In baseball, a skilled pitcher will often throw a change-up pitch to the batter. Batters sometimes come to expect the pitcher to throw a certain pitch, but when the change-up pitch comes, it takes the batter off-guard and throws off his timing. The batter anticipates a fastball, but the pitcher throws the ball in such a way that it looks like a fastball but comes at the batter at a much slower speed than expected – it’s the quintessential off-speed pitch. It really keeps the batter on his toes.
If you feel that your Bible study group has come to predict the type of pitch you’ll throw each time you gather for study, maybe it’s time to throw them a change-up pitch. It isn’t unusual to see little things make a big difference in the group’s study. For instance:
- Change your focal wall. If you have a group that meets on-campus, and you are used to facing a certain wall each week (usually the one with the marker board on it), then turn the chairs and create a different focal wall for the week. Use giant Post-It wall sheets and make your own temporary marker board. Simply facing a new direction can spark interest and curiosity in the hearts and minds of your group members.
- Change your order. Perhaps you start your group by making announcements, then follow that with a time of prayer, and conclude with the Bible study. Throw a change-up by starting immediately with the Bible study, followed by prayer, then announcements. Just varying the anticipated order of things can be enough to surprise your group members and recapture their interest and attention.
- Change your delivery. This may be the hardest of all. Group leaders tend to teach in a way that we prefer to be taught. If you prefer to deliver a lecture, then change things up and craft a teaching plan that is centered around discussion. If your group is talkative and loves discussion, throw them a curve and use even more active learning approaches. The point is, teach in a way they don’t anticipate. This is how you can throw a change-up in your teaching style.