Getting Discussion Going in Your Group

by Ron Moore on March 11, 2015

Statistics indicate that the more a person is involved in the lesson and the learning process the more he or she will remember. Research has revealed that after 72 hours a learner will remember a certain percentage of the content of the lesson based on the method used by the teacher. Lecture only – the learner will retain approximately 10%. Visual only (no verbal) – the learner will retain approximately 20%. Audio and Visual together – the learner will retain approximately 60%. This statistic shows the importance of using visuals with any lecture. Visuals can be in the form of something on a screen, a poster, or even a handout. Audio/Visual and learners discuss the content – the learner will retain approximately 80%. We can increase learning by 20% just by getting the learners involved in discussing the lesson. Audio/Visual and the learners discuss the content and then apply it to their lives– learners will retain approximately 90% of the content. A teacher can become much more effective just my using some visuals and getting learners to discuss and apply the content to their lives.

Most teachers have experienced asking a question and everyone in the class just sits in silence. This is awkward and causes the teacher to avoid even trying to ask a question. Most people do not want to raise their hand and provide an answer because they are fearful of giving the wrong answer and looking stupid. The safest thing to do is to keep your hand down and your mouth shut. Other times the teacher will ask a question and the same person immediately answers and dominates the discussion.

How can one have an effective discussion in the group? Try breaking your class into smaller groups of two or three people. Assign a different question to each group. Ask one person in each group to facilitate the discussion. Provide a time limit and then call the groups back together to allow each group to share their answers to the assigned questions. The smaller group is not as intimidating and allows everyone to participate in the discussion. The answers come from a group so no one individual looks stupid. This method takes a little more time but it is well worth it. It is more important for the learner to get something from the lesson than for the teacher to get through the content.

What have you done to facilitate discussion in your group? Leave your comments below.


What Does Your Room Say?

by Ron Moore on February 7, 2015

Take a good look at your Sunday School room? What does it say to those coming to Bible study? Does it say, “I am glad you are here.” or “I am not prepared for you to be here today.”? Is there clutter (pens, pencils, old paper, old bulletins, old information flyers, baskets, etc,) on your shelves and tables? Do you have old literature that needs to be thrown away? Do you have flyers that were for events that happened last year or even two years ago? Do you have left over pots, pans, and dishes from a previous fellowship? Do you have cups, coffeemakers, sugar, creamer, and even microwaves that just clutter the space? Do you have posters and pictures on the wall that do not have anything to do with the Bible study? Is the temperature in the room comfortable? Are the chairs comfortable? Is the space clean? Do you need to get rid of tables so you have more room for people?

A Sunday School room should be clean and inviting. Make sure everything is set up and ready for Bible study before the first learner enters the room. The learning environment should support what you are teaching. It should say, “I am glad you are here and we are prepared for Bible study.” Pick a focal wall or bulletin board. Use current posters from your Leader’s Pack or make some visuals (posters) and/or write something on the whiteboard that will introduce and support what you are teaching that day. De-clutter and get rid of anything that does not support the Bible study time. Think of your Sunday School room as being your living room and you have some important guests coming to your home. You would make sure everything was clean and in order. God’s house should be the best and we should be good stewards of the classroom space that has been provided.

Go ahead and throw some things aways and clean up your act! Make your room warm and inviting. The appearance of your room will either add to or subtract from your Bible study. Spend some time making sure your room looks better and supports your Bible study lesson. Your learners will be able to tell that you have put some thought and preparation into the lesson.


Easter = Reaching Possibilities

by Ron Moore on March 27, 2014

Easter is a prime time to reach out to guests, prospects, and inactive members of your Sunday School class. People will attend Easter Sunday when they will not attend any other time during the year. Take advantage of this opportunity. Using text message, email, regular mail, phone calls, and home visits invite people to Easter services. If your church has some special activities such as an Easter Egg Hunt or an Easter musical be sure and invite people to these special events. Use social media like Facebook and Twitter to invite your friends and others to attend the Easter services and events.

Once people have attended on Easter it is critical that you get contact information on each guest such as name, address, phone number, and email. It is vital that follow-up begin immediately, the sooner the better! On Monday, call all guests and thank them for attending your Easter Services and ask them if they have any questions about your church or Sunday School. Encourage them to visit the church website for further information about the church and ministries. From the information gathered talking to the guest, determine the best Sunday School class that would be a “good fit” for the guest. Send the guest a personal letter thanking him for attending and recommend he try the Sunday School class you feel is a “good fit” for him. Give the guest the name of the teacher, where the class meets, and the time the class meets. Send the guest information to the teacher of the class that has been recommended and ask him or her to follow- up with a call, text, email, or visit to the guest. Ask the teacher to assign the guest to someone in the class who will follow-up with a call, text, email, or visit to the guest. They could even invite the guest to come to church the following week and then take them to lunch to get better acquainted. Don’t bombard the guest with contacts but it is better to have too many contacts than to have too few or no contacts.

