Part of preparing to teach your Adult Bible Study Curriculum is having a backup plan. This is two fold. One you need to have a backup plan in case there is anything unexpected in class. Perhaps you have a PowerPoint. What if the projector breaks or the computer malfunctions? If you have a video what if the DVD player breaks? You need to prepare for the unexpected. Maybe you have an activity that requires multiple groups and not that many people come to class. These things are all small and trivial in the grand scheme of things but if you are unprepared they can completely derail a lesson. It is not that we need these things to be an effective teacher but we need to be prepared for them to not work properly. The second part of this is you need to have someone else ready to teach at any moment. You are probably a volunteer and you have many responsibilities in life. We all have those unexpected moments that throw a kink in our plans. You need to have someone you trust who you can call at any moment if need be that can teach the Adult Bible Study Curriculum. Do not assume everything will run smoothly all the time. Be prepared with a backup plan or two.
One of the things that often missing from the Adult Bible Study Curriculum that is out there and from the church in general is discipleship. We are great at evangelism and sharing the Gospel but discipleship is so much more than that. Discipleship is the long term relationships that we build with others in order to train them in being a follower of Christ. In that relationship we also model for them what it looks like to be a follower of Christ. This is not only what we are called to do but it is also what Jesus modeled for us while He was on earth. Yes He reached out to thousands of people while on earth but most of HIs time was devoted into investing in 12 people. We need to remember this model. As we teach our Adult Bible Study Curriculum we need to do more than just share the Gospel or teach. We need to build relationships with others and train them in what it means to be a follower of Christ. Then they can turn around and do the same. It does take more commitment on our part but it is necessary.
In order for your bible study and your Adult Bible Study Curriculum to be fully effective, you need to have a vision for what it all needs look like. You need to pray and figure out what God's goals are for the group. You need to then work with the end in mind and try to decide exactly what you need to do to get to your goals. Then once you have that vision it should drive you every week and every day. But there is another step. You need to cast that vision for your group. Maybe not all at once but steadily they need to hear your goals for the group. Then they will be able to know exactly where the group is heading and what role they can play. They will know what the expectations are from week to week as they come to the group and they will what they are working towards. Also, work the vision into your Adult Bible Study Curriculum teaching each week since it should all coincide together anyways. Plus this will keep the vision fresh on the minds of those in your group and allow new people to catch the vision.
An important part of being an effective teacher of Adult Bible Study Curriculum is support. Teaching is not always easy and can become discouraging. You need people who can lift you up and keep you going. Another benefit of having a support system is that the people around you can make you better. They can be a sounding board for you to bounce ideas off of and they can tell you whether or not you need to tweak or change them. They can also push you. I try to keep a few people in my life who I feel are better at what I do than I am. They push me because I always want to try and keep up. I still am myself but I always try to work as hard as possible at being creative. Do not try to mimic them but see the relationship as iron sharpening iron. We are not designed to do life alone and teaching Adult Bible Study Curriculum is not exempt from this. Bujild a support system that can push you and challenge you.
As a teacher of Adult Bible Study Curriculum one of the most difficult yet most important parts of my job is to have patience. I love the material we are talking about and enjoy studying it. Often though people do not undedrstand the things I am teaching as quickly as I would like them too. You have probably found yourself in this same situation from time to time. It is very easy to become frustrated and ask yourself why people can not learn or what their problem is. This is where patience becomes key. You have to slow down and first examine yourself. Could you communitcate or illustrate the point a little differently. You also have to remember that the people in your group have not studied the material in the Adult Bible Study Curriculum as much as you have. Many times we have known things for so long that we forget we had to learn them at some point just like the people in our class do. I know teaching is not always as rewarding and easy as we would like it to be. But if you will be patient it will all work out in the end.
