Pointless Teaching, Better Discussion

My messages rarely have a point.

Well, they have a point, but I don’t use it. And to be honest, the entire ministry is better for it.

I recently began to purposefully erase the main point from my messages when speaking to preteens so that our small group leaders could deliver that point. I was tired of giving them all the answers and watching them regurgitate it in small groups, so we made a change. This change has led to a meaningful discussion time in our small groups.

Here is my process for using this new style.

While preparing my message, I include the main points. Then, I go back and replace each point with a question that leads preteens to reach that point on their own. The message raises a felt need of each preteen, leads them to search Scripture, and then they must digest everything within the context of their small group. Instead of regurgitating my points, preteens are having powerful conversations each week that are leading them to study God’s Word and apply it to their lives.

Here are some of the benefits of the new style:

  • Asking questions helps preteens to own their faith and draw conclusions.
  • Asking the questions during the teaching  gives students more time to formulate their thoughts so that they are ready to discuss in small groups
  • Small Group leaders are given credibility and reliability. They are leading the students in discussion and delivering the main point of the message, so they become a source of wisdom for their students. (This has been the greatest benefit because their influence with students is far more important than mine.
  • Asking questions allows more space for the Holy Spirit to move in the teaching time. I realized that my main point was often what God wanted to reveal to me through Scripture, but He often wants to reveal other things to preteens.

No point actually leads to better points.

If the point of the message is not clear and concise, it is really difficult to lead a preteen there with questions. This style has forced me to really focus on what I want preteens to take away from the message.

Does your teaching style help or hurt small group discussion?

This week try teaching without a point and see how is changes the dynamics of your small groups. And then tell us all about it!

7 thoughts on “Pointless Teaching, Better Discussion

  1. Hey Matt….are you coming to the Preteen Leaders’ Conference? I’d love to find out more about this delivery method you are using…I think it would blend well with what we’ve been experimenting with during our Wednesday night programming.

  2. Sean, I will be at the conference and would love to talk more about it. We definitely haven’t mastered it, but it’s fun to experiment.

    J.C., I’ll send you a lesson that followed that format. I’d love to get the feedback. And I’m currently trying to write the Easter series for Preteenministry.net in this format. It’s no joke when I said it was harder to not have a point!

  3. Yeah, I like that idea Matt.
    We are always trying to figure out ways to make the message stick better and to see the lasting results of changed lives. I think your right, in that if we can help the students come to the conclusions on their own, instead of feeding them the answer, that will happen.

    Perhaps my large group lessons need to ask the questions and then guide them to where to get the answers and let the small group discover the answer for themselves.

    Thanks for a great idea!

  4. I would like you to post a small group looks like and how a small group leader leads.. could you post a video of one of yours..

  5. I like this idea and it may be a great way for us to look into teaching… Matt, could I see a lesson you prepared in this format? Thanks!

Comments are closed.