3 questions I ask myself when preparing to teach…

1 04 2011

We have two apprentices in HSM. They are dedicated to the ministry, passionate about students, eager to learn, and working towards becoming incredible youth pastors. For the next two weeks they are running our weekend services and teaching our High School students.

The apprentice that is teaching this week is working his tail off. I actually just heard he was up until 5:45am the other night/morning writing and editing the message he is preparing. As he has worked through the message this week I’ve had the opportunity to share insight and direction. He’s actually the same age I was when I taught for the first time. —I remember that really well. My dad got upset at me for saying “pissed off” three times during the message. I think he has come to appreciate the way I communicate since then.— Through my apprentice’s process I’ve realized how much the way I write and prepare has changed over the last seven to eight years. However, there are still a few key elements when preparing a message that I’ve held on to over the years and I thought I’d share…

1) Am I allowing God to speak through me? A no brainer, right?. Unfortunately, I think a lot of pastors and teachers base their messages off of what they have always done or already know and leave little to no room for God to speak through the preparation and delivery of the message. (Side note- God works in me in ways I can’t even describe during the preparation of a message. I love the time I get to spend preparing because I know God will teach me so much during through it. If there is ever a time I don’t feel like that is happening, it usually means I need to take a step back for a while and seek God.)

2) How are people getting to know me through the message? When you have the stage for 25-30 minutes you actually get a chance to let people in to your life as you speak into theirs. If they know you they trust you, and if they trust you they might actually listen to what you have to say. Transparency, authenticity, an honesty are desired from the people listening to God’s story and hopefully God’s story has a lot to do with your story.

3) What will they leave with? I’ve always asked this question but the process behind answering it is always changing. I really want students to remember what is said, but how do I know they are going to leave with something. Andy Stanley suggests “Picking a Point”. I don’t remember too many three to five point messages I hear so why do I expect High School students to remember all three of my points. Pick a point and find creative ways to share it.  If people only remember 10% of what we share, hopefully we are finding more than one way to share it. Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath has been a great resource for me as I try to make THE “point” of the message stick.

I have not even come close to “arriving” as a communicator. I love to teach and I hope I can continue to grow in this area. Communicating for Change by Andy Stanley has been the best book I have read so far. I highly recommended it.