One important aspect of teaching is to be engaging. In part, that means engaging the WHOLE person. We encourage you to teach in a way that connects with every aspect of your hearers’ personality – mind, emotions, and will.
Teach to engage the mind.
Since God’s Word communicates God’s truth, this is the starting point in teaching. You engage people’s minds by presenting truth in a way that they can understand and accept. You do this by explaining what the Bible means. Provide some background information and context. Make the connection clear between the Bible and your conclusions. Be sure the ideas you present make sense and clearly relate to each other. Anticipate logical questions and objections that your points will raise for your hearers.
Teach to engage the emotions.
God created us as emotional beings. A great deal of the Bible addresses our emotional life. Philippians talks about jealousy, joy, worry and contentment. 2 Corinthians deals with sorrow, despair, and hope. So in teaching, you can connect with people emotionally by saying things like, “I’m so encouraged / excited by this truth.” or “When I’m afraid, it’s good to remember what God says.”
Part of emotional life is motivation. Teaching that only outlines facts, but fails to inspire, misses the mark. Address what people aspire to by saying things like, “I know you want to make a difference with your life.” or “I don’t know about you, but I want to be a great dad!”
Be aware of factors that might affect the congregation emotionally. Has there been a suicide at the high school? An death of a church member? A layoff at a major employer? A number of babies born? Did the local team just win a championship? Keep the overall emotional tone in mind.
Teach to engage the will.
Because human beings also make choices, our teaching must help people put the Bible into practice. We don’t just expound the truth or stir the emotions. People need to be challenged and encouraged to make choices that apply God’s Word. Help them connect the dots from ideas to actions.
Suggest one or two applications that fit with the principles of the message. You could offer something for parents and something for teens, or applications for men and for women. But keep it focused. Don’t give them a long list of options. If one or two choices stand out, people will know what to do with the truth.
A simple tool for engaging the whole person.
You can imagine what happens when we only teach to one aspect of human personality. So as you plan your teaching, for each point in the message, ask these three simple questions:
- How does this point speak to the mind?
- How does it speak to the emotions?
- How does it speak to the will?
You don’t have to slavishly make every point address each of these elements. Some points will naturally speak more to one aspect and less to another. A lot of that will be determined by the tone of the biblical text you’re using. But over the course of the entire message, don’t neglect any part of the human personality, or your teaching will become disconnected from real people’s lives. As you prepare, ask those three simple questions as a reminder: are you engaging the whole person?
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- How do you know if a message is effective in engaging the mind?
- What is the result if a message only engages the mind?
- How do you know if a message is effective in engaging the emotions?
- What is the result if a message only engages the emotions?
- How do you know if a message is effective in engaging the will?
- What is the result if a message only engages the will?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.