4 Simple Ways to Enhance Your Sunday School Lesson
Studying and teaching the Bible is hard work. It is physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually draining, but as a believer it is the most rewarding thing you can do. The Bible moves us emotionally, challenges us mentally, engages us spiritually, and to study it you must physically find the time to do it. So for those of us who teach the Bible regularly in church, we often pour everything we have into studying the passage we are teaching and preparing a lesson for our people on Sunday morning.
So the center piece of your Sunday school lesson every week should always be the word of God. But there are some things we can use to help enhance our teaching of God's word. Here are 4 things you might consider incorporating into your lesson. These are meant to be enhancements and not intended to replace explanation of or discussion of the biblical text.
The longer I study the Bible and the more I teach it the more I find that sometimes (actually quite often) others say things better than I can. So don't be hesitant to use a quote from a book, commentary, or online article you may be reading for your lesson. As long as the quote is relevant to the topic and helps clarify what you are trying to say, then use it. Some of my favorite sayings and quotes come from the early reformers of the 15th and 16th century. After all, these men and women dedicated their lives to studying, interpreting, and teaching/preaching God's word. There is a vast wealth of wisdom to be learned from them, and sometimes quoting them during a lesson can be very enlightening for our people. Of course in order to access quotes you have read them. That's why reading is key to teaching. Reading as much as you can gives you access to information often can't come up with on your own.
2. Hymns or Songs
Again, as it is relevant to the topic of the lesson, I often will quote a hymn of song in a lesson. Older hymns especially because they usually have a great story behind them. The writer is speaking from experience. So the words of that hymn or song not only can add clarification to a lesson, but can also speak to the heart of your hearers and teach them something deep and moving about the Lord. And if you are brave enough, lead your class in singing the hymn or song. Stopping and adding a moment of praise to the Lord during a lesson is never a bad thing.
3. Personal Anecdotes
A personal story adds an intimate touch to a lesson. God gave you your story for a reason, so sometimes it is good to share parts of it when you teach. Application of a biblical text is vital to any lesson, so if you can specifically speak as to how scripture has been applied in your life by all means do so. Too often people are afraid to open themselves up and become vulnerable enough to share stories from their life. But I know from experience that there is not much that can bring a group closer in fellowship with one another than being genuine and open with each other. You can lead the way in doing this by sharing parts of your story when teaching. But beware, your story can never supersede God's. The Bible drives the lesson, but your story can enhance it greatly.
It's not just your story that can enhance a lesson. I'm sure there are others in your classroom who would be willing to share parts of their story if asked. It's amazing to hear what people have experience and what God has brought them through. Having members of your class share their testimonies can not only enhance a lesson, but it aids in the unity and closeness of the group. So let others share their story. The more you as a leader get to know your people and the more your people get to know each other the more people will be willing to share their stories.
I hope these help. Try one of these in your lesson this week and see if it makes a difference. I hope and pray that it does.