You'd be surprised how many students in small groups ask that question in their minds as they listen to a teacher. If you're the teacher, the question then becomes, "do you know the answer?" I've found in my own teaching that sometimes I catch myself chasing a proverbial rabbit and wondering how to stop doing that. Here are some ideas on how to make sure every word you say achieves the objective of the lesson or sermon you've spent hours preparing.
Write Down Your Objective.
Answer these questions every time you prepare a lesson:
When writing your objectives, do your best to be specific. Don't say "I want the congregation to understand Romand 3." Say "I want the congregation to understand the doctrine of total depravity." Understanding Romans 3 is difficult to measure because as with every chapter in the book of Romans, there is a lot to understand. However, you can ask some simple questions of people after the service to see if you have met your objective of teaching total depravity.
Make your objectives student centered.
When writing your objectives, try to stay focused on what you want the student to do. Don't say, "I will demonstrate total depravity by an exercise in which I make up arbitrary rules that are difficult to understand and demonstrate how everyone in the class breaks the rule by the end of LIFE Group and therefore deserves to die." Talk about hard to measure and completely teacher based! However, if you said "I want students to understand their complete inability to reach heaven on their own," you have written an objective based on where you want the students to go, not on how you want to get them there. That comes later in the lesson and sermon preparation process, on which another post will come later.
Teach & preach boldly!
I follow Christ. I have a beautiful wife Megan and three wonderful children, Harrisen, Rebekah, and Carter. I am a candidate for a Ph.D. in ethics from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, have an M.Div. from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a JD from the University of Arkansas, am licensed to practice law in several state and federal courts, and live in Rogers, Arkansas. I write a blog and produce a podcast. And I do it all that others may know Christ.