The adult group I lead will begin using the Explore the Bible Daily Discipleship Guide in the fall. How I prepare will be different, but I think the process will give me more time to focus on other responsibilities I have as the leader of the group. Here is the process I plan on using to prepare to lead my group.
First of all, on Sunday evening I will read the Bible passage listing key words, phrases, places, and people. I will then review the first five pages of the Daily Discipleship Guide for that session and the commentary provided in the Leader Helps in the back of the book. As information is discovered about the words, phrases, places, and people listed, I will record that on my sheet of paper. If needed, I will look at other helps such as the keywords in QuickSource, consult the Explore the Bible Adult Commentary, and read any Biblical Illustrator articles that give biblical backgrounds to the passage. I will pay careful attention to the Apply the Text section for that session, looking for ways I need to apply that passage to my life. The last thing I will do on that Sunday will be to review the teaching plans. Since these are available digitally in the digital bundle and the Leader Pack CD-ROM, I will make adjustments to the plans and then send that file to my smartphone.
On Monday through Friday, I will complete the Daily Exploration activities, one a day. Since I have my group plans on my phone, I can add notes each day as I go deeper into the passage. As the week progresses, I will gather the items I plan to use in the group time including the posters and handouts in the Leader Pack.
On Friday, I will meet with three or four other teachers to share and pray with them. We will also use the Talk It Out feature to spur on our conversation. I am doing what I am asking my group members to do, but I am doing it prior to the group time and will encourage members to meet with a small group after the group study time.
On Saturday, I will pray for group members, send emails reminding them of the passage we will study the next day, and review the plans one more time. A quick double check of posters, handouts, and other items I plan on using will be conducted.
On that Sunday, I will arrive early so I can make sure the area we use is ready and so I can pray. When the first person arrives, the study time will begin. I will follow my plan but will also be ready to adjust as I go.
After the group time is over, I may need to contact the group to encourage them to complete the Daily Exploration section, share gathered prayer requests, and other appropriate information. I will also record insights gained about the act of teaching, group members, and Scripture. Then the process starts all over again.
Using the Daily Exploration features should help me manage my study time better without compromising the quality of my study. Meeting with other teachers will give me a way to bounce around ideas, and hold me accountable for my own spiritual growth. I believe this process will make me a better teacher, for I will have chewed on the truth of a passage throughout the week and will be ready to help my class do the same thing in the week that follows group time.
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