benefits of forgiveness. When you write out your lesson, you
can carefully develop all aspects of your main focus.
- Since you know the points you want to cover when you
write out your lesson, you can also prepare effective handouts
and note-taking sheets to help the participants engage with the
material and remember it.
- By writing out your lesson, you can learn how to
pace yourself. You will see in black-and-white where you are spending
most of your time, and what points need to be strengthened.
- You will not find yourself groping for words, forgetting
your points or sub-points, or faltering to make transitions between
- If you find that some portion of your lesson has taken
longer than you planned and you are running short on time, a
written lesson will help you evaluate faster what to eliminate and still
achieve your goals for the session since you can literally scan
the remainder of your content in a few seconds.
- Written lessons help you determine where to intersperse
discussion to keep people involved and engaged.
- By writing your lessons out, you are also able to guide
discussion more effectively. Instead of asking “What do
you think? Does anyone have any input?” – which can
open the door to absolutely anything – you can ask targeted,
well-crafted questions that lead the discussion in order to support
the focus and goal of your class.
- When you develop a written lesson, you are more likely
to realize ahead of time where people might have questions – and
prepare for them.
- A written lesson will also help you recognize and derail
tangents as soon as they happen – whether it’s you
who are tempted to go off on a rabbit trail, or whether someone
else is veering off during a discussion time.
When you consider the benefits, the time and effort it takes to
write out a lesson becomes an investment that you can’t afford
to be without. Rather than squelching the Spirit of God, God is
able to move more powerfully in the hearts, minds, and lives of
others because of your thorough preparation. And rather than make
the lesson mechanical, your preparation sets you free to be at
ease during the class – to lead and teach with confidence.
© 2008 Paula Marolewski
Article Source: http://www.sinkyourroots.com
About the Author:
Paula J. Marolewski provides challenging and interactive adult Bible
studies for individuals, Bible studies, small groups, and adult Sunday School
classes at Sink Your Roots. Studies
include such topics as Debunking
the Myths about Knowing God's Will. The site also offers free weekly Seedlings - “Little
thoughts that grow big results.”