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
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
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
Concrete lessons stick
"Friday nights for Jesus" is better than, "one night a week for
"Coffeecake, Diet Coke and table games," is better than,
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
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
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.
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