Here are some audio files for two great seminars…
The Seven Laws of the Learner
Seven Laws of the Learner – Part 1 – Learner
Seven Laws of the Learner – Part 2 – Expectation
Seven Laws of the Learner – Part 3 – Application
Seven Laws of the Learner – Part 4 – Retention
Seven Laws of the Learner – Part 5 – Need
Seven Laws of the Learner – Part 6 – Equipping
Seven Laws of the Learner – Part 7 – Revival
The Seven Laws of the Teacher
Seven Laws of the Teacher – Part 1 – Teacher
Seven Laws of the Teacher – Part 2 – Education
Seven Laws of the Teacher – Part 3 – Activity
Seven Laws of the Teacher – Part 4 – Communication
Seven Laws of the Teacher – Part 5 – Heart
Seven Laws of the Teacher – Part 6 – Encouragement
Seven Laws of the Teacher – Part 7 – Readiness
* Links go to the Discipleship Library website: www.DiscipleshipLibrary.com
10 Marks of I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E. Teachers
From the book of the same name by Josh Hunt
Inspire the Heart – “It is not about how elaborate, how professional, how polished or how expensive. It is mostly about whether or not you touch the heart.”
Never Stop Learning and Growing – “If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow.”
Committed, Really Committed – “We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines.” John 9:4, The Message Results – “The scriptures were not given for our inspiration but for our transformation.” D. L. Moody
Example – “The truth is, students will follow your example whether you like it or not. They will follow your example whether you tell them to or not.”
Diligence – “It is possible to do the things – all the things – God has called us to do, but it is not easy.”
Incubate New Groups – “The things you have heard me say …entrust to faithful men who will also be able to teach others.” 2 Timothy 2:2
Big Dreams – “The God-given mission of your small group is to become a force that will transform our world.”
Love Their Students and Their Students Know It – “A Sunday School teacher is our pastor.”
Enjoy God and Enjoy Teaching – “What does the church need today? The church desperately needs people of joy and zeal.”
Blessing or Burden?
Tips For a More Enjoyable and Fruitful Ministry: It’s not an easy task to be a part of the Discipleship Ministry. There is pressure that the lives and souls of people are in your care. While it is God who causes the growth, we are to be responsible shepherds, sometimes more than just teachers who lead a lesson. But there is a difference between working hard and owning the pressure of the work. Here is something to think about:
- Don’t own the pressure of the work; just do what God has called you to do.
- Don’t carry the weight of our vision; leading people to higher levels of commitment to Christ and His church.
- Don’t wear the stress of our mission; knowing Christ and making Him known.
This is a good message for leaders who often find themselves buckling under the weight of responsibility! God wants to carry the weight for us. He wants us to serve Him with gladness; with a spring in our step and a smile on our face.
If you are “heavy-laden” or “over-burdened,” you probably aren’t much fun to be around. People want to be around cheerful, happy people. They will believe in you and our church more if they see the leaders and other volunteers serving joyfully.
What about you? Has it become a chore to serve the Lord with gladness? If so, here are some tips that might be helpful:
- Read Psalm 100 each morning. 1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. 3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
- Pray and ask the Lord to take the burden of your ministry in exchange for His yoke which is easy and light (Matthew 11:30).
- Let others help you carry the load. Let go of the idea that you have to do everything yourself. Class organization is essential; sharing leadership helps develop more leaders.
- Become a genuinely positive person; being positive is contagious. When things go wrong, seek to be part of the solution rather than adding to the problem.
- Allow yourself some light-hearted moments every day; Jesus came that our joy may be full.
- Focus on the good parts of our church and ministry. Anyone can see the bad; determine to look for and talk about the good.
As you choose to enjoy your calling and serve the Lord with gladness, other people will be drawn to you. We seek to make our church a place where people love serving. Remember that there is joy in the journey.
These people before us have stepped up to the plate to invest themselves into the lives of others. Today we celebrate their commitment and willingness to serve others before seeking to be served by others.
