Five Key Elements in Leading a Devotional
1. Wake Up
At the beginning of the teaching there needs to be a connection that wakes up the listener. This could be a funny story, an active group participation question, or maybe a current news story. The idea is to draw the listener into listening.
2. Word Up
As communicators of the gospel in our place of ministry, we want our messages centered around the Word—around Jesus and the Scriptures. Whether it’s a key verse or a story from the Bible, it’s important to try and not fit our best ideas into the Scripture, using it as a proof text. Instead, out of our study of the Bible we find out what it is saying and talk about that. During your teaching it is important to read the Scripture or tell the story well, even repeat or highlight parts of it as you go along to help participants understand.
3. What’s The Point?
Throughout the lesson there needs to be the one main point. Andy Stanley would call it your “sticky statement”. What is the lesson about? What do I want the participants to do? If I’m taking listeners from here to there, what is the “there”? This point could be declared right up front, you could land on it later, but often it is helpful to say it a few times throughout the message so that it sticks.
4. Why Do I Care?
We also need to give participants the “why”. Why do they want to go from here to there? Why do they want to do what you’re suggesting they do? What is their motivation? Most people don’t like to be told “just do it because I say so.” They like to know the “why” and we should think through and explain it, even if it’s only a sentence or two. This is a great time to engage with questions and discussion to discover the “why” together.
5. What Do I Do?
Finally, the last key element is the “what” or “how”. This is the explanation of how the main point is actually lived out. Think about what your participant’s world looks like and how they might live out what you’re calling them to. We are teaching for life transformation, not just filling heads with information. Talk about how to live out the truth.
Remember, these 5 elements can be in a different order than what’s here, but they are all needed within the lesson. Feel free to use story, humour, creative elements and teach out of who you are. Have fun with it!
Printable PDF: Five Key Elements in Leading a Devotional
SAMPLE PDF: 5 Elements Forgiveness
Discovery Group Study
The Discovery Group Study model, as taught in CS Volunteer Training Workshops is an outline used with great success around the world to help anyone lead a Bible study in an engaging and interactive way that presents God’s truth and applies it to life.
Printable PDF: The Discovery Group Format, Facilitator’s Guide
Printable PDF: Prayer in Discovery Group Studies
Printable PDF: Discovery Group Study print 2 per page
Hook Book Took Look
HOOK, BOOK, LOOK, TOOK is an outline to help you lead a bible study in an engaging and interactive way that presents God’s truth and applies it to life. It provides a clear direction and focus for the truth being presented to help engage participants.
HOOK is something to get people’s attention. You might use a question, a story, a video or something to show them that they need to pay attention and that this is something meaningful for their life.
BOOK is where you use the passage of Scripture or a truth that you are trying to bring understanding to. You want to help the people to understand what the truth is that you are trying to share.
LOOK is taking that truth and then applying it in our lives. This is where things like dialogue, questions, illustrations, stories, and other tools can be used to help people make the connection and application in their lives.
TOOK looks at the question, “How are they actually going to apply it?” It’s the, “So what? If that’s the truth, then what am I going to do about it?”
Printable PDF: Hook Book Look Took
SAMPLE PDF: Forgiven of Many Sins
SAMPLE PDF: Jesus Calms the Storm
SAMPLE PDF: Living in the Light
SAMPLE PDF: True and False Prophets
Small Group Lesson Template-CRU
This is a loose guide to help you prepare and lead a devotional with a small group. It will give you guidance through the objective of the lesson, connecting the study to where they live, leading them through Scripture, and helping them to have a heart-level response to Christ.
Determine the learning objectives in response to the following questions:
What do I want them to understand and believe?
What do I want them to experience?
How do I want them to respond to Christ? (Be sure your application is aimed at heart-resistance to Christ).
Launch: Connect the study to where they live
Ask questions that will cultivate interest in your study by raising a problem or issue that your passage addresses. (At this stage, your link to the “fallen condition” your passage addresses may only be implicit).
Explore: Lead them to investigate the Word
Survey the big picture:
Give them a brief overview of the context they need in order to understand your passage.
Explore the passage:
Ask exploratory questions to help them discover what God said. You can group your questions following the divisions of your textual outline (e.g. Eph. 4:1-6, 7-16). You will use the following types of questions:
What does it say? (Observation Questions)
What does it mean? (Interpretation Questions)
Why does it matter? (Significance Questions)
Discover the big idea:
Ask a question to help them catch the main point of the passage.
Apply: Lead them to a heart-level response to Christ
Remember that your teaching will be most effective when it is aligned with God’s redemptive purposes. Through Scripture God intends “to restore aspects of our brokenness to spiritual wholeness” so that we might reflect and enjoy His glory. As fallen creatures living in a fallen world, we are dependent on God’s redemptive work not only for our conversion but also for the process of growing to maturity. (Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching, pp. 269-70)
Ask a couple questions that help them envision what it would look like practically to live out this passage.
Ask a couple questions that expose heart-resistance to Christ. Help them see how they experience the “fallen condition” this passage reveals (i.e. some aspect of their brokenness that requires the redemptive work of Christ).
Ask a couple questions that point them to Christ. What aspect of God’s redemptive work do they need to believe and embrace in order to reflect and enjoy God’s glory?