Guidelines for Effective Adult Bible Classes

In most cases, churches do not have structured adult Bible class groups with group discussions supplementing lectures.   Typically, there is no homework required or evaluation.   There is no training for leadership, group prayer sessions, and discussion among leaders.   In such cases, elements of suggestions made below can at least be started or implemented.   They are in order of importance:


1.          Leadership lecturers should keep to their text.   Do not use many texts.   Be careful in selection.   Read briefly.  


2.          Posture and Movement When Speaking


            a.          Don’s stay frozen at speaker’s stand.   Move purposefully.


            b.          Maintain eye contact throughout audience.   Don’t keep looking at notes or text.   Don’t just read.   Speak directly.   Communicate personally.


            c.          Maintain strong volume for hard of hearing (Jesus spoke to thousands without a microphone).


3.                   Introductions


a.          Use strong opening statement leading to subject.   Never waste this time with friendly generalities designed to get the audience on your side.   Speak “the oracles of God,” His Word (I Pet. 4:11).


b.          Do not exceed one tenth of your allotted message time on introduction.  


c.          Utilize a “key phrase” from your text.   State your theme clearly.


d.          Lead naturally into the main outline.


4.                   Main Outline


a.          Stay within your allotted time limits.   Too much material with too many points makes this very difficult and leads to rushing your words.


b.          Keep your outline points to a minimum.   The audience gets confused easily and remembers only a very small amount (roughly 10% after one day; 1% after one week).


c.          Make your outline developmental, orderly in thought progression, leading to conclusion.


d.          Parallel the way you head each point of the outline.   All should be united, using questions (rhetorical), clear statements of content (thematic), or the “who-what-why-where-when” formula.


e.          Always begin with definitions.   Never assume knowledge of the simplest things.   Follow any mention of grace with “ undeserved favor.”   Following believe with the idea of obeying and doing.   If you mention the name of a Biblical character, at least in a sentence, say who it was.   If you use a Biblical story, as in an illustration, briefly review the occasion.


f.           Remember the need for illustrations which hearers often remember better than the outline points.   Use illustrations to illuminate, not decorate, or try to be humorous.   There is a place for meaningful humor at times, however.


g.          Challenge thinking at each point (it need not be about salvation always).   Do not accuse or charge your audience or be sarcastic.   Be firm, kind, and pleading in tone, not condemning.  


h.          Move to your climax and then conclusion.


5.                   Conclusion


a.          Make it brief.   Tell them what God would like them to do.


b.          Never review or recapitulate outline points.   Never introduce new points here.  


c.          Close with powerful sentence of appeal or challenge, not “so I leave you with these few feeble thoughts.”