Preparation for Teaching

Preparing to communicate to a group?

Here are a few techniques to help with preparation. If done well, there is plenty of room for teaching, so find ways for your teaching to be experienced, putting the students in the principles, allowing them to feel the truth, and interacting together with your teachings. 

Listening prayer in prep

Pray and listen, writing down images, phrases and ideas that come to mind. Not everything will be used for students, but he will speak to you… just ask him.

Love the Word

Don’t do the Bible study unless you love it… love the passage or prep until you do.

Identify clear transformation

How do you want listeners transformed at the end of the session… even if most of the session applies for a later time, how can they walk away shaped into the image of Jesus?

Image driven

Listeners should have an image to draw from and attach meaning to. Communal listeners should have chance for group activity, sharing, discussion and discovery.


Here are a few principles to help you present what you’ve prepared.

Once you’ve prepared the basics use these principles to shape your points, illustrations so they “stick” during your presentation. Not every category will be equally used in your session but each category should be included… some may be repeated numerous times. And don’t be afraid to change some of your points / illustrations if you discover they cannot be made sticky enough. Usually indicates it is not the main point or very important. Have fun!

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Chip & Dan Heath

Simplicity. So people are not overwhelmed. 

Strip an idea/point down to its core, like a proverb. An idea must be simple and profound. It’s about discarding a lot of great insights in order to let the most important insight shine… Common mistake is getting wrapped into details that you fail to see the message’s core.
Simplify by asking the two questions of Commander’s Intent:

If we do nothing else during the mission next week (or your situation) we must ______.

The single, most important thing that we must do next week (or your situation) is _______.

Unexpectedness. So people will be engaged. 

Violate people's expectations. Surprise them. Grab attention. Generate curiosity.  It’s not about regurgitating the facts but about figuring out the point…why the facts matter!

Identify central message then figure out what was/is counterintuitive (i.e. unexpected implication of the core message) ex. great customer service is common sense…warming a customer’s car in the winter is uncommon sense.

Concreteness.  So people will understand and repeat.  

Express abstract truths in concrete language, in terms of sensory information. 'A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.'  Use images as themes that tie together points…give them something they can hold onto.

Analogies - “it’s like ________”

Credibility. So people will agree.

Help people test the ideas for themselves. Ronald Reagan asked, "Before you vote, ask yourself if you are better off today than you were four years ago."

  • How would you like it if you were there?
  • How has this been true in your life, experience, ministry, etc…?

Emotions. So people will care.

Make them feel something… Abstractions do not provoke feeling.  Why should they feel?  Help them have right feelings.

  • Move the hearts…not just the minds…why should their heart beat fast…engage their beings beyond logic, reasons or experience. 
  • Lead by modeling…does your heart feel your points? 
  • Nonverbal communication is a huge part of expressing and modeling emotion, be aware of what you’re saying without words.

Stories. So people will be drawn to act.

Tell stories that mentally draw people into the situation and predispose them to respond.  Stories act as a mental “flight simulator” increasing our catalog of critical situations.

  • Work to make it feel like a natural telling…even if the story is not about you. 
  • Remember to use: setting - conflict - climax resolution/main point of why you just told the story.
  • Help them feel the story, to put themselves in the situation, what would they like/dislike, enjoy, feel, smell, etc.