Question / Comment - Any advice on preparing a lesson?


Hello,
    Praise God for you!  I love your bible studies and can see your passion to teach God's word accurately.  I just got done reading your Ehud (power of praise) Bible study and fell in love with you style of ministry.  I am a transfer Junior at Asbury University, I am majoring in youth ministry.  I was wandering if you could give me any advice about preparing a lesson, ideas for topics or anything else you can think of that will aid me in advancing God's Kingdom through youth ministry.

 

JPN Reply 

Hi,
 
thanks for the email and glad you enjoyed the study. I haven't really been involved with youth ministry so I'm probably a little out of touch there! I'm generally teaching adults or taking Sunday School for 2-8 yr olds! And I'm not really sure what type of messages/studies you do or the depth of knowledge of those that you speak to. For me it is pretty simple... basically all of the studies on the website are based on studies prepared for the Home Group that I take (where we generally just read through a book of the Bible) or a sermon series in church - again quite often based on a book of the Bible. And a lot of the people I am speaking to have been Christians longer than I have.
 
But here are a few general pointers that I like to remember -
  • Firstly, God never called anyone to entertain His sheep. He does call people to 'Feed my Sheep'. So whatever you are doing make sure God's word is in there. The Bible says that 'Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God'. You can make it fun, and it should be relevant obviously, but don't ignore God's word. It is the word of God that has the power to speak , and change, people's lives.
  • The Bible is about Jesus. Always look for Him where ever you are. He is God's focus so make Him yours.
  • Stick to the essentials - the old saying is true 'major on the majors, minor on the minors'. A quote that I have on my website from C.S Lewis says "Most theologians devote their lives to answering questions most people are not asking." Don't forget that! People don't need to know how far Jericho is from Jerusalem. But they do need to know how far their heart is from the heart of God.
  • KISS - "Keep it simple stupid" - As much as possible try to make the gems of the Bible understandable to the simplest. Pray a lot about this. Ask God to give you the ability to communicate His word and eternal truth is a way that even the young in Christ can grasp. J.Vernon McGee was a Bible Teacher that I like. He used to work through the whole Bible on the radio so a lot of his listeners were non - Christians. He had a saying that he always tried 'to put the cookies on the lowest shelf'. In other words he would get the real cool stuff from the Bible and communicate it in a way that even the lowest could reach up and take it.
  • In terms of how to prepare the studies... Firstly read the passage you are looking at. And secondly read the passage you are looking at. I have a book at home by one of my favourite Bible teachers (from about 90 years ago) and He says to read the passage at least 7 times (and these are long passages!). And pray and meditate on it during your day. I don't know how often you will be teaching or how long you have to prepare but for me, I take a home group once a week and speak in church only once a month. So when I'm preparing a sermon I'll be thinking and meditating on it for a couple of weeks before I give it. Always look for illustrations and personal examples that general life always gives us.
  • Get good Bible software. I use e-Sword with quite a few add-ons. Always helps to look passages up and be able to cross-reference, read commentaries etc.
  • When you are giving the study, get people involved! Ask questions, encourage discussion and comments. Don't make it a mono-tone dictation!
Now, I know all of this is probably different from what you asked but I hope some of it helps.
 
Others have written far more on actually preparing the study:
 
http://www.gocampus.org/modx/index.php?id=155
 
This looks really useful:
http://www.youthministry.com/files/bible_study_methods.pdf

All the best.

Their Reply:

Wow.  Thank you so much!!!  That was very helpful!  You answered my question, and a little more.  I love the C.S. Lewis quote.  I will definitely be going to those websites.  Thanks!