The #1 predictor
of the growth of any class is the teaching ability of the teacher.
Incredible teachers have fast-growing classes. Good teachers have
slow-growing classes. Mediocre teachers have plateaued classes. Poor
teachers have declining classes. Nothing affects sales like the
quality of the product.
IPODs don't sell because of marketing or salesmanship. They
sell because they are cool. They work. Customers like them. They are
a quality product. People like to hear quality teaching. The better
the teaching the more likely the growth. The #1 predictor of the
growth of any class is the teaching ability of the teacher.
Begin with the end in mind
Stephen Covey taught us to begin with the end
in mind. Good teaching starts this way. It begins with defining what
we are to create. In the book (also seminar and video series) I
define what we are trying to create using a nine-part definition
spelling out the word DISCIPLES.
D - Disciplined in daily life.
By this I mean, we are trying to create people
who have 300 quiet times a year. That is, on a normal day they spend
time in the Word and in prayer.
I - Intimate friendships
We want people with a close relationship with
God, but, we also want people with a close relationship with each
S - Self-image
We want people to see themselves as God sees
them: saints, soldiers, the beloved, the vine, and so forth.
C - Corporate worship
The key word here is worship. We want to
create people who love the Lord their God with all their heart,
soul, mind and strength and communicate that love in worship. We
want people to have a stack of worship CDs at home and regularly
spend time adoring God.
I - Intimate family life
Bill Hybels says, "We only want three things
from our people, 'More, more, more.'" More time. More meetings. More
evenings. More. More. More. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you
can do is to throw a ball in the backyard with your kid or take your
wife out on a date night.
P - Passion for God
We want to create people who not only believe
right and behave right, we want to create people who feel right. One
of the things we want them to feel is passion. We want them to be
obedient to the command of God to, "Never be lacking in zeal."
Romans 12.11. The problem with the church today is at this point. We
believe right. We behave OK. But, many of us are about half bored
with this thing called Christianity. Show me a people who are
passionate about their God and I will show you a people who are
turning their world upsidedown.
L - Lay Ministry
By this we mean two things: we want them to
know their spiritual gift and be ministering in the area of their
giftedness. The second is of greater importance.
E - Evangelistic Interest
Regardless of style, we want to create people
who pray for, care about, think about the lost. The closer we get to
God, the more we find a God who is focused in on the lost sheep.
Some people think they are getting closer to God because they attend
church and do churchy things but their heart is not getting more and
more like the heart of God.
S - Sacrificial Giving
Generosity is core to what it means to be a
fully developed follower of Christ.
What has to happen inside the student inside
class to create D.I.S.C.I.P.L.E.S.?
Evaluate your students based on the list
above. Disciplemaking Teaching is not about making a flashy
presentation so much as it is about creating a certain kind of
Next question: what has to happen inside the
student inside class to create that kind of person? Here is my list.
We must get and keep their attention.
The #1 problem in the average American Sunday
School is boredom. Research shows if you were to take all the people
who sleep in church and lay them out, end to end, they would all be
a whole lot more comfortable.
The truth must become truth that matters
They must see specifically how this truth
relates to their Monday morning.
He must see the benefits of changing and the
cost of not changing.
This is the heart of the disciplemaking
process. In the long run, people will do what they believe to be in
their best interest. It is always in our best interest, in the long
run, to do what the Bible requires. The Bible says, "His commands
are not burdensome." And, in Deut. 30:15 we are given two choices,
life and death: "See, I set before you today life and prosperity,
death and destruction." [NIV] If you want life follow God. If
you don't, don't.
People fail to live the Christian life because
they don't believe it is in their best interest to do so. And, as
long as they believe it is not really in their best interest to live
the Christian life, they won't do it, not over the long haul.
There is a world of difference between having
a quite time because I ought to or I should and coming to understand
what they hymn writer had in mind when he wrote the words, "Sweet
hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer."
Two questions you can ask every week are,
"What are the benefits of______________ [whatever this week's topic
is]." and "What will it cost me if I don't ________________ [beat
worry; attend church, have a quite time, be faithful to my wife,
He must be held accountable
We have to be careful about this in Sunday
School because we want Sunday School to be an open "101" style
group. We don't want newcomers to feel intimidated. But, we can do
accountability in such a way that does not run off new- comers. And,
most people need accountability if they are going to be be
consistent in their time with God.
What does the teacher do in class to create
There are several ways you can teach adults,
but the best way is through the use of questions. Questions make
class interesting. Questions get everyone involved. Questions create
life change. Questions uncover areas that need more teaching.
Questions are the best way to teach adults.
I believe in the Question and Answer approach
so much that I write two lessons a week based on the question and
answer approach. Each lesson consists of 20 - 30 ready-to-use
questions. They are based on Lifeway's Explore the Bible and Family
Bible Series. I have been doing this for years and for a low monthly
subscription, you can have access to all of them. For details, see
How does the teacher do preparation that
Start Sunday night by reading over the next
week's passage and praying, "God, what would you have me to present
to your people from this passage next Sunday?"
If you really want to be an incredible
teacher, look two or three weeks ahead. Let it simmer. Think about
it. Pray about it. Talk about it. Let the truth flow through your
Doubling classes starts with Disciplemaking
Teachers. For more information, consider these four resources:
Disciplemaking Teachers, the book
Disciplemaking Teachers, the video series
Teachers, the seminar
The Lesson Vault
We recently had the privilege of hosting Josh Hunt for our mid
winter Sunday Morning Bible Study leadership conference. The
emphasis on investing and building relationships is the key to
reaching our society today. Fellowship is premium in a world where
we face an epidemic of loneliness. People are looking for more than
a "friendly" church. They want a place where they can grow and
develop lasting relationships that will assist them in building a
biblical foundation for life. If you have not had the opportunity to
have Josh Hunt in your church or attend one of his conferences, make
plans to involve your leadership. His concepts will make a
difference in your thinking about how simple it really is to reach
out to people.
Charles F. Stanley
Senior Pastor First Baptist Church Atlanta
Hundreds of ready-to-use lessons available online.
For more information, click here.