Setting the Scene
The primary goals of this small group teachers training time are:
1) To encourage you to grow in your teaching role by seeing the seriousness and privilege of the task.
2) To help you understand the essential principles of teaching and your role as a small group teacher.
3) To equip you to teach and facilitate through God’s word in a small group setting.
4) To prepare you to assess the spiritual needs of your small group
5) To provide you with some steps for preparing an effective Bible Study
6) To give you some practical application for leading a small group Bible study.
Starting with the Teacher:
I. Answering some Questions:
1. What us your goal as a teacher? Write a short paragraph describing in your own words the goal of teaching.
2. How do you see your small teaching and instruction fitting into each aspect of Hickman Community Churches Mission Statement? - Explain below alongside each element of HCC’s mission statement:
a. Glorifying God:
b. Loving Submission to Jesus Christ
c. Preaching Holy Scripture
d. Living lives dependent on Prayer
e. Multiplying through Evangelism
3. What do you find most challenging in your role as a teacher?
4. What potential personal issues do you face as a teacher and how can you overcome these?
5. What primary group issues do you face and how do you see these being resolved?
II. KNOW WHAT IS AT THE HEART OF AN EFFECTIVE TEACHER
God loves His people and He will work through His chosen shepherds to take care of them. At the core of any small group is God’s heart towards people. We need to recognize the great privilege and responsibility God has given us. We need to take our job seriously recognizing we are dealing with souls. This should be a joy to our hearts as we depend upon the Lord to work through us.
o The Shepherding Heart of God
o Jesus is our shepherd and He is the example of the perfect shepherd.
o As under–shepherds we are to follow His example, seeking to care for people as He does. We do not in any way replace Christ as Shepherd in people’s lives; rather in our shepherding we seek to direct people to Christ. This is why leadership is so important in small groups!
“The more a leader invests his life in people, the more effective that person will be in the Lord’s service.” –John MacArthur, The Book on Leadership
“People, not programs, were on Paul’s mind as he came to the end of his life. People are the most vital resource any leader can cultivate.” –John MacArthur, The Book on Leadership
1. The Shepherd Watches Over His Sheep
• Hebrews 13:17
–Context of overseers
–The shepherd watches over the souls of God’s people
–The shepherd will have to give an account before the Lord.
• Ezekiel 34:6,12, 13 (Note the context of this passage in Ezekiel 34)
–The shepherd knows where his sheep are.
–The shepherd knows the status of his sheep.
“He watches that his sheep do not wander away. He watches to make sure that they get everything they need to eat and drink. He watches the weather in case they will need shelter. He watches for enemies to prevent any attack. Shepherding involves constant watchfulness. Otherwise, the sheep get lost or hurt.” –Philip Ryken, City on a Hill
–Get to know the people in your small group.
–Know how they spend their time, who they spend their time with.
–Pay attention to what is going on in their lives.
–Watch how they respond to different situations.
o Note: Your job is not to become the spiritual policeman of their lives. The goal is to learn how to best love and care for them. Often, they will not even be aware that you are paying attention.
2. The Shepherd Guides His Sheep
• Psalms 23:2–3
–The shepherd guides them to green pastures and quiet waters.
–The shepherd makes his sheep rest.
• Ezekiel 34:12, 13, 16
–The shepherd brings the sheep back to safe land.
• Ezekiel 34:15
–The shepherd leads his sheep.
• I Corinthians 4:16; 11:1
–The shepherd is a model.
–Your people will learn from your example
–Have vision for your small group and for the individuals in your small group
–Take them there—don’t just tell them where to go. For example: Show them how to study the Bible, how to pray, evangelism, service, etc.
3. The Shepherd Protects His Sheep
• Psalms 23:3–4
–The shepherd is near is sheep
–The shepherd brings comfort to his sheep
• Ezekiel 34:12
–The shepherd gets his sheep out of troubled places
–Know the enemies and dangers in your people’s lives: Doctrine, friends, temptations, school, work, events, money, etc.
–Protect them from wolves
–Teach them to be rooted in the truth
4. The Shepherd Feeds His Sheep
• Psalm 23:1–2
• Ezekiel 34:14
–Give them food they can eat
–Feed them with the truth of God’s Word—take them to the Lord for spiritual nourishment.
