Archives For teaching

When talking with people about what is “church” I often hear someone say, “But hey, the Bible says ‘where two are gathered in Jesus’ name, I am with you.’ People will often use this phrase to describe how a small group is a church. Yet, the context of that passage has nothing to do with what a church is or what a church does. In Matt 18:19-20 the context is correcting another believer and prayer, not what is or is not a church.

What is the Church

Photo Credit: Peter’s First Preaching (The Bible and Its Story, vol 10)

With that said, let’s look at what the church actually is. From my understanding of the Bible there are seven key elements of a church.


First, the church is commanded to go into all nations and make disciples. Continue Reading…

While preparing an outline, workbook, and PowerPoint slides for a workshop this month for the Center for Nonprofit Management I have been reminded about the four things I know about effective teaching.

3 Things I Know About Effective Teaching

Photo Credit: Learning Executive

1. A teacher’s methods of teaching are only as good as his preparation.

Continue Reading…

A couple of months ago I watched the movie Dead Poets Society which is filled with lessons about teaching.

7 Lessons I Learned about Teaching from the Dead Poets Society

 Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures

7 Lessons I Learned about Teaching from Dead Poets Society

1. John Keating (lovingly referred to as “Captain” by his students) was slightly obscure. He was always whistling to himself, walking in and out of the classroom at random times, and playing games with the students. In the beginning of the movie, it was clear that Captain did not fit the mold of the other straight-faced and curriculum-focused teachers. This contrast in teaching styles was clearest at the end of the movie when the principal of the school assumed Captain’s class and told the class to turn to the introduction of their textbook. The principal did not know that Captain had told his students to rip out the introduction. Furthermore, Captain had referred to the introduction of the book as “excrement” while the principal referred to the same essay as exceptional and profound. Continue Reading…

In 2009 I endeavored my first attempt teaching a Bible study. It was for a men’s Bible study consisting of myself and three other men of various ages. I began leading us through the book of Nehemiah and then we spent half of a year looking at the fifteen years of David’s life before he became king.

Practices for Effective Bible Study and Teaching

Photo Credit: Mattea Photography

This experience teaching the Bible showed me two things:

  1. I loved teaching the Bible.
  2. I had to improve my ability to study and teach the Bible.

Recently I read the book, The Christian Educator’s Handbook on Teaching. It was a great book which outlined ten tips that can help you study and teach the Bible better.

1. Be a diligent Bible student (pp. 269-272).
Every teacher should carefully study the Bible because the Bible helps the teacher grow spiritually, it guides him, guards him against sin, and encourages the teacher to move toward spiritual maturity. Continue Reading…

I recently read the book, Teaching to Change Lives: Seven Proven Ways to Make Your Teaching Come Alive by Dr. Howard Hendricks.

 10 Imperatives When Teaching to Change Lives

Photo Credit: Thomas Galvez

In today’s post I share 10 of the most important principles Dr. Hendricks shares in his book as they relate to teaching to change lives.

  1. “If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow” (p. 17). Continue Reading…

To lead people well you must help them learn along the way. As a leader, you are responsible to always be growing and to assist your team in their growth too.

Meaningful Learning and Schema Theory in Communication

Photo Credit: CollegeDegrees360

While reading the book, The Psychology of Learning for Instruction, author Marcy Driscoll provides three tips for leaders to help them teach their team. (This is in the context of you–the leader–being the person who is communicating the teaching material.) Continue Reading…

Leaders are teachers. Teaching is how leaders equip their team and prepare them for the work that needs to be done.

3 Ways to Use Gagne's Theory of Instruction for Better Teaching

Flickr Photo Credit: mcholdnicki

However, teaching most be done often and it must be done correctly. While reading the book, Psychology of Learning for Instruction, I learned about Gagne’s Theory for Instruction. It has three lessons leaders can learn for better teaching. Continue Reading…

Teaching Bible studies for Church Assistance Ministry (CAM) is showing me the importance of working hard to prepare lessons a significant amount of time before I teach them.

I have learned that when I work hard to prepare a lesson a few days before I teach it, I often retain less of what I have studied and prepared. Additionally, I also have noticed that the message is not known as well inside of me. It is as if the message is still moving inside of me and that it is still in my head, not in my heart.

However, when I have worked hard to prepare for lessons and completed my outline and handouts a week in advance, I have noticed I often deliver the lesson better. I believe this is because the message has had time to sit inside of me and become who I am. The message is no longer a set of notes that I am reading from or a story I am attempting to retell. Instead, the message is something that is now part of who I am and something I am passionate to tell.

One thing I am learning as part of my internship with Church Assistance Ministry (CAM) is how I study and exegete the Bible best.

I have learned through my work that I need to study the Bible in small chunks of time over many days. As I prepare to teach at church in July, study between 30 minutes and two hours at a time. This is the best way for me to prepare because it allows me to think about the text a little bit at a time and then something else while my subconscious continues to work on the text. Then when I come back to the text a day or two later, I often have new ideas and thoughts that I can write down and work through. This allows me to work on those thoughts and try to get them on paper in a form that can be beneficial to others.

I am hoping to stick to this process so that it helps me do the best job I can to teach the Bible to others.

Question: What prepares you best to teach?

During a ministry class I was taking last year we had a guest speaker, Dr. Paul Binion, who talked about preaching and teaching.


The two parts I find very helpful from Dr. Paul Binion’s talk are when he shared with us about preparing his outlines every quarter and the importance of teaching the “so what?” at the end of his messages. Even if you do not preach in a church, these two elements are very important to any leader who communicates on a regular basis.

Dr. Binion shared how he takes a week every quarter and travels out of town to outline what he wants to preach about every Sunday for the next quarter. This helps him schedule what he wants to share and when he wants to preach about it. In the Nelson Minister’s Manual there are 28 different days (pg 201-207) that help to orient a faith community together. These are 28 opportunities that a pastor can utilize when looking to teach a congregation. When a church body interacts with each other and lives as a community it is important that they share these significant faith events together. Just as a faith community shares a common belief in Jesus, these significant events relating to their faith help to draw them together and to build their faith. I am sure Dr. Binion’s practice of preparing his outlines every quarter allows him to think through many of the important events of the year and to adequately prepare for his sermons for them. Because his church denomination (the Church of God) does not give him specific passages of scripture to teach through the year he has the freedom to choose the passages and scriptures to teach through what he desires and feels is important to his congregation.

In addition to Dr. Binion’s preparation of his sermons, he also gave us some great insight about how to effectively close a sermon. I am intrigued by Dr. Binion’s statement towards the end of his talk to our class about the “so what?” in the sermon. From what Dr. Binion expressed to us, you can go through great exegetical work and hermeneutics, but towards the end of your sermon you need to come to the “so what?” point. The “so what?” point is where you show why what you have taught is important and relevant to their lives. As pastors we need to share with the people the “so what?” point by telling them that this topic, lesson, or principle is important because it can change their life, improve their family, help them share their faith with others, etc. I find Dr. Binion’s “so what?” concept very similar to a benediction the Nelson Minister’s Manual gives us to speak at the end of a message. That benediction eloquently states, “Now may the Lord use us this week to extend and strengthen His kingdom for Christ and His glory, in Jesus’ name, Amen” (pg 198). Isn’t that the goal with teaching and preaching, to equip people with what they need to strengthen the body of Christ and help them to share it with others?

Interacting with Dr. Binion’s talk and the Nelson Minister’s Manual has been very beneficial to me and provides great insight into what I need to do to be successful as a communicator. Going forward I will be sure to set aside time to outline my thoughts well before I need to teach them and I will think about the “so what?” point of my messages.