Every week, in Sabbath school classes across the world, someone will be talking. It’s estimated that the normal pace for English speaking averages between 120 to 160 words per minute. That translates to 5400 – 7200 words for the typical 45 minute Sabbath school class.
How many of those words are being spoken by you the teacher? If your answer is that you are speaking the majority of those 5400 – 7200 words, you are more than likely missing the mark as an effective Sabbath school teacher.
Sabbath school teachers have to consciously fight the tendency to lecture and preach to the members of their classes. One of the 2 biggest complaints about Sabbath school teachers is that they do all or most of the talking and don’t involve the class members.
Although the information shared may be true and useful, we have to be wise in our manner of presentation. The evidence shows, without question, that members learn more and enjoy the process of learning even more when there is opportunity for meaningful interaction and dialogue.
Guiding a class that is consistently known for a great discussion takes a lot of preparation and forethought. Preparing your materials and talking points and devising stimulating questions is a process that demands time from the teacher. To simply lecture a class or read the lesson out loud not only short changes the members of the class but also stunts your growth as a teacher.
To give members “something to talk about” means that you have guided your class in a manner where they are actively participating and the learning is mutual and shared. Here are a few dos and don’ts to aid you in having great discussions:
Do prepare thought-provoking questions for each part of your theme
Do anticipate the probable answers you’ll receive and have follow-up questions ready
Do make your questions appropriate for visitors as well as long time members
Don’t answer your own questions. Let the class answer the questions.
Don’t limit the answer to the 1st response. Build on it and re-launch it
Don’t ignore raised hands in an effort to get to your points of interest
Following these simple guidelines can enhance any class for any teacher. When they come to your session this week, make sure that you give them “something to talk about.”
It’s that time of the year for the annual ritual of making New Year’s resolutions. Heading the most popular resolutions will be losing weight and improving your health. Although those are great goals, they are not on my list of five.
Another frequently cited resolution is becoming debt free. I am all for that and it’s certainly the best way to live. “Owe no man anything” was written for a good reason. But that’s not in my five.
In accordance with the mandatory listing of New Years Resolutions, here’s my top 5:
We like Jesus. For some that’s too mild of a statement. We love Jesus. We especially love the Jesus who steps in on time, the One who comes to our rescue. We love that Jesus so much we even write songs about Him. Jesus on the main line tell Him what you want…
Nothing compares to the hope one can derive from knowing that Jesus cares. Through the deepest night of despair there is always the confidence that comes from believing that Jesus is with us and will see us through. We want that Jesus.
We also want the Jesus who will fight our battles for us. The text “vengeance is mine” has kept the sanity of many a believer. As we navigate through life we need a shield before us and behind us and no one can do that better than Jesus. We want that Jesus.
We especially want the Jesus that brings forgiveness to our guilty consciences. Lifting the burden of guilt that crushes our souls is a miracle in itself. Regardless of our past we have the promise of forgiveness to those who ask for it. We want that Jesus.
But there is a Jesus we don’t want. We never talk about this Jesus. He’s like that embarrassing relative we want no one to know of. It’s the Jesus that walks the narrow road and who goes against the grain of our lives and against the currents of society. We’re not the first to disown this Jesus but we may be of the generation who ignore Him at the greatest peril.
For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. Mark 8:38