5. The Shepherd Loves His Sheep
• Psalm 23 (context of entire psalm)
–The shepherd has a relationship with his sheep
• John 10:15
• 1 John 4:9
• John 15:13
–Love is our motivation in shepherding. If we do not have love, we have missed the heart of God in shepherding.
–Tell your people you love them.
–Find ways to express care for them.
Take this Job Seriously! God loves his people and has entrusted them to your care as an
o Hebrews 13:17
–You keep watch over souls
–You will give an account for your leadership
It is only as a spiritual leader depends upon God that he is empowered to be a tool in God’s hand. Apart from Christ we can bear no fruit!
III. KNOW THE PRIORITIES THAT MAKE AN EFFECTIVE TEACHER
We need to study the Life of our Lord to see how he developed people.
a. All students of Scripture must ask a central question of how God launched the church.
b. God could have done anything so why did he do what he did?
c. The Gospels show us he established a pattern with the disciples.
The Training of the Twelve by A. B. Bruce, draws out some profound implications for all teachers from the way Jesus trained the Twelve.
1. Jesus emphasized quality not quantity.
a. Jesus ministered mostly to the few, not to the multitudes.
b. Jesus built qualitatively into a few faithful men.
c. The test of your ministry is not how many but what kind of people.
2. Jesus employed the principle of multiplication, not addition.
a. There is such a thing as spiritual mathematics.
b. Jesus conceived of each man as a center of a reproducing ministry.
c. Paul expresses this Christological expression. (2 Timothy 2:2)
3. Jesus employed the principle of priority, not pressure.
a. Time management is crucial.
b. The one difference between people is how we use time.
c. We don’t have equal gifts but we have equal time.
d. Jesus went about doing good, but we often just go about, accomplishing little.
e. Jesus had three and a half years to launch a world-wide ministry but he was never under pressure.
f. The men Jesus built into turned the world upside down.
4. Jesus operated on the basis of potential, not problems.
a. Seeing people as problems instead of potential will determine how we respond to them.
b. We all work with unimpressive people, as even Jesus did.
i. Peter had foot-in-mouth disease.
ii. James and John was ready to bring fire down from heaven
iii. Thomas doubted almost everything.
iv. Philip and Andrew may have been a little slow on the uptake yet they are the ones that led people to people.
f. God’s criteria for election is not based on some profound quality. (1 Corinthians 1- simply call on the name of the Lord)
g. God chose us not on the basis of what we are but on the basis of what we are to become. How do you select people to work with?
h. Each person Jesus chose became a ministry to others.
IV. KNOW THE ESSENTIAL LAWS OF A TEACHER
The Seven Laws of the Teacher
Developed from the Seven Laws of Teaching, John Milton Gregory (Baker Book House, reprint, 1993), and Excellence in Teaching With the Seven Laws, Carl Shafer (Baker Book House, 1985).
1. The Law of the Teacher: If you stop growing/learning today, you stop teaching tomorrow. The bottom line here is that you must know what you are teaching
2. The Law of Education: The way people learn determines how you teach. Everybody has a way that they like to learn. But there are common principles
3. The Law of Activity: Maximum learning is always the result of maximum involvement.
4. The Law of Communication: To truly impart information requires the building of bridges.
5. The Law of the Heart: Teaching that impacts is not head to head, but heart to heart.
6. The Law of Encouragement: Teaching tends to be most effective when the learner is properly motivated.
7. The Law of Readiness: The teaching-learning process will be most effective when both student and teacher are adequately prepared.
Source: Hendricks, Howard G. The 7 Laws of the Teacher: Applied Principles of Learning. Atlanta, GA: WTBM, Inc., 1987.
Preparing a Bible Study Discussion
One of the most difficult aspects of leading a small group is knowing what and how to teach the truth that you have studied in God’s Word. It is one thing to understand the truth in your own mind and heart, but it is much more difficult to clearly communicate that truth to others in a discussion format. You can be a great student of the Word and have incredible notes, but if you can not communicate the ideas to those in your group then you can not effectively shepherd them.
Developing a Lesson Plan:
Formulating a lesson plan is just a formal way of knowing what you are going to say before you get to the group. Different people will do this in different ways and ultimately you will need to find what works best for you. Some people need to write everything out and early in the process I encourage you to do this. Others can do the majority of the work in their head. Neither is better nor worse. It simply depends on what you need to do in order to be an effective facilitator of God’s Word. Forming a lesson plan will take time, but the reward of being able to lead a good Biblical discussion and watching people learn and wrestle with the Word of God is worth the effort and even more important, it is honoring to the Lord.
