I grew up in a small Missionary Baptist church located in the country, and I loved it. I am so grateful for all the lessons learned and the foundation that it gave me. Before worship service, we had about an hour of class time known as Sunday School. It was a time to ask questions and to take a dive deep into the Word of God.It was a peaceful and reflective time. As an adult, that period was the same. A time for insight and to slow down to understand the Word. Sunday School is a little bit different now. Churches today may have an adult Sunday school class listed under “small groups” or bibles study group. Today’s Sunday school class may not even meet on Sunday.
And, “Sunday School” can be entirely online now. And, that is okay too. The important thing is that you are getting that time studying the Word of God, reflecting on it and understanding how to apply it to everyday life. In this blog post, I want to provide a few tips and resources for your adult Sunday school class or bible study. You’ll find ideas for lessons as well as tips for your next group meeting.
It was a peaceful and reflective time. As an adult, that period was the same. A time for insight and to slow down to understand the Word.
Sunday School is a little bit different now. Churches today may have an adult Sunday school class listed under “small groups” or bibles study group. Today’s Sunday school class may not even meet on Sunday. And, “Sunday School” can be entirely online now. And, that is okay too.
The important thing is that you are getting that time studying the Word of God, reflecting on it and understanding how to apply it to everyday life.
In this blog post, I want to provide a few tips and resources for your adult Sunday school class or bible study. You’ll find ideas for lessons as well as tips for your next group meeting.
Use Curriculum That you Trust
A Sunday school curriculum is usually broken up into weekly lessons that may even include daily readings or actions to complete. It is engulfed in-depth commentary and backed by scripture, especially in the Teacher’s Guide. Other sections that may be included are prayer, memory verse, lesson aim or goals, lesson application, and discussion questions.
If you are looking for material as a teacher, you may want to check out the faith-based organizations listed below. These companies provide some high quality curriculum that you may be interested in.
Although I have reviewed material from each of these companies, I am most familiar with RH Boyd. But I do believe that you would get great quality lessons from any of the companies I listed.
These faith-based organizations are affiliated with a specific denomination, but it can be useful for any Christian educator. These companies also have electronic lessons that are available for purchase so that you can download it quickly for use.
If you are affiliated with a church, you might also want to check with your Pastor or education team to see if your denomination may have similar Sunday school curriculum.
Consider a Bible Study or Book
If you are looking for a less formal approach to your adult Sunday school lessons but would still like some structure. You might choose a bible study. These are just a few authors that you might want to consider. In some cases, they may have a book accompanied by a study guide.
Jennie Allen – I really enjoyed her book “Anything”.
Joyce Meyer – Battlefield of the Mind is a great choice.
Stormie Omartian – I absolutely LOVED the Power of A Praying Woman
Sarah Jakes Roberts
DIY Adult Sunday School Lesson?
If you choose to create your own Sunday school lessons, I suggest that you do so prayerfully. I have always used a Sunday school curriculum or a Bible study guide. And honestly, I think you save alot of time using resources that are already out there and can be confident in knowing that it is sound material that you will be presenting to God’s people.
However, I am not trying to discourage you from doing your own thing, especially if you have a heart for this. But, you want to be sure that you are equipping God’s people accurately and effectively.
If you are creating Sunday school or bible study lessons to present to members of a congregation, be sure you get the permission of the Pastor and/or Christian Education team. If you are doing it outside of church, I would recommend still having a Godly mentor to help you prepare for the lesson.
As the small group leader, you may want to ask your class or group members about lesson topics that they might be interested in as well. You could even choose a book or verse of the bible to focus on for a period of time. This will help to create some buy-in for participation when your time together actually begins
Other Things to Consider
Whether you have a standard curriculum or going DIY, here are few things to consider for your adult Sunday school or bible study lesson.
1. Admit what you don’t know or understand – As the Sunday school teacher or small group leader, you will be looked at as the expert of your lesson. However, you want to make sure that you are transparent with things that you might need clarification on.
In my last six week Bible study, I let my group know up front that I wasn’t a Bible scholar, but I would always try and find them an answer or resource. The Bible can be interpreted differently by each one of us, but you shouldn’t be quick to provide controversial advice.
2. Provide a study guide – Most standard curriculum or bible studies will have a participant book, that will provide instructions for the week. So, you will want to make sure that your group members have access to this.
3. Send Reminders and Follow-ups – Our world is so busy these days. I have to put things on a written and digital calendar to remember. So, do not hesitate to send reminders to your class. You might consider multiple formats as well such as text and e-mail. If you promised a resource or there was something spectacular that was shared during your meeting time, be sure to do a follow-up after each class.
4. Get Your Class Involved: If you are just starting your Sunday School class or bible study, it might take a couple of weeks before you want to encourage your group to take more ownership. But, you may ask them to read, take a bible verse to reflect on, or even come up with a challenge or icebreaker.
5. Be prepared – Chances are you will have a few group members, who will not have gotten to read the lesson ahead of class. So, be sure that you have prepared for your lesson as the teacher.
I would encourage you to seriously take your week to prepare for the lesson and take notes. I have had times, where group members agreed to take a section of our time together, and then totally forgot about it. If you are doing your own study, make sure you have a routine outline of how you want your lesson and/or class to flow.
6. Show Grace – As I mentioned before, sometimes it will take your members every ounce of energy they have left to attend your class. They may have not read anything or even remembered what was discussed last week. So, you want to provide an encouraging word to all of your group members. Re-assure them that you are just happy that they are in attendance.
7. Stick to Your Time Frame – You shouldn’t have any problem with this, if you are doing this before worship service. But, you will want to make sure that you stick to the time frame, especially for online groups. I always here my Mother-In-Law say that you can’t preach the entire bible in a whole day. I think the same can be said for an adult Sunday school group or small group. I have found an hour is the maximum time that you would want to take for a bible study. And, if you are done early, do not feel the need to fill the entire group time every single session.
Bonus Tip: Mix It Up
Whichever approach you take, I encourage you to mix it up. You may want to step away from your routine format and outline every once in a while. Here are 3 suggestions to do just that.
- Use a different tool – Christian Coloring Pages. One of my most memorable small group times, is when we selected one word as our own personal theme for the year instead of New Year’s Resolutions. It was great to hear what all of the ladies in my group came up with and why. We talked about our background scripture and really shared an intimate moment together. The tool can be fun and relaxing too such as Christian coloring page or a word puzzle.
Take A Field Trip – Get out and do something together as a class. Make your adult Sunday school lesson or bible study come alive.
Have a Guest Speaker – I did this recently with a women’s bible study group. We were studying a book on marriage. And, we invited a minister who had been married over 30 years. She dropped so many gems for the ladies and she definitely confirmed some things that we had been studying.
Is there anything that you would add to this list? I think the key to mixing it up is just taking a break from your standard curriculum and incorporating things that would not require much (if any preparation) for the leader and class members. You are welcomed to grab a few coloring pages or other tools in my Subscriber’s Library to add a unique component at Bible study.
I hope that you have found these suggestions to be helpful as you think about your next adult Sunday school lesson or bible study. I pray that God lead you as you prepare for your next adult Sunday school lesson.