A Place Adults Don’t Want to Be

Teaching AdultsAdults will find it easier to miss Sunday School classes, small groups, or other Bible study groups that engage in practices they can’t buy into or that make them uncomfortable.

Bible teachers must figure out how they can address these concerns while still standing firm on the truth of God’s Word.

When adults feel the class is a place that lacks the following, they will be less likely to want to be there:

1) a place that lacks authenticity (hypocritical)

Many people are searching for something that is real. They don’t need the church to be one more disappointment. — Stand for truth yet remember to live it as well as teach it.

2) a place that lacks grace (legalistic, judgmental)

Many people have a low self-esteem and already know they don’t measure up. They don’t need condemnation but rather a helping hand to be who they should be in the Lord. — Stand on truth yet remember Jesus’ example with the Samaritan woman in exercising both grace and truth.

3) a place that lacks unconditional acceptance (intolerant, unfriendly)

Many people are already lonely. They don’t need to feel alienated in the Church. — Stand for truth yet remember to love those who don’t live by it or express doubts about it. Remember that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

4) a place that lacks depth (shallow, trite answers to life)

Many people struggle with the complexities of life. They don’t need simplistic answers that avoid their real issues. — Stand by the teachings of God’s Word yet communicate it in such a way that sounds like more than “Christianese” talk but rather is real and meets people where they are in language they can understand.

5) a place that lacks unity (political, drama-filled)

Many people are already disillusioned. They don’t need church leaders and teachers acting like what they find in the world. — Stand up for what you believe yet remember to do it in peaceful and Christ-like ways, not in hostile or arrogant ways that bring nothing but conflict.

Adult Bible classes characterized or perceived by the above deficiencies are also missing another very important key ingredient. They lack focus on Jesus who came to bring just the opposite of the above. Jesus said,

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (Jn. 10:10)

More Resources on Teaching Adults

A Place Adults Want to Be

Teaching AdultsAdults will be more likely to commit to an adult Sunday School class, small group, or other Bible study class if they sense value or benefit in attending. Adult Bible teachers can structure so needs are met, making their class a place adults want to be. However, teachers must remember to keep God and His Word central if they are going to be a place set apart from what people can find in the world.

Seek to meet the following needs in order to be a place adults want to be:

1) community, a place to connect with both God and one another

Provide lots of caring and sharing but make sure it is based on who they are in Christ and not merely building friendships.

2) collaboration, a place to learn together what God’s Word say rather than being told what to believe

Use lots of discussion methodology yet make sure it based on and rooted in God’s Word and not merely the sharing of humanistic ideas.

3) cause, a place that encourages purposeful and impacting living

Encourage ministry yet make sure it is based on what counts for eternal good and not mere humanitarian efforts

4) context, a place where truth is made relevant to life

Emphasize the implications and applications to life yet make sure sufficient time is spent gaining a solid foundation from God’s Word.

5) caliber, a place that cares about quality

Keep the focus on the spiritual yet make sure teachers not only love the Lord but also know the Word and how to effectively teach.

More Resources on Teaching Adults

Teaching About God’s Love

How important it is that Bible teachers present to their students a God who loves them and cares deeply about them. In teaching about God’s love, however, we need to accurately present the full truth about God’s love.

Important Truths to Teach About God’s Love:

Greatness of God's LoveGod’s love is beyond measure.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:17b-19)

God’s love has already been demonstrated.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (Jn. 3:16)

God’s love is not the sole definition of who He is.

for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:16)
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. (Rev. 4:8)
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. (Rom. 2:5)

Important Reminders for Bible Teachers When Teaching About God’s Love:

1) Be careful to present God in the fullness of who He is, not just the part that seems more appealing.

God does love us beyond measure, demonstrated in how far He is willing to go to reconcile us to Himself. But, it took the death of Jesus to bring salvation because He is also a just and holy God who cannot overlook sin. Jesus died to take the punishment we deserve.

2) Guard against over-emphasizing certain traits.

Bible teachers must present God in the fullness of who He is, not just the part that feels good.  He is also a just and holy God. If you stress only the love of God, people could struggle to understand how a good God can allow suffering. If you primarily emphasize God’s judgment and wrath due to Him being a just and holy God, people could struggle with understanding how personal and approachable He is.

3) Help students understand God’s love by being an example of His love.

Remember God demonstrates His love. He doesn’t just talk about it. You will model His love by the way you respond to questions, disruptions, misbehavior, breakages, etc.

Are Your Teachers Consistent?

Consistency speaks volumes. Saying one thing but doing another counteracts what is verbally taught. The objective ought to be to help Bible teachers become more consistent so their lives reinforce what is being taught rather than contradict it.

Consistency in Bible Teachers

Questions to Ask about Your Bible Teachers to Determine Where They Might Need Help Being More Consistent:

Does the teacher’s life display qualities consistent with the life they claim Jesus came to give us?

Resource: Be-Attitudes for Teachers Devotional

Does what the teacher says about God’s design for the Church match how the class functions?

Resource: Teachers Either Block or Promote Community Worksheet

Is what the teacher communicates about God’s love demonstrated through the way the teacher reacts, responds, and relates to students?

Resource: Does your heart beat with the love of God? Worksheet

Is the way the teacher manages time congruent with what he/she tells students is important?

Resource: Time Management for Teachers Worksheet

Does what the teacher says about the authority and truthfulness of God’s Word line up with how they use God’s Word in the classroom?

Resource: Line Up Your Bible Lesson Preparation with the Word of God Worksheet

Is what is being taught about prayer backed up by a life of prayer?

Resource: Praying Like You Truly Believe HE is the Source of All You Need Worksheet

While there are many other questions we could ask about a teacher’s consistency, the above questions zero in on some key issues in the Christian life. Think about the difference it could potentially make if both a teacher’s words and actions underscore the lesson being taught.

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save (restore, heal, keep safe and sound) both yourself and your hearers. (1 Tim. 4:16)