Nobody likes a “sad” Bible study group! No Bible study leader likes to feel sad when he or she thinks about preparing for the next meeting. Ironically, one way to prevent a “sad” Bible study is to use the S.A.D. method to prepare for it!
Create a table with four columns and several rows. I usually start with five rows: introduction, first set of verses, second set of verses, third set of verses, conclusion/application. Here’s what to put in the four columns.
1. Column 1: Text. Write or type out the verses in bite-sized chunks. For the introduction row, make some notes about the background and context. On the conclusion row, put your goal or aim for the study. Something like “the group will understand….”
2. Column 2: Say. Make notes about stuff you might want to say about the passage. Alternate translations. Include word meanings and commentary.
3. Column 3: Ask. What questions might you ask? Be as precise as possible.
4. Column 4: Do. What other kind of learning activity might be appropriate? Don’t force it. But try to think of at least one per session.
Say. Ask. Do. Get it? S.A.D.! Is that all? No, that’s the easy part. Now the hard part. Go back and strike through everything you’re NOT going to say, the questions you’re not going to ask, the activities you’re not going to do. Leave only the best of the best. If you can get your plan down to one page, you’ll have enough to make sure your group does not leave “sad”! And you may just be a happier Bible study leader too!
David Francis is Director of Sunday School at Lifeway. He is the author of eleven small books available for free at lifeway.com/davidfrancis or at the iTunes store. His interactive Bible study, Spiritual Gifts, is in its ninth printing and is not free! (But it is available to order at lifeway.com.) He and his wife Vickie teach four- and five-year olds in Sunday School and are members of a small group of empty nesters. Their three sons and their families live in three different time zones—Boston, Los Angeles, and Bryan-College Station.
This article was adapted from Teacher: Creating Conversational Community, by David Francis, Ken Braddy, and Michael Kelley. © 2015 Lifeway Press. Used by permission.