One of my favorite television shows has been Star Trek: TNG (The Next Generation, for all you non-Trekkies out there). From time to time one of the characters asks the captain or first-officer, “Permission to speak freely?” If permission is granted, then the lower-ranking officer has permission to speak his mind…the conversation can freely flow. It’s pretty liberating. Permission to speak freely is almost always beneficial to all the parties.
Permission to teach freely
Because you are a group leader, may I encourage you to give yourself “permission to teach freely”? How do you know if you need to grant this permission to yourself? Give yourself permission to teach freely if:
- You stress out when you skip a suggested teaching procedure in your curriculum’s teaching plan
- You feel like you have to get through all of the subpoints in your lesson to be successful
- You try to ask every question suggested in your curriculum
Permission to teach freely means that you are more free to be led by the Holy Spirit during your group’s Bible study, and that you don’t have to stick to the suggested teaching plan. You can go off-script, chase a rabbit, or skip over questions and activities that don’t make sense for your group. New teachers often refuse to give themselves this kind of permission; veteran teachers have learned to give themselves this kind of permission through the school of hard knocks.
No one knows your group better than you do. Curriculum writers can’t possibly anticipate the dynamics of all groups, so they typically provide much more material than can be used in a single setting. My advice: relax and give yourself permission to teach freely and don’t feel like you are locked into teaching everything suggested in your group Bible study plan.