Plan a Sunday School class fellowship soon after Easter so you can invite the guests from Easter to an informal gathering at someone’s home. This venue may be less intimidating to the guest rather than coming to the Sunday School class. Once they know some people in the class it will be easier for them to attend Sunday School. Don’t give up. Keep inviting. You never know when you will have the opportunity to reach that person and get them involved in Sunday School. Don’t harass the guest but let him know that you care about him and desire for him or her to be involved in the Sunday School class.


Turn Time Change into Positive

by Ron Moore on March 8, 2014

Many people forget to “spring” their clocks forward to begin Daylight Savings Time or “fall” back when the time changes back to standard time. Since the time change occurs at 2:00 am on Sunday this usually causes many people to miss church or to be late or early depending on whether they forget to turn their clocks back or forward. Time change always has an impact on attendance for Sunday School and worship. Let’s turn this negative into a positive!

As the old saying goes, “take lemons and make lemonade”. Take advantage of this special time of the year to call, text, or email all Sunday School class members reminding them of the time change. Include what Sunday’s lesson will be about and that you are looking forward to seeing them on Sunday. You might also plan to have some spcial refreshments that Sunday. Food always seems to help attendance. Hopefully, this special contact with a reminder about Time Change Sunday will help your attendance instead of it being a day when attendance is down.

What have you done to help Sunday School attendance on Time Change Sunday? What do you do at other times of the year (holidays, spring break, fall break, etc.) to turn “lemons into lemonade” and help keep your attendance up? In the space below, please share your thoughts and ideas on how to avoid low attendance days in Sunday School.


Sunday School Classes on Mission

by Ron Moore on February 7, 2014

People in a Sunday School class or Bible Study group should be challenged to get involved in ministering to others. Believers should be the hands and feet of Jesus ministering to a hurting world. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for the one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

Here are six ideas that I got from an article written by Diana Davis from the magazine Facts and Trends published by Lifeway Christian Resource:

1. Ask members to personally invite one person – friend or stranger- to church every week this year.
Provide “You Are Invited” cards that people can give to people as they invite them to church. The cards should have the important information about church service times and the website address.

2. Plan a baby shower for a local crisis pregnancy center. Ask members to bring baby items like diapers, wipes, baby food, baby toys, etc. to be given to the pregnancy center. Members could also volunteer to help at the pregnancy center.

3. Invite prospects for the class to come to a Free Sunday Lunch. Actually send out invitations and be sure to include the worship and Sunday School times on the invitation. After church either take everyone to a local restaurant or provide lunch at the church.

4. Bake cookies, breads, cakes, or pies to be given to church prospects when someone visits in their home.

5. Stock the pantry for a local food bank or the church food pantry. Ask members to donate non-perishable goods. Members could also volunteer to serve at the local food bank.

6. Partner with a local school or shelter to provide backpacks filled with school supplies to school-age children whose families need financial assistance.

Hopefully, these six ideas will spark other ideas on how your Sunday School class can minister to others. As we minister to the physical needs of people we then open the door to be able to minister to their spiritual needs. Please share your ideas below on how your class has been “on mission” for God.

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A Teacher’s Apprentice is enlisted by the teacher to assist the teacher in his major responsibilities and prepare to start a new Bible study unit within two years. The Teacher’s Apprentice serves as a substitute for the teacher when the teacher must be absent and assists the teacher as needed. Here are some of the responsibilities that a Teacher’s Apprentice might do:

1. Help lead the Bible study time as needed when the teacher is present and when the teacher must be absent.
2. Assist the teacher in gathering Bible study materials, resources, and preparing the room for a positive learning experience.
3. Build positive relationships with class learners and prospects to ensure they are contacted regularly in order to meet their needs.
4. Help maintain attendance records and other information that will help in achieving the goals of the Sunday School class.
5. Help in leading class learners toward faith in Jesus Christ and sharing their faith with others.
6. Set a positive example for others by living as an authentic witness for Christ by being actively involved in the life and ministry of the church.

Review your class roll and determine someone you feel would make a great Sunday School teacher. Schedule a time to meet with that person in his home, your home, or over lunch to discuss the possibility of him being your Teacher’s Apprentice. Share the list of responsibilities from above and discuss each responsibility. Share upcoming training opportunities that will help prepare him for the job as Teacher Apprentice. Make sure you share why you selected him and the potential you see in him to become a teacher. Do not ask for a commitment at this time but ask him to pray about being the Teacher Apprentice. Tell him you will get back with him in a week or two after he has adequate time to pray about the possibility. Provide your phone number and encourage him to give you a call if he has any questions.

Once he has accepted the position as Teacher Apprentice encourage him to take advantage of any Sunday School Leadership Training opportunities your church, association, or state my offer. Ask him to go with you to one of the training events.

Immediately begin to use the Teacher Apprentice to help with setting up the class with needed resources (posters, handouts, pens, videos, etc.). Ask the Teacher Apprentice to help you by teaching a portion of the lesson or helping with a specific activity. As the person gains more experience and confidence then ask him to take the lead and teach the lesson. You become his helper for that Sunday. When you need to be absent, ask the Teacher Apprentice to teach for you. Ask him to help you with Sunday School records, outreach to prospects, and ministry to members as needed. Your goal is to train this person to become a teacher and start a new class within two years. By multiplying we can reach more people for Christ and grow God’s kingdom.