Alot of Adult Bible Study Curriculum is geared towards helping people who are already Christians grow deeper in their faith. This is wise because often times the people who come in to your bible study are taking their next step not only in your church and minstry but also in their personal walk with Christ. But we can never be certain of this. We can never be sure of what the background is of the person who is coming in to our class or where they are spiritually. For all we know everyone in our bible study in a given week may be lost. Because of this I always like to make a point to put the Gospel in to each lesson. I just feel we should never speak or teach without sharing it. We sjhould never pass up the opportunity to help someone experience life change. This may mean you have to put in some extra time tweaking the lesson but the possibility of someone being changed for all of eternity makes it completely worth it.
As you are preparing to teach your Adult Bible Study Curriculum you really need to watch the church lingo. You have probably heard this repeatedly and I have also. But it is something I have to remind myself of daily and each week it seems like I have to add something new to the category of church lingo. You really need to avoid throwing around words that people will not understand and "inside" jokes that will only make others feel left out. Now there is some church lingo that can not be avoided. Just today I was talking about the King James Version and other versions of scripture. To my surprise someone in the group did not know what I was talking about. It led to a great conversation but also a very important lesson that I needed to learn. Obviously I should not take these words out of my vocabulary buy I do have to be sensitive to explain them when necessary. We can not assume that everyone has been to church before. We also can not look down on people if they are not a part of the church culture. Not all of it is a good thing anyways. Just a few things to think about as you prepare to teach your Adult Bible Study Curriculum.
As a teacher of Adult Bible Study Curriculum you probably love teaching. We have talked about this love and how important that love is. You have an important role to play as a teacher. We have also talked about how it is hard to fit everything in. With those two things at the forefront of our minds we usually battle to figure out how to use that time to its fullest. This is good. Again the role you play as a teacher is important. But you also have to play a role of minister and group builder. Often times the best way to build a group and to ensure that people are ministered to is to stop talking. Occasionally you need to look at a lesson and realize that even though it is all important and there does not seem to be enough time for it all, some of the material must be sacrificed. Some things must be left out so that you can put time in for people to get to know each other. You mus allow time for you to challenge others to be a community, pray together, and minister to one another. This will be a challenge but it is a necessity. So in the next few weeks as you study your Adult Bible Study Curriculum take time to look for ways to give up some of your moments and put in moments to build community.
When I talk to people about teaching Adult Bible Study Curriculum, one of the most often asked questions that I get is how much studying is really enough. It is a valid question and one I love. It shows that people really want to be prepared and do a good job. But it is not a question where there is one straightforward answer. It depends on a number of factors. What is the topic? If it is not one you are familiar with you probably will have to prepare more. If it is something deep like the Trinity you definitely want to study more. How experienced are you? If you have taught for a long time it might be easier for you to wing it a little more if you have to. But if you are a novice teacher you definitely want to invest more time in studying. Even if you are an experienced teacher never get cocky. Make sure you are ready. You may also want to ask how comfortable do you feel? I have found for me I like to study until I feel I will not have to look at the outline and/or until I do not fear any question that might come up. You may not be an expert on the topic that the Adult Bible Study Curriculum is covering but you need to at least appear to be one. So study hard, and if you think you are ready study a little more.
We have talked before that while your Adult Bible Study curriculum is an important part of your bible study there are people in your group coming in with real needs that are far more important. As a part of meeting those needs you have to create a safe environment where people can share their needs and step up to meet them. But what if other needs arise? What if pressing matters come up in the middle of the week? What if for whatever reason people can not make it to the group for a while? You need to create some type of network up where people can tell others when they are struggling. You need to have people in place who know how they can step up and meet needs. Far too often I see churches set up in a way where only a limited number of people are actually in a position to have their needs heard and met. If you are not highly connected you may be left out on a limb. I also see a lot of situations where people do not know what to do once something happens. They do not know how to reach out. You need to remember that you are more than just a teacher of Adult Bible Study Curriculum. You need to be a trainer, mentor, and manager who builds a network that is ever ready to do ministry and meet needs.