Steps I would use to prepare a small group Bible study…
1. Read the text in its context – e.g. read through the book and chapter
2. Translate the text from the original – based on verb parsing and word studies
3. Diagram the text (words, clauses, and sentences)
4. Do the exegesis – (Lexical, syntactical, summary statements)
5. Form the preaching proposition (1 Sentence) – if there is no proposition there is no sermon.
6. Make an outline that will explain the proposition.
7. Illustrate and apply the truth – every point needs an illustration
8. Work on introduction, conclusion (strive in conclusion to stick the sermon to the heart) and title.
9. Form a written manuscript (2-3hrs) – That is, take the outline and preach it. The manuscript’s transitions should be so clear that they show the outline.
Before you Begin…
· Review your exegesis
–“Exegesis is the explication of what the text says, not what we wish the text to say. Exegesis starts with the text and views it within its syntactical, lexical, literary, historical, social/cultural, geographical, and theological contexts. it is interpreting the information. Anyone with a photocopy machine, scissors, and rubber cement can copy, cut, arrange, and paste quotations from sources and references in the form of a research paper. It takes an exegete to examine, evaluate, assimilate, and interact with the data in a coherent interpretative narrative employing only the most pertinent citations.” (Barrick - OT603)
–It is assumed that you have already spent time studying the passage or topic before you come to developing a lesson plan.
1. What to Teach
o Teach What the Word Says
We have no authority or truth in any of our own ideas, therefore we need to allow the Word to speak for itself. What we teach should be founded solely upon the truth of the Bible.
• Teaching the Text
• Teaching Topically
Note: Interpretation must come before Application!
—We must understand what the Bible says before we can apply it.
2. Develop a Lesson Plan
o What is a Lesson Plan?
Your lesson plan should take you from where you are starting to where you will finish. It should include everything from how you are going to teach the text, what points you are going to emphasize, and what questions you are going to ask to facilitate biblical discussion.
o Why write a Lesson Plan?
So that you can evaluate the material you will communicate and also evaluate what you achieved.
3. Writing a Lesson Plan
a) Get them interested in the text.
–Answer the “why” question. Why is this text/truth so important for us!
b) Read the text
c) Make observations/questions
d) Application from the week before
e) How does last week fit into this week
Note: You are not preaching a sermon to them, so your introduction does not need to be elaborate or some fancy illustration. The goal of the introduction is to help focus their minds on the biblical text and why it is important that their hearts and minds become engaged in what God’s Word has to say.
B) Set the Context:
a) What is the context of the passage?
b) How does this fit into the context of the book?
C) Establish the Main Idea of the Passage
—What is the authorial intent of the passage?
D) How are you going to work through the passage?
a) Decide how you are going to approach your discussion
If using one passage of Scripture, are you going to…
–Go verse by verse
–Take a general overview
–Deal with the main points
–Hit some key issues
If teaching topically
–What Scripture are you going to use?
–How are you going to build your argument?
Note: You can’t tackle everything!
b) Decide when to teach and when to ask questions
c) Develop questions to ask
–Questions need to be thought through ahead of time
–Look for specific answers
–What follow–up questions will you ask?
Note: It is significant to plan beforehand for two reasons:
i) You will know what you are going to say.
ii) You will be able to listen to what others say.
d) Think through your transition Points
–How are you going to work from one idea to the next?
e) What specific details are you going to give?
f) When will you bring in application?
–The end of your time
–Throughout the Bible study
g) Analogies, examples, illustrations
–Use selectively and when appropriate
–Know your audience
Some things you have to teach, but ultimately, you want to facilitate discussion. Help them to think through what the Scripture is saying. Help them to see answers in the text. Make them think!
a) Focus on one to three main points. Don’t overwhelm them.
b) Be sensitive to issues that come up in the course of your discussion.
c) Be transparent to share what you have learned. It is a good model for them to see the Word transform your life. At the same time, don’t make it a “mini me” show sharing everything you have learned. Share what is appropriate and helpful.
d) Be genuine
e) Challenge mind and heart
f) Get practical
–Daily life implementation
–Goals that can be set
g) Trust the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives
–Wrap up main points, review application, and introduce next week.
