The YOU Sunday school resource is unique at so many levels. It delivers sound, biblical lessons that reaches learners where they live. Its compact design translates into a convenient, uniform tool packed with teaching and learning features. The YOU curriculum equips leaders to boldly teach the written text of the Bible for maximum learning that results in transformed lives.
Before You Teach
There are certain preparational steps that should be embraced before teaching a YOU Sunday school lesson or any Bible study resource for that matter. Most anyone can open a book, read it to the class, and ask a few questions. But consider the outcome of this level of teaching. Learners may benefit spiritually but not in the manner in which our God commands us to grow. Teaching the Bible requires the transference of knowledge from hearts impacted by what is taught. To achieve this standard of teaching focus on the following.
- Begin with the understanding that the Bible is not an ordinary book. Your attitude toward God’s Word matters. Understand there is no other printed material like the Bible. Include this as a teaching principle: God’s Word is His message to His people. God, Himself, inspired it (2 Tim. 3:16). That means the anointing of the Holy Spirit rests on God’s Word, revealing the power of God. Knowledge of God’s Word can result in power. There is no other printed resource for which this claim can be made.
- Nurture your own relationship with God. In other words, don’t teach what you have not experienced. God wants to have a relationship with you, so you can teach from your personal walk with God. How can you teach a lesson on love, if you don’t understand God’s unfailing love and what that means for you and others?
- Teach for the transformation of your learners. The most important goal in teaching the Bible should be to change the lives of those you teach. What a difference it would make if your learners became a part of the chain of disciples that extends from Christ to His disciples, from Christ’s disciples to their disciples, from those disciples to disciples through history, and finally to the disciples you are developing in your class. Jesus said, “Go, therefore, and make disciples” (Matt 28: 19). Disciple-making is helping learners become increasingly holy through their obedience to God so they can fulfil God’s specific plan for their lives.
- Seek the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Teaching the Word of God cannot be done as presented in the first three points without the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, teachers need divine communion through prayer with the living God about whom they teach. Your prayers would include an invitation to the Holy Spirit so that He may be the powerful Influencer in the lives of your learners.
Utilize the Features of YOU
Now you are ready to teach. The features in the YOU resource include:
- The Point: The point is the target you want your teaching to hit. When learners walk away from a particular lesson the point will be the concept in their minds. Refer to it often by incorporating it in various spots in the teaching plan.
- Key Words: These words provide a deeper meaning to biblical words or phrases. When reading the Scripture text use key words to clarify the context or identify historical elements of the lesson.
- Lesson Question: If the lesson were car, then the lesson question would be the driver. This question is found at the top of the page that follows the Scripture page. Of course, the content of the lesson provides the answer to the lesson question. But note the three (sometimes two) subpoints will direct that understanding by answering the question. This is what drives learners to the point of the lesson.
- Teaching Plan: The teaching plan brings it all together. It has been developed to help you teach the best possible lesson. Follow the plan step-by-step or customize it to address the specific needs of your learners or to highlight your teaching style. Features like “Did You Know?;” “Digging Deeper,” and the “Object Lesson” have been inserted strategically throughout the plan. The teaching plan also includes suggestions for using Pack Items from the Leader Pack.
- Commentary: This resource is included with each teaching plan and provides additional biblical and historical content for deeper understanding and insight into the scriptural text. Other commentaries that support YOU lessons include Advanced Bible Study Commentary and Herschel Hobbs Commentary.
Make the YOU lesson memorable by providing a powerful ending. Begin the ending by repeating the Point, the Lesson Question, and the two or three subpoints. Use “Live It” to provide a challenging application. Often times the teaching plan will close with a summary that helps to make the lesson stick. This also may be the time to share a personal note on how the lesson has impacted your life. A personal testimony always reaches the heart.
Christina Zimmerman is Content Editor for the YOU curriculum and is part of the Black Church Ministries team at Lifeway Christian Resources.