Our classes and groups will only be as “deep” as the people leading them. In leadership circles, they call this the leadership ceiling or lid. The idea is that an organization will not exceed the abilities of the leader or leaders. This ceiling or lid is present at every level within an organization. The same is true for our Bible study classes and groups. They will not exceed the ability of the leader. If we desire our classes and groups to be “deep” then we must invest in helping our leaders dig deeper.
The temptation is for us to dig for them. We organize a weekly teacher meeting with the focus being a preview of the lesson. We do all the studying for them and present our notes as they sit and listen. We may not conduct this meeting in person but may do it by providing notes with the expectation that the teachers will follow our plan with no deviation. Some may argue that this is a way to train others to adapt the resources provided. The problem with this argument is that if we do the digging for them, they will depend on us to do so.
Giving our leaders ideas is one thing, but providing an official script is another. They need to know how to use the resources our churches provide and what they can do to be a better Bible student, teacher, and leader. Too often, we as the leader do the digging for them because we either think our teachers are incapable (we become an enabler for those who are too lazy to study), we are trying to justify our jobs, or because we want to control the actual words shared.
Here are some actions we can take to help our leaders dig deeper.
Model it. Instead of providing a finished set of notes for them to present, we can show them how we create a set of notes using the resources provided by the church. We can allow them to know our secrets and sources so they can be better.
Train for it. When we recruit a person to teach or lead, we should include in their onboarding some type of training that shows them how to dig deeper. The Explore the Bible leader guides all include pages that explain how to use the resource which includes actions that will help the teacher dig deeper as they prepare. We can point them to those pages and walk them through the process.
Resource for it. We can provide resources that help our teachers dig deeper. For our teachers of student and adult groups, we may choose to provide the Explore the Bible Adult Commentary so they can go into the weeds of a verse. (See previous post on the Adult Commentary.) We may even provide our teachers or leaders with a Study Bible like the Holy Land Illustrated Study Bible, which would also be a way of expressing gratitude for their willingness to serve. We can’t expect people to dig without providing the tools.
Facilitate it. If we have a weekly gathering of teachers, we can encourage them to come prepared to share insights they have gained. Invite them to not only share the insight but also tell how they came upon that insight. We may ask how they found what they shared, where they found it, and what tips might help us find that kind of information in the future. Let them be the trainer with us being the one who affirms and provides direction. We will still need to prepare but we are doing so as a fellow Bible student. This approach also makes the meeting about them (and not us), giving the teacher value in the process.
Become familiar with the Explore the Bible resources. Request a sample.