There has never been a better time to be a Bible Teacher than today. This is true on several levels. For one thing, we have incredible tools at our fingertips that make Bible Study so much easier. Word studies that used to require Greek training, expensive books, and lots of time can be done with a few clicks on an IPhone—assuming you have the Logos app.
I want to focus in this short chapter on how technology helps us to prepare people for learning. (In another chapter, we will focus on how it helps us to shepherd the group.)
Why do people need to be prepared for learning? Howard Hendricks put it this way:
The Law of Readiness is this: The teaching-learning process will be most effective when both student and teacher are adequately prepared. It highlights one of the great problems for teachers: Their students come to class cold.5
Do your students come in cold, or do they come in ready to learn—eager to discuss the topic of the day? Here is some good news: the Internet can help.
It could be as simple as an email asking them a question or making a request.
- This week we will be studying worry. Do a little Googling around to see what scientists have found about the destructive cost of worry.
- I am really excited about this week’s lesson. (You are, aren’t you?) We will be looking at the story of when Israel conquered Jericho. See what you can find about what archeology has discovered on Jericho.
- Check out this video on the tomb of Lazarus. http//www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_n6RKhWqs4 Did you know it was still there?
- Ask a friend what he thinks it takes to go to heaven when you die.
- Who can bring snacks this week?
- Be in prayer for Bob and Tina this week. Bob’s dad is in the hospital.
Just letting your group know you are excited about what you are learning and are eager to share can create a sense of excitement and anticipation. Obviously, you only want to do this sincerely.
It is a common thing for me to get really fired up when studying the Bible. You probably feel this way at times as well. Not a bad idea to fire off a quick email to your group letting them know of your excitement.
Sometimes the world tosses you a bone. Think back when Rob Bell released his controversial book, Love Wins. Nothing will stimulate learning like a little controversy. You might send out some excerpts and say you will be discussing this on Sunday.
The Shack was another book that grabbed our attention recently. It is also a good example of a book with some controversy. Stir up the controversy by saying you will be arguing about this on Sunday.
Sometimes, you will want to email individuals. Perhaps you have some readers in your group. If you are doing a study of Moses, you might ask them to read along in Chuck Swindoll’s excellent book by the same title.
A lot of people receive four forms of communication on the same device: email, text, Twitter posts, and Facebook updates. You might take advantage of all four. A simple text that says: “Fired up about this week’s lesson on forgiveness. You don’t want to miss it!” could really boost learning readiness.
You might want to start a discussion on your group’s Facebook group. You do have Facebook group, don’t you? If not, they are free and easy to set up. Get your group talking on Facebook outside of class and see if it doesn’t impact your discussion inside of class.
Sometimes you will want to call someone—perhaps your teacher in training. Every group should have a teacher in training who substitutes on a regular basis. Call him up and ask him to do a little research on part of the lesson you will be discussing. Have him teach part of the lesson based on his research.
Sometimes you want to have a face-to-face meeting. Here is a rule of thumb: every teacher should share a meal with every person in his/her class at least once a year. Tonight we will be going out to dinner with a couple from our Tuesday night group. Group time will always be richer because of it.
One more approach. Email your group and ask them to bring something to class. We did this at a fellowship for my home group. People brought little pieces of memorabilia that revealed something of themselves. It was a touching moment.
Class doesn’t begin when class begins. Keep up with people during the week. Use email. Use Facebook. Use Twitter. Text. Connect. Keep up. Assign. This is life together. It has never been easier.
Josh Hunt, The Effective Bible Teacher, 2013.