Dr. Charles Revis, Executive Minister, ABC of the Northwest

I think engaging, life-transforming, biblical preaching is huge. Same thing goes for teaching. Pastors are under tremendous pressure to be at everyone's beck and call. As a result it's easy to cave to the pressure, attend to all the needs, and fail to give sufficient time for sermon preparation. Shoddy, shallow sermons can be found at the top of the list for reasons for failure in the church.

One of these days I plan to do a blog series on preaching. Until then I cam across this simple four point message from Josh Hunt about good Sunday School teaching. I thought every point was equally applicable to preaching, including the fourth one about "involvement." A preacher may not involve the congregation with the message the same as in a Sunday School class, but there should be the intention that the people will engage at some level. Excellent preachers monitor the involvement of the people during the delivery. Changing the pace, asking a rhetorical question, walking out into the crowd, using a prop...these are ways to keep people involved in the message.

Anyway, check out these four points from Josh Hunt. Good stuff:

Solid Biblical Content/Depth
The number one complaint I hear about lessons is "lack of depth". People want to learn something. They want to hear something they have not heard before. In my lessons, I try to include quotes from some of the greatest Bible scholars around. Great teachers are always investing in great books, scanning the Internet and doing whatever they can to bring some depth to the table. Crummy teachers give Sunday School answers.

Humor
I love to laugh. In a healthy group, the group will provide the humor. It is not such a bad idea to try to find some funny stories in every lesson. Obviously, we want the story to relate to the text and the point of today's lesson. One of the many reasons I like John Ortberg is he nearly always sprinkles a little humor into his messages. Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down, and just a bit of humor makes every group better.

Personal application
Big question: what do you want me to do about what I heard today? Our goal is not to make smarter sinners, but to teach people to live the John 10:10 abundant Christian life. Not, "teaching them everything I have commanded you" but, "Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Good lessons have lots of take-home value--something for me to do this week to make me a little more like Christ.

Lots of participation
In an ideal class, everyone participates--more or less evenly. No one is completely silent, and no one dominates the conversation. I am working an experiment in my own group where I pass out the lessons to each participant and have them take turns asking the questions. They can answer or not. It is going pretty well.

Josh Hunt offers excellent teacher training materials and ideas on his web site: www.joshhunt.com (most of it is free). If you are running a Sunday School program I would suggest signing all of your S.S. teachers up for a weekly email message from Josh. Very good stuff here.

2009 © Dr. Charles Revis, ABC Northwest
[This article is from Dr. Revis’ blog, www.missionnorthwest.blogspot.com]