How would you like to taste a spoonful of flour? Thought so. What about gulping down 1/4 cup of vegetable oil? No takers? How about eating a tablespoon of salt? No way? How about letting a couple of farm fresh eggs slide down your throat ala Rocky Balboa style? Uh uh? But what if I mixed all of those ingredients together and added some chocolate chips and baked the creations for 12-14 minutes until golden brown? Any takers for some hot, out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies? Now we’re talking! Any of of the ingredients by themselves aren’t palatable at all. But when mixed together, something wonderfully good is created.
Every Bible study you teach has certain ingredients that go into it. When you learn to mix them together in just the right order and quantity, something great takes place. Any one of the by itself is not nearly as good as when they are all mixed together to form a Bible study.
The 3 Ingredients
First, you need a strong opening. Some educators call this the “hook,” while others use a term like “motivation” stage. Whatever it is called, it’s the part of the lesson where the group leader captures everyone’s interest and directs the group members’ attention to the session title, the teaching aim, and a central truth that will be explored. Some group leaders will ask a great discussion question. Others will refer to a current event. Still others may show a video clip or read a quote from a book. No matter what the hook is, the goal is to redirect group members’ attention toward the lesson.
Second, you want to sprinkle in a variety of learning approaches. Appeal to your group members’ preferred learning styles and make sure to include a variety of learning approaches. Create smaller groups and use triads or quads to help group members open up and discuss their answers to a discussion question. Use visuals like a PowerPoint slideshow, poster, map, or something you’ve written on a marker board to appeal to visual learners. The list goes on, but the idea is to have enough variety over time that each of your group members feels you’ve crafted an activity just for them – one they really get into and appreciate – and learn from! An excellent resource to learn more about the various learning approaches is the book 7 Kinds of Smart.
Third, finish with a strong closing. If you’re going to create a masterpiece, you can’t fall short at the end! The application stage of Bible study is the time when you can help your group members answer the question, “So what?” as they think about the Bible study. Give practical suggestions for applying the truths from the Bible study session. Make sure that the suggested applications are achievable and measurable.
Creating a pleasing Bible study isn’t hard at all if you’ll craft it based on these 3 ingredients (strong opening, a variety of activities, and a strong closing). Think of your Bible study in 3 stages: motivation, examination, and application. When you break a Bible study down into these three ingredients, you are well on your way to creating an experience your group members will love.