I used to be–before I started writing Good Questions that Have Groups Talking.
I served for 11 years as a Minister of Education. In this role, I lead a group. Each week I wrote up a lesson that consisted of 20 or so questions that I would use in class to teach my group. The group grew and we needed to divide.
Big surprise–I really struggled to find teachers.
One of the guys I talked to about teaching made a suggestion. He said if I would continue to prepare my lesson as I was doing, he would take a class. He took the class, I continued writing lessons and all was well.
Now, this wouldn’t work for just anybody. For it to work, the teacher needs to have reasonable biblical background, spiritual maturity, and good people skills.
Before long other teachers heard about the lessons, and I started distributing them to the whole church.
People liked the lessons. Teachers like them because they saved them time. Students liked them because the classes were not boring lectures any more.
Everyone didn’t like them. The classic teacher-types were only mildly interested. They liked to study and read and dig it all out for themselves. My ready-to-use lessons saved them work that they didn’t want to be saved from. But a lot of others really liked them. And, here is the most important thing. A whole lot of people agreed to teach who would have NEVER taught without the lessons. I never struggled again to get adult teachers.
Teachers watched me teach using Good Questions and something inside them said, “I can do that. I can read 20 questions. I can lead a Bible Discussion Group.”
The church did well. In the 11 years I served as Minister of Education, it nearly tripled in size, going from one service and one Sunday School to four services and four Sunday Schools. Of course, the lessons were not the only reason. I served under three good pastors.
The party strategy helped. There were other contributing factors. Church Growth is nearly always holistic and complex. But every growing church needs to create new groups and the key to creating new groups is to get more leaders. Good questions made it easy for me to get new leaders. I can honestly say that from the time I started writing Good Questions I never struggled to recruit adult teachers. Never. Now, you don’t have to struggle either.
Here is one key to making it work: don’t just pass out the username and password you will receive with your order; print up and pass out the actual lessons. Lessons correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines, as well as the International Standard Series, and can be used along withcurriculum or as stand alone lessons.
Others heard about the lessons and I started mailing them out. But, with the cost and trouble of printing the lessons, putting them in an envelope, and putting a first class stamp on each one. . . it just didn’t work very well.
Then came the Internet.
I will never forget my brother telling me about the Internet. I knew immediately I had a distribution system for these lessons. Only one problem. The computer I had didn’t have enough hardware to get on the Internet. I remember asking my brother what I needed. “Just make sure you get a 28.8 baud modem (in contrast to 14.4). That is the speed of choice.” I bought an Acer desktop with 4 meg (that’s meg, not gig) of RAM. At $100 per meg of additional RAM, I maxed it out at 8 meg.
Within a few days, I had my first web page up and running with four lessons on the book of James. The rest, as they say, is history. I have been posting these lessons online since the days of 28.8 modems and they are all available to you. Four new lessons are added each week–corresponding with Lifeway’s outlines, plus the International Standard Series. The lessons can be used to supplement these other outlines, or as stand-alone lessons. There are lessons on every book of the Bible and a wide variety of topical studies.
It gets even better. About a year ago, I bought about $3000 worth of electronic commentaries, Bible dictionaries, illustration books, and trade publications. Now, instead of just providing questions, I also provide answers in the form of quotes from some of the best theological writings ever produced. In addition, I provide great stories and illustrations to make the lessons really come alive.
There is a sliding scale that makes these lesson affordable for any church.