–Give assignment (if applicable)
Sometimes, in the providence of the Lord, He changes everything—other issues come up, questions need to be dealt with, and crisis happens in people’s lives. Small group is a place to minister to people with needs. Be flexible with you small group and your lesson plan. It is meant to help you minister to people freely, not bind you onto a strict tract. At the same time if you get off topic every week, you need to evaluate if this is the most profitable for the group
A FOCUS ON THE SMALL GROUP DYNAMICS
Leading A Bible Study Discussion: Teaching and Facilitating
1. Teaching verses Facilitating
o Teaching by Proclamation: Explanation and Interpretation leading to Implication—giving answers
o Teaching by Facilitating: Discussion which leads to Interpretation and Implication—guiding answers
2. Proclamation and Facilitating
Both proclamation and facilitating are necessary in leading a Bible study discussion. The hard part is determining when to proclaim and when to facilitate discussion. Plan this out ahead of time, and yet at the same time, be flexible to the interaction of the group.
o Don’t think of yourself as only a proclaimer or only a facilitator.
o Get people involved as much as possible.
o Allow them to answer their own questions.
o Make them come up with answers from the text.
o Help them take ownership of truth in their hearts and minds.
3. Using Questions to Guide Study to Right Conclusions
1) Think through your questions ahead of time.
2) Make sure your questions are clear and understandable.
3) Build questions off of other questions.
4) Don’t make your questions too complex.
5) Avoid asking more than one question at a time.
6) Look for specific answers to certain questions and yet be open to hear others.
7) Don’t be afraid of asking controversial questions.
4. Different Types of Questions you can use
1) “Yes” and “no” questions
2) Close ended questions
3) Rhetorical questions
4) Thinking questions
5) Factual answer questions
6) Leading questions
7) General to specific questions
8) Application questions
5. Different Answers You Will Receive
1) Wrong Answers
2) Right Answers
3) Semi–right answers
4) No answer at all
6. Small Group Dynamics
A) Shepherding Issues within Small Groups
1) Crisis with a group member
2) Conviction of sin (individual)
3) Tiredness (group)
4) Lack of intimacy with God/ Apathy (group)
5) The Bad Nights!
6) Questions that you don’t know the answer to
7) Debates/Disagreements between you and a group member.
• Wrong answers (when a person does not want to be wrong)
• Doctrinal Issues
• Interpretation Issues
8) Debates between members of the group.
10) The dominant group member or “talker”
• Within the group
• Outside the group
12) Someone sharing too much with group (inappropriate for group)
13) No one sharing
14) Teach something wrong
15) If a group member does not like you or respect you
16) Dealing with different maturity issues in your group
B) Helpful Hints for Small Groups
o Meet in a comfortable environment.
o Make sure you can see all the people in the group.
o Sit in a way in which people can see each other.
o Deal with hard questions after group (if possible and if appropriate to wait).
o Be prepared!!!
C) Different Ways to Lead a Small Group
1) Break into smaller groups (if you have a large “small group”)
2) Observations and questions
4) Give Assignments
5) Teach and apply—group activities to apply what you’re learning
6) Serving as a Group
7) Pre–written questions (handouts)
8) Individuals or small group within group teach a section of the text
9) Pray through the text
10) Study through it together (teach them to study)
TEACHING MINISTRIES Philosophy
"...Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth..."
Today the opinions of men rather than the Word of God govern society. To speak of an absolute, unchanging standard or rule is to oppose the accepted belief that everything is relative to the situation (Situational ethics), and that our moral standard of what's right and wrong are decided by the individual. Relativism and tolerance are the catchwords of our age, as we rush head long into the descending spiral of; "my opinion is as good as yours." The resulting destruction of our society is seen lurking on every corner.
Paul describes to Timothy (2 Tim. 3:1) difficult times would come in the last days. He said; “Men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, disobedient to parents, malicious gossips, haters of good, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” - To name but a few.
How was Timothy told to combat such a godless time? We need to know because the method that Timothy used is the method for the church to use today.
Unfortunately, many churches today are combating the problem of godlessness their own way. Some are becoming large entertainment centers to attract unbelievers. Some are into religious sensitivity, and are taking away any perceived barriers that might prevent unity. This means that confronting sin, preaching only one way to God and many more absolutes of Scripture must go. Still others are withdrawing further back into their traditions, not realizing that their man made traditions have caused some of the problem. And still others believe signs and wonders will restore the power to the church to combat such godlessness.
What is interesting about this passage of Scripture is that instead of exhorting Timothy to come up with something new to deal with the situation, he exhorts him in the very opposite direction.
