By Michael C. Mack
The “Preach Better Sermons” online conference webcast in April by Preaching Rocket (the rocketcompany.com), featured some of the best preachers and presenters around and provided great insights into preaching. The wisdom shared can also be applied to facilitating better Bible studies. Here are five practical tips:
Andy Stanley spoke of how he deliberately creates tension in the beginning of his message to get people to say, “Tell me the answer to that question or problem.” You can do the same as you lead your group. Boil down your main lesson idea into one tension-building question that your study and discussion will eventually answer. Make it as personal as possible, and you’ll draw people into dynamic discussion.
2. Be the real deal.
Teachers who make an impact on their audiences don’t take themselves too seriously, said Jeff Foxworthy. People relate to speakers and leaders who are authentic and open with their lives. Don’t hide your struggles and hurts, but be transparent at a level that is appropriate to your group.
3. Be humble.
“You cannot be thinking about yourself and make an impact on someone else,” said Charles Stanley. Focus on what your group members need in order to grow, not on how well you present the lesson or on sharing your own thoughts or ideas.
4. Lead with the end in mind.
Venable Moody calls this tactic “behavioral preaching,” and contends that Jesus was a behavioral preacher. Lead your study with the end in mind. It’s not enough to lead a great meeting. Ask yourself, What behaviors do we want to see because of this discussion? What changes in behaviors do we want to occur?
5. Make it practical.
Moody also encouraged preachers to give people a vehicle to do what they are teaching them to do. Provide a very specific opportunity for group members to live out what you are discussing. Move the conversation from people’s heads to their hearts, and then to their hands. Get your group out of their chairs or couches and into real-life ministry to one another and others outside your group.
Michael Mack leads church training events and consults with churches through his ministry, Small Group Leadership (www.smallgroupleadership.com). You can e-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.