First read through the study, article or curriculum, then the leaders guide section by section as you get ready to teach it. It is best to at least skim the whole thing too, to give you a general overview. After you have gone over it, highlight the sections and options you will do, and go over in the "lesson" section and pick the points you wish to cover. You may not have enough time to cover it all. You can make it into a talk, re-say it in your own words, just read it with interest and excitement, let them read it themselves, or read it like "Jeopardy" questions. Be creative! Do not spend too much of the class time with this, even though it is the most important part of the lesson. Encourage the students to read the section in advance before the class.
Do not be overwhelmed, these curriculums are in-depth and comprehensive, giving you far more Bible passages and material than you may use (which can be extended, especially if you go through a whole session), so go step by step. You should at least be going over the section you are teaching first before you teach. And you should have read the entire lesson and, if possible, the entire series before you start this series, so you know where you are going. You do not need to know every detail ahead, just the general theme, as you get close to each new section, then re-read it and you will pick it up fast. Each section builds on the previous section. (If you are worried that if a student misses a session they will be lost. They could be, but encourage them to spend 15 minutes reading through what they have missed, and they will be fully caught up!) This is why we have a printable version you can use as handouts.
You may spend a couple of hours doing this whole overview before you begin to teach this series. Then before each meeting spend as much time as you can in prayer, and at least 20 minutes reading over the section. You will find it will almost teach itself! But as with anything, the more prepared you are the better the outcome will be.
The format is up to you and your teaching style. You can just have a discussion with the lesson by having everyone read the Bible passage (s) and lesson before they come, use this curriculum as is, or customize it. If you are new to teaching, I suggest you follow it. This series has more questions and options than normal time constraints will allow. The reason is simple; sometimes groups will not engage in discussion, the extra material is to prevent dead air. Or, sometimes the students want more, so you can give it to them to take home. Every group is different. Sometimes special resources are suggested that you do not have time to get or forgot. That is why we have several options! Or if they skipped a week, all the pertinent information is available on our website too.
You may want to extend the number of meetings for a deeper walk into His Word. Or you can mark off what you did go over, and a year later come back to this series and cover what you did not do before with a general introduction, and go through a book of the Bible. This reinforces the importance of this study and gives time for their minds to develop and practice what they have learned. So when you come back to it, more discussion should develop, as their experience has increased.
To be a successful leader and discipler, we have to dispel the myth of trying to be popular or eloquent. We need to be real, to do our best, and have a passion and love for Christ and what we are teaching and to those who we are teaching. And to begin, we need to know what maturity is all about, because if we do not get this important facet, all we try to model and teach will unravel and be meaningless to those we are trying to teach.
YES you may go ahead use and reprint and share our studies and articles. All we ask of you is to keep us in prayer, keep the name of our ministry, the authors name, link or URL address http://www.discipleshiptools.org/and any copyright information on the resources, and feel free to tell others especially pastors what we have to offer. And of course we always need partners and supporters to keep this going.
Be blessed as you know Christ and make Him known!
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