My family and I are bad about not eating leftover food. We have good intentions, and often pack up leftovers from meals into plastic containers with the intention of someone taking the leftovers for lunch the next day. The problem at our house is this: we do the hard work of cooking the food, serving it, and packing up leftovers, but we never eat the leftovers!
Bible study leaders do something similar. We study and fill up on God’s Word, ready to feed our Bible study groups with lots of great information about the Scripture passage we are studying. We have limited time to get across all of the points in our lesson, so naturally we have “leftovers” from each Bible study we lead. What’s a person to do with those leftovers?
By that I mean:
- Don’t throw away the “leftovers” from your Bible study.
- Pack them away (or file them away) so you have a system for reclaiming them when needed.
- Plan on using a lesson point not covered, an illustration not used, an activity you didn’t have time for, etc., at some future date and in a future teaching setting.
Movie producers have learned this secret. In the editing process, much of the film we don’t see ends up on what they call “the cutting room floor.” So do many parts of your Bible study lessons. Movie companies have learned to harvest the cutting room floor scenes that didn’t make it into their movies and now they put those scenes on DVDs as “bonus” material or “deleted scenes.”
Learn to do the same with the leftovers from your weekly Bible studies. Don’t throw away your hard work – just mark what you didn’t use with colored markers, highliters, or Post-It-Notes and file away your materials, commentaries, teaching plans, etc., in a filing system you design. Go back to this from time to time and use the materials that were once left over from a Bible study.
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