Two Heads Are Better Than One

by Ron Moore on January 11, 2014

I have always heard “Two heads are better than one”. The implication is that there is wisdom to involving others in making decisions and planning. The Bible says, “Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). Getting another’s viewpoint and involving others in helping usually makes for better decisions, events, and even teaching.

The teacher who seeks the advice and direction from others is wise. There are many places a teacher can turn for “counsel”. Using Sunday School materials that provides Biblical background and commentary is a great place to start. Most curriculum materials come with commentary and suggested teaching procedures. Some even provide additional commentary, visual resources, handouts, videos, and others even provide additional help via the internet. Every teacher should take advantage of the resources that are available on the internet, in libraries, and in books instead of trying to “wing it” on his own.

Another resource a teacher should use is an Associate Teacher. Every teacher should enlist an Associate Teacher to assist with the class. This person can help the teacher with lesson preparation, assemble resources for the lesson, and even help with teaching as needed. The Associate Teacher is another “head” to help the teacher do a more effective job of teaching and meeting the needs of class members. Hopefully, the Associate Teacher can fill in when the regular teacher is gone and when it is time to start another class, the Associate Teacher can move into a regular teaching position. This is a great way to develop future leaders and teachers.

Involving class members in helping present the lesson is another great resource that is available to every teacher. Class members can provide testimonies, read scripture, and even guide a small group discussion or lead in presenting a report to the class. Follow the advise found in Proverbs and use the counsel of others. Don’t miss out using the many “heads” that are available to help you be a more effective teacher. Your class members deserve the best and as you involve others you will be a better teacher and your job will become easier. Remember “Two heads really are better than one!”

Please leave a comment on how you have used the counsel of others and involved others in helping you be a more effective teacher. Are there other “heads” we can use to provide input, ideas, and assistance for better Bible study?


Thanksgiving Can Be An Outreach Tool

by Ron Moore on November 16, 2013

Take the opportunity to use Thanksgiving as a way to reach out to prospects and non-attenders in your Sunday School class. Call everyone on your Sunday School class roll and tell them you are making a list of things people are thankful for, especially something that has happened during 2013 for which they are thankful. You can also ask if there is anything going on in their lives that you can prayer with them about. This will give you an opportunity to touch base with everyone and pray for them. Keeping in touch with class members on a regular basis is key to building attendance.

Another way to reach out to prospects, non-attenders, and regular attenders is to send everyone a Thanksgiving card telling them what you are thankful for and that you are thankful they are in your Sunday School class. People always enjoy getting personal mail.

As a mission project lead your class to put together a Thanksgiving basket for a needy family or to go to a homeless shelter and serve a meal. You could also get your class to write Thanksgiving cards and send them to those who are in the nursing homes or shut-in. Better yet, your class could deliver the cards personally and spend some time visiting with these lonely people.


3 Ways to Beat the Summer Slump

by Ron Moore on May 30, 2013

It is common for Sunday School attendance to take a slump or nose-dive in the summer. Many people take vacations or just take advantage of the warm weather to go to the lake, the beach, or to the mountains. People need those days of rest and relaxation, but here are three ways you can be a Summer Slump Buster.
1. Plan some special class activities such as a picnic, swim party, or watermelon feast. The list of possibilities is endless. This will help class members develop relationships and keep them in touch with one another.
2. Every week contact every person who is not present, including those who may have told you they were going on vacation or would be gone for some reason. Let everyone know that you missed them and you look forward to seeing them back at Sunday School and Worship.
3. Divide your class into two teams and have some friendly Summer Slump Buster competition. Award one point for each time a member is present during the summer months. Award two points for each guest that a member brings during the summer. Keep a running tally of the score and award some prizes to the winning team at the end of summer.

Certainly, you have some other ideas on how to avoid the Summer Slump. Share some of your ideas in the space below.


There are many reasons that someone attends a small group Bible study but there are five basics that people are looking for in a small group.
1. People want to learn about and study God’s Word. Make sure you provide adequate time for Bible study each week.
2. People want to know how they can practically apply God’s truths to their lives. Make sure you provide some practical suggestions on how to live out God’s principles this coming week.
3. People want to connect with other people. Provide a time for fellowship and getting better acquainted each week.
4. People want to have a safe place where they can share their struggles and prayer needs. Spend time each week praying for one another’s needs and concerns.
5. People want a place where they can get involved in ministry to others. Besides ministering to others in the small group provide opportunities for class members to minister to others in the community.
Small groups are vital to the life of the church. Statistics indicate that 8 out of 10 people who get connected with a small group are still involved in the church after 5 years. The reverse is true of those who do not get involved in a small group, after 5 years 8 out of 10 people have dropped out of church. Make sure to do everything possible to make your small group a place where people want to attend. In the space below share some of the reasons you think people come to your Small Group Bible Study.