I hate it when I accidentally shrink my clothes. Hot water and a hot dryer can cause clothes to become unusable. How about your Bible study group? Are you doing things that may cause some shrinkage to occur there, too?
It doesn’t take a lot to see your Bible study group’s attendance slip into reverse. Groups, like churches, are either growing or they are shrinking. If your Sunday School class has seen better days and you’d like to start growing again, watch out for these things that are just about guaranteed to shrink your group:
1) Ask guests to pray, read out loud, or answer questions. Guests do not love being put on the spot. They don’t want to stand out. Instead, let guests blend in and get involved at their own pace. Respect them by giving them some space. Simple things we take for granted like praying or reading Scripture out loud may be major issues to guests.
2) Be predictable week after week. If your learners can tell me what’s going to happen in your class next week, it’s time to change things up. Be unpredictable. If your learners know your playbook, throw it out and get a new one. Try teaching procedures you typically don’t use. Change up the schedule you usually follow, rearrange the classroom, and keep learners guessing as to what’s going to happen each week.
3) Do it all for your learners. Doesn’t everybody love the “sage on the stage” who has all the answers? After all, he’s studied and has lots of information to convey, so the role of group members is to sit there and be quiet…right? Wrong! A good teacher will use a variety of teaching methods to involve the learners in active learning. The smart teacher will ask good questions, use visual aids such as charts and maps, and generally not tell learners anything they can discover on their own.
4) Throw your lesson together at the last minute. We expect you to spend time in daily preparation so that you hear a fresh word from God each week. We’re depending on you to help us understand what God expects of us, and you’ve only got a small amount of teaching time in which to help me learn how to be a better Christian, husband, father, son, employer, employee, coach, and more. If you want to shrink your class, just keep pulling your lesson together on Saturday, figuring “it’s good enough.” It isn’t.
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