If you are teaching from a specific text it is normal to read it first and then make points from it. Instead try not reading the text at the beginning of the class.  Teach what it has to say, but don’t actually read it out. Tell your students at the beginning of the class that they have to “reconstruct” the text from what you are teaching. At the end of the class compare the various versions and declare the winner the person (or team) who gets the closest to the original. Here is an example starting with the lesson plan:

Group discussion: What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? (coughing fit in a public place, gone into a bathroom with someone in it, said hi to a stranger you thought you knew, fallen over in public, singing loudly in a secluded location only to find someone was there listening etc.)

Point: many things make us embarrassed  but Jesus should not be one of them. Jesus is not an embarrassing friend so you should not hide him. One way you might hide Jesus is by not talking about him,  so you should not be embarrassed about talking about the good news of Jesus. Furthermore, you should not be embarrassed about other people who talk about Jesus either, especially those whom God chose to write the books of the Bible, like Paul.

Discuss: What do you think happens to those who are not embarrassed about something that everyone else thinks they should be embarrassed about? For example, if someone is not embarrassed to be a dedicated fan of some singer who has long been deemed uncool. What happens to that person when they put up posters of that singer on their walls, wear their merchandise, and generally makes themselves a nuisance trying to get everyone to listen them? Well, if a person is not embarrassed about something and, according to everyone else, should be embarrassed, then work has to be done to make that person embarrassed.  In other words tease that person, embarrass that person. And keep embarrassing them until they stop liking that out of date uncool singer.

Point: The same is true when you talk about Jesus. Some people will attempt to force you to be embarrassed. They might subject you to ridicule. When Paul spoke too much of Jesus he was put in prison, they even killed him for it. That will probably not happen to you (even though it still happens to many people in other countries), but some people might not want to be friends with someone who talks about Jesus.

Reflection: Does that make you afraid? Does it put you off talking about Jesus with your friends? Think about how hard it might be when someone teases you for being a Christian. But now think about how amazing it would be to serve Jesus in speaking up for him and the possibility that your friends might become Christians.

End point: What you need is a promise from God that he will give you the power to keep sticking up for him even when the going gets tough. And, according to this verse, that is exactly what God promises to you. God will give you strength and power to keep going in all circumstances.

Do you have a rough idea of the verse I am attempting to teach? The verse is: “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God” (1 Tim 1:8)

The benefit of such a method is twofold. First, competition drives up attentiveness and motivates listening. Second, you will know whether or not you communicated the message of the text well. If all the various reconstructions are very close to what you were trying to say, then you know you did a good job. If your class is a feedback free zone, this might let you know something of what you are accomplishing among your students.

Advertisements