Today’s teaching tip is for those of us who lead Bible study groups. It may seem counter-intuitive, but experience doesn’t make you a better teacher. Only one kind of experience does that: evaluated experience.
I was reminded of this just two days ago when a new Bible study leader launched a new group at my church. He asked me to sit in on the very first session of his new Bible study group for the expressed purpose of providing him with feedback afterwards.
Experience doesn’t tend to make us better teachers. There are plenty of teachers who have been teaching Bible studies for years, but lack basic communication skills. Yet they continue to teach and repeat bad habits. Experience hasn’t made them better. Evaluated experience, though, does. There are three reasons why you will want to ask someone you trust (a pastor, staff leader, Sunday School director, etc.) to evaluate your teaching from time to time:
- Evaluated experience helps you kick bad habits. Do you pace nervously as you teach? Do you repeat certain phrases? Do you tend to ask a question of the group, then answer it yourself before one of the group members can? Evaluated experience will help identify weaknesses that can easily be overcome in time.
- Evaluated experience helps you begin good habits. As important as kicking bad habits, you want to embed good practices in your teaching. Does your Bible study have a strong beginning? Have you mastered the meaning of the text? Do you help your group members connect God’s Word to practical application ideas? Are you using a variety of teaching techniques? Evaluated experience will help you do good things that will make you a better group leader.
- Evaluated experience places you in a posture for continual improvement. If you have a rhythm of being evaluated regularly by someone else, it will cause you to become a lifelong learner. You will continually seek to improve because you know you’ll soon be evaluated and challenged to be the very best teacher possible.
So if you have taught the Bible for a number of years, that’s great. But remember that experience doesn’t necessarily make you a better teacher. Evaluated experience, however, does.
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