Prayer: God, we offer these lives to you. Use them to build Your kingdom here in this place. While we seek to move people toward higher levels of commitment to Christ and His church, we understand that we cannot do this without You. Jesus told us that “apart from Him, we can do nothing.” Help us to served You with gladness and inspire others to seek a place of service, for Your kingdom’s sake. We ask for your blessing, strength, determination, patience, love, wisdom, and compassion to do what you have called us to do. Today, we commission these volunteers and ask that you use them for Your glory. Amen
Five Keys to Effectively Lead Your Small Group
by Samantha Krieger
You’ve been given the awesome privilege and responsibility as a small group leader to lead your group into quality discussion. However, sometimes it’s difficult to know how to craft your time together. Take a deep breath because you’re not alone! Consider these five practical keys when leading your group:
Make Prayer a Priority. A wise man once said that nothing of eternal significance is accomplished apart from prayer. Since the purpose of your small group time is to invest in eternal things, (your relationship with Christ and with others) then prayer must become a priority and discipline.
During the time you meet, spend no more than 5-10 minutes on prayer requests, and then pray with your group. In doing this, you acknowledge your dependence on Christ. Outside group time, pray for your group on a consistent basis. Pray about their requests, spiritual growth, and that they’d be kept from sin and temptation. The beautiful truth about prayer isn’t so much that it changes things, but that it changes us.
Facilitate an Open Environment for Sharing. A small group leader is a facilitator. Your leadership is the “launching pad” for creating solid discussion so it’s your job to facilitate an environment that’s conducive for sharing. Your role isn’t to lecture but to engage your group into the discussion by asking open-ended questions. Remember not to rely solely on your discussion guide or curriculum but be prepared to ask your own questions.
Strive to keep the flow of discussion running smoothly, transitioning from one topic to the next. If someone in the group strays from the topic for a long period of time, carefully facilitate him or her back to the original discussion. Becoming an excellent facilitator takes time and practice.
Reveal a Heart of Authenticity. As leaders, it can be tempting to act like we have it all together or to simply hide our struggles. The truth is if you aren’t real about your sin issues and struggles, your group will never sense the freedom to expose their weaknesses. Therefore, your group will never know each other beyond what’s on the surface and it’s guaranteed that spiritual growth will be stunted.
Communicate consistently that you’re on this spiritual journey together. Be quick to admit your faults or mistakes. When you begin to open up, even if your group may be slow or hesitant in doing so, they’ll know the security is there when they need it. Exposing an authentic heart is key to being an effective facilitator.
Be Sensitive to Time. Even though time is precious, sometimes we still take advantage of it. When you’re time sensitive, you prove that you’re responsible and care about the outside lives of your group. Setting up time boundaries from the get go is crucial but if this hasn’t been done, it’s never too late to start. Implement answers to questions like: What time will I start and finish each group? Will I start if someone isn’t there or wait for everyone to arrive?
Be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading in your discussion. Ending right on the clock may not always be best in the moment. A few members may need to stay longer so welcome that, but allow for others to leave if they need to. Either way, consider that God is never limited to our little box of time.
Lead with Patience. Love is patient so when we lead with patience, we lead in love. Sometimes the hardest thing about leading a group is being patient when people can’t make our meeting time. We’ve planned and prepared for them, gotten really excited, and they don’t show up. It’s easy to become frustrated and lose hope, but we must continue to love and focus on who is there.
Practice patience when you ask the group a question. If an awkward silence pervades the air, don’t be quick to answer your own question. Give group members time to think through the question. You’ll be blown away by the discussion that can come from an articulate, well thought through answer!
It’s such a joy to lead others knowing that genuine life-change best happens within the intimate context of a small group. Allow these practical keys to shape how you choose to spend your time together. Rest in the fact that no perfect small group or small group leader exists! Your main strength comes from Christ and what He can do in and through you as you facilitate your group into great discussion.
Five Questions We Should Ask Ourselves
I heard about a challenge to newly ordained ministers, to wrestle with five questions…
- Am I Obsessed With His Mercy or My Ministry? (2 Corinthians 4:1) – If we are obsessed with ministry we will never feel good enough…if we are obsessed with His mercy then we can truly live in the freedom that there is no need to prove ourselves!
