It’s a lost phrase in most circles of teachers and group leaders: Total Period Teaching. In fact, I learned it years ago while in seminary, but just because something is old doesn’t mean you throw it out. Total Period Teaching simply says that the involvement of your group members in the Bible study will be maximized if you use the entire group time for leading them to engage in a study of God’s Word. That means that from the time they arrive until the time they leave, you are using the entire period to teach and guide them. We think that the teaching portion of our Bible study has to come after several other things like a fellowship time and a prayer time. Not necessarily! Total Period Teaching says to go ahead and get the group members thinking about Bible study topic the minute they arrive. Here are several ways to get people to connect with your Bible study topic:
- Thematic music – have music playing in the background that is related to your Bible study passage or title.
- Visuals – hang or display posters, maps, and other objects that draw people’s attention.
- Objects – use an object to hook their interest…hold it, show it, display it, pass it around, etc.
- Question – if the place you meet for Bible study has a board, write a question on it and ask group members to think of an answer while other people are arriving. If you don’t have access to a markerboard, simply write a question on an index card and place it in every seat.
- Video – show a video clip or have one playing as people arrive. Refer to it later in the study.
- Paper and pencil activities – design a paper and pencil activity (pre-quiz, fill-in-the-blank, matching exercise, etc).
The rule of thumb is to not just let your group members sit there, but to get them actively engaged in the Bible study. Think about ways to involve your group in the Bible study from the very beginning of your time together…watch those creative juices flow!