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The Ministry of Sunday School Teaching
By: Mike Spaulding

The Christian educator is an integral part of the formula for building the church (see Matt. 28:18-20). Scripture teaches that members of the body are to be built up or equipped to do the work of the ministry (see Eph. 4:12), and it is this work to which the teacher is called and gifted.

Objectives of the Teaching Ministry
Hundreds of answers could be given to state the objective of the teaching ministry, but they can all be reduced to a few specific goals. Using the word "curriculum" as an acrostic, we arrive at the following aims of the teaching ministry (regardless of the age level).

C - Consciousness of God
U - Unfeigned faith in Jesus Christ
R - Recognition of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and the Lordship of Christ
R - Recognition of the Bible as God's Holy Word
I - Instruction in the content of the Bible
C - Christian world and life view, setting before students a sound philosophy of life
U - Understanding of the Christian home, it's ideas and responsibilities
L - Love of service and ministry for the Lord's sake
U - Understanding of and participation in ministries of the local assembly
M - Maturity of personality and character through response and obedience to God

Seven Laws of Teaching
Gregory's laws of teaching for effectiveness have been around for a long time. They are valuable principles to gaining insight into the ministry of teaching as well as providing a basis for evaluation. The seven principles are

1. The law of the teacher - The teacher must know what he/she is teaching. Study, research, and dedication are necessary to determine what is important to impart to students.

2. The law of the learner - The student must become interested in the material. Unless the teacher gains the attention of the student, learning will not occur.

3. The law of the language - The teacher and learner must have the same language in common.

4. The law of the lesson - The truth to be taught must be learned through truth already known. This requires the teacher to build on an existing foundation of knowledge possessed by the student.

5. The law of the teaching process - Excite and direct the self-activities of pupils and as a rule tell them nothing that they can learn themselves.

6. The law of the learning process - The pupil must reproduce in his/her own mind the truth to be learned. This means acquisition and assimilation of information into appropriate learning models.

7. The law of the review - The completion or confirmation of the work of teaching must be made by review and application. What works best? What does not work well?

Teaching Aims
Teaching aims give direction to the lesson being studied. They must be concise enough to be kept in focus and brief enough to be remembered.

Consider these three general types of teaching aims to consider:

* The cognitive or knowledge aim leads students into a comprehensive and thorough understanding of the lesson through study of the Scriptures.

* The emotive or inspirational aim leads students into a deeper appreciation of Christian truth. This aim is concerned more with feelings than with knowledge.

* The third type of aim is the conduct or response. This approach leads students to express an action in life as a result of the lesson study. This is the goal of teaching - application of biblical truth to life.

Lesson aims are determined to a large degree by the age level of the class as well as the spiritual level of the learners.

Lesson Preparation
Benjamin Franklin once stated that “failure to prepare is preparation for failure.” This statement is nowhere more true than in the teaching ministry. Preparing to teach is just as important (some would argue more important) as the act of teaching itself.

Preparing to teach requires that certain steps be taken:

* The lesson title and its relationship to the lesson series should be noted.

* A review of the questions asked as well as the various lesson titles is helpful in understanding the subject and themes.

* The pertinent Scripture passage must be studied thoroughly.

* Note the lesson aim. The aim is arrived by answering a three-part question: What do I want my students to know (key words, themes, doctrines), feel (what attitudes or convictions), and do (develop and apply convictions, and truth, which is obedience resulting in attitudinal behavioral changes)?

* The teacher should then begin to gather material which will aid in presenting the lesson and which will support the students understanding of it.

* An opening illustration and student activities must be determined in order to lead into the study by creating interest and making the lesson applicable through the students' experiences.

Mike Spaulding has planted two Calvary Chapel churches - Calvary Christian Fellowship, St. Marys, Ohio, in 1998, and Calvary Chapel of Lima, Ohio, in 2005, where he currently serves as pastor. This article is courtesy of Lifeway Christian Resources, www.lifeway.com.

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