- Am I Being Careless or Cautious? (2 Corinthians 4:2) – OR…I asked it this way as well, “Is there anything you are doing privately that, if it became public, would disqualify you from the ministry?” If we are going to live lives that are above reproach we must be intentional about it…it will not happen by accident!
- Am I Obsessed With His Word or My Words? (2 Corinthians 4:2) – Our theology HAS to be the driving force behind our methodology…and the only way to solidify sound doctrine is to be obsessed with it! We can get so obsessed with what we want that we lose sight of what God wants (like people meeting Jesus!!!)
- Am I a Fighter or a Flake? (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) – We are at war…and not with other people (Ephesians 6:12) but rather with a very real enemy who works hard at blinding the minds of unbelievers…and we will either step up to the fight or run from it! In fighting we have to do battle with…
- Critics – they will always be around…the people who know everything you are doing wrong but don’t know you. They lash out at you–but not out of love and or concern…but with a self righteous/arrogant attitude.
- Conforming – People try to make things “normal and natural” rather than begging God to continue to do the supernatural.
- Clock – Many times we think if we work harder then God will do more–thus causing ourselves to set an unrealistic pace and burn ourselves out!
- Control – No matter how hard we try–we can’t make someone receive Jesus, we can’t control His Holy Spirit…we are not in control, HE IS!
- Am I Making Much of Jesus or Much of Me? (2 Corinthians 4:5) – The temptation in ministry is for others to see how good we are…and in doing so not fully understanding that God most often puts some of His greatest gifts in his weakest vessels! (2 Corinthians 4:7)
My passion is not to be an innovative leader but rather an obedient servant who hears the voice of the Lord and does what He says. The church does not need my creativity and ingenuity but rather the power of his Holy Spirit as only he can truly change lives!
Questions to Ask Yourself:
My life is really a series of questions that I’m constantly asking. This could be one of the reasons why I always prefer to interview than be interviewed. I like to ask questions. Here are some common ones I’m regularly asking:
- What is God telling me to do? That’s usually confirmed through reading the Bible, praying and listening to the wisdom of the friends who surround me.
- What is the wise thing to do? I learned this question from Andy Stanley. It comes from his book The Best Question Ever.
- What does Kim think? You’d be amazed at how God uses your spouse to either confirm a good decision or stop a bonehead move.
- Who? Because the most important thing I do in ministry is get the right people on the team. This is about identifying the new leaders.
- What’s next? I’m in my 50’s. Maybe that urgency will subside as I age more, or maybe it will grow more intense. I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m one day closer to heaven and I’d like as many people as possible to join me. Because of that, I’ve never been satisfied with the status quo. To me, this question is all about reaching more people for Jesus.
- Why? This one probably annoys people the most, but churches in particular rarely ask it. We do things because we’ve always done it. Of course, churches are dying across the country because they have forgotten the why question, the mission of and purpose of Jesus.
- How can we simplify it? The tendency is to complicate things. Over time, programs get added and in an attempt to avoid problems, we add guidelines. To help people move from point A to point B, we add steps. Usually, though, those steps just add confusion. This question is about removing barriers and making the next steps obvious. I believe that after I explain everything and someone can still ask, what? Why? Or How? I did not do a good enough job explaining it.
Spiritual Maturity is Never an End in Itself
by Rick Warren
Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve and to give my life. (Matthew 20:28 LB)
“The last thing many believers need is to go to another Bible study. They already know far more than they are putting into practice. ”
We are commanded to serve God. Jesus was unmistakable: “Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve and to give my life.” (Matthew 20:28 LB)
For Christians, service is not something to be tacked onto our schedules if we can spare the time. It is the heart of the Christian life. Jesus came “to serve” and “to give”—and those two verbs should define your life on earth, too. Serving and giving sum up God’s fourth purpose for your life. Mother Teresa once said, “Holy living consists in doing God’s work with a smile.”
Jesus taught that spiritual maturity is never an end in itself. Maturity is for ministry! We grow up in order to give out. It is not enough to keep learning more and more. We must act on what we know and practice what we claim to believe. Impression without expression causes depression. Study without service leads to spiritual stagnation.
