Thanksgiving, Brussels sprouts, and Bible Study Prep

This week’s teaching tip is courtesy of Robert Pazmino. In his book Basics of Teaching for Christians, he tells the story of his son, David, who wasBasics of Teaching studying to become a chef. His son announced that he wanted to prepare the family’s Thanksgiving meal, complete with printed menu and a list of ingredients. At the top of the list: Brussels sprouts.

Pazmino and other family members were not thrilled about having a bitter vegetable like Brussels sprouts on the Thanksgiving table. When diplomatic attempts to dissuade his son from preparing them failed, Pazmino agreed to help his son prepare the meal, including “Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Pancetta.”  Here is the lesson Pazmino learned about Brussels sprouts and teaching:

I was able to observe the preparation of the Brussels sprouts firsthand. Part of the preparation called for me to use a melon scoop to remove the bitter center from each sprout and to carefully separate each of the leaves. My son explained that coring the sprouts removed the bitter portion. I was beginning to learn!…To our great surprise, the first dish to disappear was the Brussels sprouts…When I turned back to my Christian education classes, which earlier had been informed about the upcoming menu for our Thanksgiving meal, the students asked how the Brussels sprouts had fared. I was delighted to report the results and what I had learned from my son. The preparation made all the difference in that dish. This example points us to the need for careful preparation – not only in the arena of the culinary arts, but also in the teaching arts, which require a commitment of time and energy prior to the actual presentation of any lesson. – Basics of Teaching for Christians, pp.19-21

As you can see from this story, preparation makes all the difference. The same principle is in effect every time you teach God’s Word. Thorough preparation gives you confidence and an excitement to guide your group members in a study of God’s Word. Inadequate preparation can leave a bitter taste in the mouths and minds of your group members.

Don’t be “that person” who tries to prepare one day in advance of a Bible study, thinking “There’s nothing to it!” Preparation makes all the difference, so set aside as much time as you need to do a thorough job of preparing a Bible study for your group.

Happy Thanksgiving later this week, and if there are Brussels sprouts on your Thanksgiving table, enjoy!


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  1. I’ve see n this firsthand lately. I started journaling daily in the text we will be studying in Explore the Bible. I’m already through week 10 and week one starts this week. Several of our teachers were not looking forward to doing Numbers and Deuteronomy after just finishing Ephesians. One teacher told me, “The first text we deal with just repeats itself over and over again.” He told me this 3 weeks ago. Because I had already studied and developed the lesson, I had an answer to that objection and gave him additional resources. He told me this past Saturday that he ended up loving the lesson. He was better prepared with a better attitude because I was prepared ahead of time. Before starting this process i wouldn’t have looked at the text until this week and would have had no answer for him.

    Ben Jennings Canton Baptist Temple


    • Ben, great leadership on your part. Preparation makes all the difference, and yes, sometimes we look at upcoming studies and make a snap judgment, but any study can be a great study if the teacher is prepared.

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