How to Be a Better Teacher

My two primary jobs at Oak Leaf Church are teaching and leading. I don’t think I’m the best teacher out there, and I’m always trying to get better. When we survey our people, way more than 50% say that the primary reason that they attend is the teaching. I’m convinced that people come because of an invite or some kind of promotion, but they primarily stay because of the teaching.

1. BOOKS. I would recommend two books that will give you a good starting point. The Revolutionary Communicator and Communicating for a Change.

2. LISTEN TO OTHER TEACHERS. Listen to other great communicators. There are tons of podcasts out there….subscribe to some of them. Don’t just listen for content – listen for delivery. I regularly listen to Perry, Steven, Mark, and Rob. I think Adrian Rodgers was one of the best preachers ever. I also mix things up and listen to new people. During the month of January, I’m trying to listen to a different message every day.

3. LISTEN TO COMEDIANS. These guys and girls know how to engage an audience and can hold peoples attention for a good bit of time. Listen to them and see how they deliver. Brian Regan, Jim Gaffigan and Mitch Hedberg are some of my favorites. You don’t find many wasted words with comedians. Also watch other public speakers…politicians, artists, professors, etc. You can find a lot of famous speeches online.

4. LISTEN TO YOURSELF. When you teach, make sure you go back and listen to what you said. Even better, watch yourself. Nearly every Sunday night, I watch the video from Sunday morning and critique myself. I listen to what I said, how I said it and watch my mannerisms. Coaches ruthlessly break down game film…I think we should do it too.

5. ASK OTHERS TO LISTEN TO YOU. I actually do this in advance as we’re preparing messages. I ask people on our team for input on the sermon. Between services, I’ll ask a couple people if they think I should do something different.

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2 comments so far

  1. Will Henderson on

    Great thoughts Michael!!
    I especially appreciate your idea of listening to comedians… when you think about it, they have a tough job, the crowd usually has no time for stand ups that can’t their job… I’m going to follow that tip up over the next few weeks. Thanks.

  2. WorshipCity on

    Great stuff! First time I can remember someone referring to comedians and I KNOW it’s the first time I’ve seen a “Christian Church Leader” refer to those 3 comedians! HA. It looks like we’re on the same page, I’d recommend Demetri Martin to your list as well 🙂


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