Making a lesson stick

I start a lot of books. I occasionally finish one. Once in a while I read a book so good it is worth listening to as well as  reading, or reading twice. Made to Stick  was one of those books. If you are are looking for a great book to  use to train your teachers to teach more effectively, or simply want  to learn to communicate better yourself, consider Heath and Heath's  excellent book Made to Stick.

Up for a humbling little exercise? Ask your students next Sunday  if they remember anything about last week's lesson. Come to think of  it, do you remember anything about the lesson you  taught last week? If not, you might want to pick up a copy of  Made to Stick.

Applying the principles of this book to a Sunday School lesson is  a short trip. Here is a summary of what it takes to make a lesson  stick.

Simple lessons stick

We teach so little because we try to teach so much. Less is more.  Focus your lesson. Become the master of the one point lesson. Even  if you have three or four points, they should all revolve around one  point. On a good day you can distill this point into a pithy phrase  that you can repeat over and over.

I should be able to stop you before you walk into class and ask,  "What are you teaching on today?" and you should be able to say,  "Today I am teaching. . ."

I should be able to ask any one of your students after class,  "What did you talk about today?" and they should give me the same  answer.

Proverbs stay with us because they are short and sweet.  Simplicity simply sticks.

Unexpected lessons stick

When was the last time you were shocked in Sunday School? When  was the last time you were surprised? When was the last time you  wanted to raise your hand and disagree? When was the last time you  wanted to argue?

Sunday School classes are dying a death of predictability. Look at the  life of Jesus. His teaching was so unpredictable. He was so  unpredictable. Even now, after reading the Bible my whole life, I am  still sometimes surprised by His response.

The best way to teach is how you didn't teach last week. The best  method is one you have not used in a while. Great teachers keep  people coming back because they are curious about what is going to  happen.

Concrete lessons stick

"Friday nights for Jesus" is better than, "one night a week for  Jesus."

"Coffeecake, Diet Coke and table games," is better than,  "hospitality."

Concrete sticks.

I can still remember a sermon I heard in the fifth grade because  the preacher had a barrel behind the pulpit. At just the right  moment, he pulled it out and put it on a table beside the pulpit.  The sermon was on the widow in 1 Kings 17 that God provided for.  Concrete makes a lesson stick. 

Here is a goal. Bring something with you to class every week. A  ball, a bowl, a barrel. . . something. Use an object lesson. The  best communicators do because they know that concrete sticks. Make  liberal use of stuff that you can touch and feel.

Look at the teaching of Jesus and you find he made liberal use of  stuff that you can touch and feel. Study the prophets. They were  constantly doing stuff--weird stuff at times--to a make the lesson  stick.

Credible lessons stick

I use clips in my seminars from Andy Stanley and Bill Hybels,  partly because they have important things to say and say them well  and they fit, but also because they are Andy Stanley and Bill Hybels  and I am Josh Hunt. I am aware that I am not a household name. By  referencing well-known authorities, you make the message credible.

Quote the Bible. In addition, quote other well known  personalities. Back up your ideas with facts and research from  credible sources.

Emotional lessons stick

"Laugher and tears" is a pretty good formula for a good lesson.  This is the heart and soul of tmy 10 Marks of Incredible Teachers  talk. Incredible teachers move the heart. They don't just fill  heads; they move people emotionally. Make 'em laugh; make 'em cry.

Stories stick

Great teachers have great stories. Consider Jesus: "He was never without a story when he spoke. When he was  alone with his disciples, he went over everything, sorting out the  tangles, untying the knots."

Mark 4:34 [Msg]


Well, I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Not a bad idea  to spend an hour talking about this in staff meeting. Share your insights at