He says, "You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned" (2 Timothy 3:14).
The things Timothy has learned were:
· Paul's teaching (2 Timothy 3:10) and
· The sacred writings (2 Timothy 3:15) which amount to all Scripture (v16).
The key to combat the destruction in our times is to continue in the proclamation of the inspired Word of God, which adequately equips for every good work.
What a powerful model we have presented by Paul for the church today. We aren't told to combat the times by compromise, pragmatism, tradition or signs and wonders but by preaching the inspired Word of God in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).
We at Hickman Community Church are committed to the sufficiency of Scripture for all circumstances of life. We believe that the difficult times we live in are a direct result of walking away from the truth of God's Word (2 Timothy 4:3, 4).
We teach that the acceptance again of the absolute truth and sufficiency of God's Word is the only answer to saving this lost generation. Paul said; "So faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
THE PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING MINISTRIES
God’s Holy Word is given to us so that we may know Him and please Him in all we do and say. It is the privilege of the Church today to have God's completed and final revelation in our possession.
The philosophy of teaching at Hickman Community Church is that the inspired Word of God is absolutely sufficient to:
· Transform lives (Psalms 19:7-11)
· Bring salvation (Romans 10:17; Ephesians 1:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14)
· Produce growth (1 Peter 2:2)
· Bring maturity (Hebrews 5:12-14)
· Equip for service (2 Timothy 3:17)
· Keep from sin (Psalms 119:9, 11)
· Resist evil (Matthew 4:4-10; Ephesians 6:17)
Therefore, because the Word of God is sufficient to transform lives, it is used and relied upon for:
- Counseling of problems caused through non-physical means (i.e. depression, anxiety, obsession, lack of self esteem)
- Counseling of relationships (ie. marriage, parent/child, etc)
- Evangelism: The Word of God is sufficient to save souls.
- Growth: Because the Word of God is sufficient to produce growth, maturity, equip for service, keep from sin and resist evil, it is used and relied upon from:
- Preaching: The Word of God is the source of our teachings and the authority for why we do what we do. The primary method of teaching from the pulpit, must be expositional (exposing God's intent from the passage, not opinions, experiences etc.) The way we teach from the pulpit reflects our conviction that the Word of God is sufficient for the above.
- Discipleship: Whether coming to terms with the purpose of the church, or the fundamentals of the Faith, or sharing with visitors, we reflect our convictions of the sufficiency of Scripture, by using it to guide, instruct and encourage.
THE GOAL OF TEACHING MINISTRIES
The goal of teaching is that we might know how to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31). In teaching we glorify God by teaching accurately and worshipfully (life related) the Word of God, to the people of God, in order to see them grow to maturity in Christ (Matthew 28:19-20; Colossians 1:25). The mature man or woman is adequately equipped by the Word of God for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- All ministries within HCC - counseling, evangelism, family and discipleship ministries - all reflect the philosophy of the teaching ministry. That is, all leaders and materials used must uphold the sufficiency and authority of Scripture.
- That teaching in the wider sense be encouraged. We are all called to teach. Unbelievers and new believers need teaching (Matthew 28:20). Young women need teaching from older women (Titus 2:3-5).
- That only gifted teachers be called on to instruct the congregation (Ephesians 4:11, 12; Romans 12:4, 7).
- Strong accountability must be maintained for those who have the weighty responsibility of teaching (James 3:1). Main teaching to be taped and those who teach to be available after ministry to meet with people for clarification and encouragement. This particularly applies to teachers who are invited from outside HCC.
- No ministry, person or material be adopted or advertised through HCC if it contradicts the teaching philosophy above.
THE STRATEGY OF TEACHING MINISTRIES
· To make the clear teaching of God's Word a priority at our weekly gatherings.
· To grow an all age Sunday School.
· To make the study of God’s Word a priority in our elders meetings
· To call people to a greater discipline of personal Bible study, through training courses such as “Church Based Training” offers, and also seminars run by or supported by Hickman Community Church
· Each person to be accountable to another for their progress and application of God's Word in their lives. This will be achieved through the discipleship and care group structures.
· To call every member to the duty of warning and admonishing each other in their walk for the Lord (Colossians 3:16).
 These notes are drawn from a wide range of sources including: Howard Hendricks, Alex Montoya, The Masters Seminary, Justin McKitterick,