Many of us will begin leading or teaching Bible studies this fall. It might be our first time or fiftieth time, but one thing is certain—we all need to step into our teaching or leadership role with prepared heads, hearts, and hands, so that our teaching, by God’s grace, will be fruitful and effective for the gospel. Here are ten suggestions to help you better prepare for your leadership or teaching role.
(1) Recognize God has given you this opportunity to proclaim Christ. Oftentimes women are either overly confident or under confident in their leading or teaching role. The overconfident woman oftentimes relies on her gifts and abilities to teach and the under confident woman is often focused on her lack of gifts and abilities to teach. In both cases, the remedy is to recognize the Lord has given you this opportunity and will equip you for the job. You can go into class confident that the Christ who called you is the same Christ who has given you the spiritual gifts for the task. And He alone is the Christ you must proclaim.
(2) Repent of your own sins. Make sure that your heart is right before the Lord before you go in to lead a group of women. This doesn’t mean you will have a perfect heart. None of us do. But it does mean that we have a repentant heart that has sought reconciliation with God and with those we’ve sinned against.
(3) Rejoice in the Lord. We need to have a private life filled with prayer and praise before we can lead our women to pray and praise.
(4) Read and study the Word of God, as well as other applicable resources. This means we have to say “no” to things we might really want to do in order to say “yes” to preparing our lesson. As you study, it’s helpful to have a good study Bible and concordance, as well as several good Reformed commentaries on the book of Scripture you’ll be teaching.
(5) Recognize your audience. Know the age of women you’re teaching, their seasons of life, as well as what suffering they are experiencing, what sins they are battling, and what service they are engaged in to edify the church. This will help you better apply what you’re teaching to their lives.
(6) Write your outline and notes. This will help give form to your teaching and further prepare you. It will help you see gaps in your teaching and help you think through things more comprehensively.
(7) Read it out loud. This will help you catch editorial mistakes and will be a good practice run before class.
(8) Rest well. Don’t toss and turn worrying about teaching the next day. Instead, ask the Lord to prepare your heart and the heart of the women, and to bring edification and encouragement to them through the lesson. Pray that Christ will be preeminent in your teaching and that the gospel will be clearly proclaimed. Then get a good night’s sleep.
(9) Rest in Christ who promises His Word will not return void. We cannot change hearts; salvation is of the Lord (Jon. 2:9). Renewal of the mind is His Work. Transformed hearts is His business. Our responsibility is to pray, prepare, show up, faithfully teach Christ, proclaim the kingdom of God, and love the women.
(10) Regularly pray for the women in your class each week by name. Invite them to share prayer requests with you and commit to praying for them. To have women share their suffering and sin with us, or the suffering and sin of their loved ones, and join them in prayer, is a beautiful way to extend our hearts and hands to our sisters in need. Also, join their small group discussion times so that they get to know you and you get to know them. If you have multiple groups, rotate through them. You don’t want to show up, teach, and then leave. You want to shepherd them. And a shepherdess gets to know her sheep so that she can feed them well. Finally, fellowship with them before and after class, asking them how they are doing, what they are learning through the study, and about their prayer requests.
Teaching God’s Word is a great responsibility that we should not take lightly. We need to ask the Lord to prepare our head, heart, and hands so that we might be fruitful and effective for the gospel. May all of us who have the privilege to teach the Word of God be faithful to lift high the name of Jesus, for it is “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me” (Col. 1:28-29).
About the Author:
Sarah Ivill (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) is a Reformed author, wife, mom, Bible study teacher, and conference speaker who lives in Matthews, North Carolina and is a member of Christ Covenant Church. She is the author of Hebrews: His Hope, An Anchor for Our Souls; Revelation: Let the One Who Is Thirsty Come; Judges & Ruth: There Is A Redeemer; 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude: Steadfast in the Faith; and The Covenantal Life: Appreciating the Beauty of Theology and Community . You can learn more about Sarah at www.sarahivill.com.