The old comparison between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea is still true. Galilee is a lake full of life because it takes in water but also gives it out. In contrast, nothing lives in the Dead Sea because, with no outflow, the lake has stagnated.
The last thing many believers need is to go to another Bible study. They already know far more than they are putting into practice. What they need are serving experiences in which they can exercise their spiritual muscles.
Serving is the opposite of our natural inclination. Most of the time we’re more interested in “serve us” than service. We say, “I’m looking for a church that meets my needs and blesses me,” not “I’m looking for a place to serve and be a blessing.” We expect others to serve us, not vice versa.
But as we mature in Christ, the focus of our lives should increasingly shift to living a life of service. The mature follower of Jesus stops asking, “Who’s going to meet my needs?” and starts asking, “Whose needs can I meet?” How often do you ask that question?
Sunday School Teaching Verses
- Deuteronomy 32:2 – Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.
- Ezra 7:10 – For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.
- Psalm 78:1 – O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
- Psalm 119:27 – Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.
- Proverbs 3:1 – My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart…
- Proverbs 6:23 – For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life…
- Proverbs 13:14 – The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.
- Proverbs 22:21 – teaching you true and reliable words, so that you can give sound answers to him who sent you?
- Malachi 2:8 – But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the LORD Almighty.
- John 6:60 – On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
- John 7:16 – Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.
- Acts 2:42 – They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
- Acts 18:11 – So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
- Colossians 1:28 – We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
- 1 Timothy 5:17 – The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
- 2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…
- Titus 2:7 – In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness.
- Hebrews 6:1 – Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God…
The “With Him” Principle
He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach… Mark 3:14
There are two points of emphasis here:
1. That they ___________________________.
2. Then Jesus _________________________.
To know Christ means to be with Him, and then making Him known involves being a part of His mission, locally and globally. Let’s talk about our O. U. T. R. E. A. C. H.
- Structure of the class = Planning to grow
- Outreach Coordinator
- Communication Coordinator
- Prayer Coordinator
- Social Coordinator
- Buy in to the vision in all our activities
- Knowing Christ
- Making Him Known
- Ownership of the outcome
- Taking responsibility for growth
- Freedom to experiment, even to fail
- Room arrangement
- Open doors to classes
Uniqueness – Everyone is unique
- Get to know others
- Share yourself
- Be open
- Some may have special needs
- How can we help?
- See needs and seek to meet them
- People respond differently
- Group building
- Avoiding stagnation
- Genuine care for others
- Felt needs of others are real for them
- Guest friendly
- Koinonia, common life shared
- More than a Sunday activity
- Affinity groups: men, MOPS, parents of teens, single adults
- Must include evangelism led by the Spirit
- Take advantage of training
- Know your particular method
- More than witnessing: it’s but being a witness
- Keeping track of numbers
- Numbers represent lives and people
- Measurable growth
- Feedback to teacher and the program
- To the congregation – accountability, not Lone Rangers
- People are the church, more than a building or membership
- Becoming Christian through an event or experience
- All living things grow, the church is an organism more than an organization
- There must be a good balance, like breathing in and out
- Work and play
- Inreach and outreach
- Support and growth
- Pioneers and settlers
- Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea
Is it a Job or Ministry?
Some people have a job in the church.Others involve themselves in ministry. What’s the difference?
If you do it just because no one else will…it’s a job!
If you do it to serve God…it’s a ministry!
If you quit because someone criticized you…it’s a job!
If you kept on serving in spite of criticism…it’s a ministry!
If you’ll do it only so long as it doesn’t interfere with other things…it’s a job!
If you’re committed to staying with it, even when it means letting other things go…it’s a ministry!
If you quit because no one ever praised or thanked you…it’s a job!
If you stay even though no one notices your efforts…it’s a ministry!
If you do it because someone else said it needs to be done…it’s a job!
If you do it because you sensed God saying it needs to be done…it’s a ministry!
It’s hard to get excited about a job.It’s almost impossible NOT to get excited about a ministry!
An average church is filled with people doing jobs!A great and growing church is filled with people involved in ministry!