We’ve already suggested that Bible Teachers can never be fully prepared for what might happen in the classroom, that they need to expect the unexpected. Yet, there are some ways they can be prepared that will help them more effectively deal with the unexpected.
Teachers who do not come to class as prepared as they can be tend to get more frazzled by the unexpected. They tend to find it harder to know how to use the situation as a teachable moment that reinforces that day’s lesson.
3 Areas in which Teachers should be Prepared:
1) Preparation of the Heart
Teachers need to understand the importance of personal study of God’s Word and prayer. When their own hearts are prepared for class, they are more open to the leading of the Spirit who will give them the needed wisdom and understanding. It is no coincidence that within the context of the command to be filled by the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18 we read of being wise and making the most of every opportunity. Yielded hearts tend to be open vessels through which the Spirit works.
2) Preparation of the Lesson
Teachers who have adequately studied the lesson are in a better position to know how to wield the unexpected into something positive that reinforces the truth being learned. They tend to be able to make the needed adjustments because they know where they’ve been and they are going.
Teachers who have adequately practiced their methodology and use of visuals are in a better position to prevent problems from becoming insurmountable. They know what could go wrong and can come prepared to deal with potential issues.
3) Preparation of the Students
Just as the teacher needs to know where the lesson is going and how to get there, so do students if you want to increase potential for cooperation and motivation to stay on track. Begin with an introduction that pulls them in to the lesson. Connect with students in ways that tap in to who they are and how they best learn.
How much better it is to recruit teachers who acknowledge their incompetence than those who think they have mastered all there is to know about teaching God’s Word. The latter will be less likely to be stuck in their ways. They will tend to be teachable, wanting to learn more in order to be better teachers. Like the Apostle Paul, they might say . . .
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Phil. 3:12)
When Teachers See Themselves as Students:
When teachers see themselves as students, they will tend to be more receptive to training or mentoring. They will look for something in each training session they can grab ahold of to become better equipped to teach. Even when a session covers a topic they already seem to have mastered, they will be glad for the review and still come away encouraged.
When teachers see themselves as students, they will be like clay in the Potter’s hands. God is able to mold and shape them and use them in ways they might never expect. The words of 2 Corinthians 12:10 would resonate with them — “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” They find God’s grace to be sufficient for His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).
Encourage Teachers Who See Themselves as Students:
1) Encourage them to study the lesson in ways that get beyond mere lesson preparation to personally growing from it. When the truth of the lesson sinks deep into their own hearts and lives, it will make a difference in their teaching.
2) Encourage them to spend time in the Word apart from studying for the lesson so they grasp God’s heart for teaching, not mere technique.
3) Encourage them to keep learning in any way they can by providing other training resources beyond the formal training you might provide all teachers.
At the start of a new year, think about what your Bible teachers might need to experience anew in order to become better teachers.
I’m not talking about salvation as prayerfully you’ve recruited teachers who have a personal relationship with God through Jesus. I’m talking about teachers who feel worn out, like they have no more to give. They need to be refreshed by the Lord’s power.
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isa. 40:31)
Maybe some of your teachers are simply doing their duty by teaching because there was a need. Others could view lesson preparation as a drudgery. Some might have shifted into the role of a mere disciplinarian maintaining crowd control. They need to revisit their reason for teaching and line up with God’s objective so they can move forward with the right motivation in their hearts which in itself makes such a difference.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Ps. 51:10)
Bible teachers can find themselves in ruts, teaching the way they always have even if it is not the most effective means of reaching their students. They need their creativity recharged by remembering that they were created in the image of a creative God.
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Col. 3:10)
Pray for your Bible teachers, each individually, perhaps using the above Scripture that fits their need for renewal. Think through how you can encourage them accordingly.
Resources to Help with Teachers’ Renewal:
Bible Teaching Resources:
One of the biggest hindrances to creativity I found through the years when teaching in the Church was a lack of resources. I would come up with ideas for methods or visual aids and not personally have the materials needed and neither did the church. To follow through with the idea I would have to buy what was needed myself or search for someone who had it and would let me borrow it. Do your Bible teachers face this same hurdle? What can you do about it? Here are some ideas:
- Resource closet
- List of where they can get resources
- Funds to purchase resources (within reason, of course)
Bible Teaching Ideas:
Some of your teachers may need help with ideas. They might think the idea in the curriculum won’t work with their group size, available space, etc. but don’t know what to do instead. How can you help them?
This is where the training resources pages on the TrainBibleTeachers.com site can help. On many of these pages you will not only find teacher training helps on the different topics but also a list of resources to help with ideas. You would do well to add some of the books and resources listed to a resource area in your church accessible to your teachers. You might also want to consider passing along the link to these pages for teachers should they want to order their own idea books but also to follow the links to other sites that freely provide ideas. You can use the buttons toward the bottom of these pages to pass on the link through e-mail or social media.
Here are some examples:
Do your teachers need help with game ideas? Check out: Games as Bible Learning Activities
Do your teachers need help with crafts ideas? Check out: Crafts – Handwork as a Bible Learning Activity
Do your teachers need help with ideas for designing bulletin boards? Check out: Bulletin Boards as a Bible Teaching Tool
Do your teachers need help with object lesson ideas? Check out: Using Object Lessons in Bible Teaching