Recently, my sweet friend, Katie Orr asked a question on Facebook that I responded to. It cuts to the core of a question that I’m often asked as well.
“What is some of your best advice about preparing to teach God’s Word or speak at a ladies’ event?”
I think the reason we teach God’s Word and why we speak at women’s events has to be examined so we understand the foundation of why we do what we do. So, let’s start there.
Teaching God’s Word is a calling and a privilege that God gives to those whom He chooses. He is the One who gifts teachers with the ability, the passion, and the prompting to teach His Word.
- So, it starts with a calling given by God to the believers He chooses. (Teachers can’t boast about or be intimidated by a gift God gave them. They can only boast about God. I love that! No room for pride and no room for worrying if you’re capable enough. If He called you to it, your job is to stir up the gift He has given you and walk in your calling.)
- Then you have to be a Christian who loves God and loves His Word deep down to the core of your being.
- Finally you have to be a woman who truly loves the ladies you will be teaching with a sincere, Jesus-kind of love.
That’s brief, but it pretty much sums up the basics of why we do what we do.
When Katie asked Bible teachers to share a tip for how they prepare for teaching God’s Word, I knew I wouldn’t be able to share just one.
For me, preparing to teach is pretty hard to compartmentalize into one good tip.
I know I have to get filled up in order to be poured out. I also know that teaching God’s Word is serious business.
We are called to teach Scripture accurately and clearly. That means a lot of time goes into every message.
Pray. Dig deep. Dig deeper. Pray some more. Write It Out! Make your message a journey with a solid, biblically grounded, and practical place to land. Pray some more. Fine tune it. Internalize it. And pray some more. Take a friend. AND…When possible, provide resources to take home so they can continue growing in that area long after the event is over.
Pray for wisdom – for the event leaders and the details – for God to draw the lost to the event and for their salvation – for the saved to be encouraged and for God to speak to each heart in the place of its greatest need. Pray that God will use you as a voice to covey His heart to theirs.
2. Dig deep:
Study to get a very clear contextual, precept-upon-precept understanding of what you are teaching. While sometimes, you will want to refer to commentaries, it’s important to remember that Scripture is Scriptures best commentary. Where else in Scripture is the crux of that passage found? What are the supporting verses for it? What was the context of the supporting verses and what is the context for the main tex? Who? What? Why? What was the biblical precedent and cultural context? Who was the audience and why? There is so much more than a surface understanding of God’s Word. Find what it is.
3. Dig deeper:
Study the original language of the passage to get a deeper understanding of the passage. My favorite thing to do is to look up almost every word of the passage in the original language to help me understand exactly what it is saying. I can’t teach what I don’t know.
4. Pray some more:
You’ve filled yourself up with the Word, but now you need wisdom to know how to communicate it well. God knows who is going to be there and what they need to hear from that specific passage. So, pray some more for clarity to be able to communicate His Word well.
5. Write It Out! Make your message a journey with a practical place to land:
A message taught from God’s Word isn’t a conglomeration of facts. It’s not a list of well worded stories. It’s a huge privilege to share the truth of Scripture that comes with a huge responsibility to share it clearly and accurately. I’ve always looked at teaching like I was taking the ladies on a journey with me through the Word in a way that, prayerfully, spiritual light bulbs would go on and lives would be changed. So, I make it a journey with specific truths and practical, applicable points along the way.
6. Pray some more:
Pray for what you need to change, tweak, say differently, or leave out. and then…
7. Fine tune it and mark it for easy viewability:
Teachers learn a lot while preparing and we can’t teach everything we learn. We have to stream line each message for each specific event. Whether you go old school and hand write your notes, type them and print them from your computer, or use an iPad when you speak, you need to mark it in a way that makes the verses, highlights, quotes, and primary points visible. I color code specific things using markers and highlighters. Red = Verses; Blue = Quotes; Green = Main Points; Green Arrow = PowerPoint Slide; Circle specific words with relevant color; Draw box around specific headings to be sure I don’t miss them.
I realize this makes my page a bit colorful, but I rarely look at my notes, and when I do, those colors, circles, and boxes help me know where I am at a glance.
8. Internalize it:
Go over the message as many times as possible. Read through it. Go over it out loud so you can feel comfortable presenting it. Make it a message you know… not one you have to read.
9. Pray some more:
Prayer is essential for every teacher. We can do nothing apart from the Lord. So, pray and pray some more.
10. Take a friend:
If I’m speaking at an event, I always try to take a friend who share the same heart to minister to the ladies at the event. She can not only take care of the behind the scenes questions and needs the event directors may have, she can also minister to the ladies at the event. It’s an extension of your ministry to have someone help you reach out to the women there. Remember…two are better than one!
11. Get a list of attendees when possible:
If you are able to get a list from the event coordinator, you will be able to pray specifically for each individual attendee by name. It’s such a blessing to pray for each lady. God may lay something specific on your heart for a specific woman for reasons you may or may not ever know. But there is a beautiful love and connection that develops when you pray individually for each woman there.
12. Use Visuals and Provide Resources when possible:
Visuals help engage more senses and enable the attendees see what you’re saying, not just hear it. Use visuals whenever you can. Something that will help the message stick. If you are going to provide a PowerPoint, get it to the event coordinator as soon as possible. That’s a great visual to use as well. And send everyone home with something that will enable them to live out the message long after the event is over. After all, that’s what you want right? To impact them with the life-changing Word of God in ways that will continue long after you’ve left? Create resources that will assure that can happen.
There ya go! That’s 12 preparation tips for Bible teachers and event speakers.
Now you’re ready… and when you finally get to the event, you are confident that you’ve done everything you can to fill yourself up. Now go give them everything you’ve got! Be poured out for those precious ladies as you present the powerful, life-changing Word of God.
There’s little I love doing more.