Church-Wide Fall Curriculum

STEP ONE – Read Passage Repeatedly

Thank you for volunteering to assist in writing a 12 week Sunday School series on Colossians. Open this attached document to see your team and your passage! If you’ve not been assigned partners, please recruit 1 to 3 class/church leaders to assist you in writing. Discuss with your partner(s) how you will tackle the project. You might work independently to begin, and then “compare notes” and use the best ideas in the lesson. Or you might assign different aspects of the lesson to different partners: introduction, points of lesson, application. Communicate regularly so everyone’s on the same page!

Curriculum Team

This webpage is not meant to overwhelm you, it’s meant to give you structure and assistance.

NOTES:

  • As you begin this study, the only book you are reading is the Bible! Do not use commentaries and Bible study helps until Step Two.
  • Use a journal, pad, notebook paper, or computer program to write down notes as you study.
  • Take a few days to immerse yourself in the Scripture using the following ideas.

1. Silently read the entire book of Colossians in one sitting. Then, read it aloud to yourself. Finally, have someone read it aloud to you.

2. Read your assigned passage thoroughly and repeatedly in several different translations.

3. What do you see in the Bible passage? Write six columns on a blank page with these headings:

  • Who?  What?  When?  Where?  Why?  How?
  • As you reread the passage, write down everything that fits in each of the six categories.
4. Read through the passage as a time traveler. Picture yourself in Colosse nearly 2000 years ago. Imagine you are at your church, which meets in a friend’s house, listening to the Pastor read aloud this letter from the Apostle Paul.
  • What do you see?
  • What do you hear?
  • What do you feel?
  • What do you smell?

5. Read through the passage and look for these things:

  • Things that are emphasized
  • Things that are repeated
  • Things that are related
  • Things that are alike/unlike
  • Things that are true to life
  • Any cause and effect
  • Climax of passage
  • Pivot or hinge of passage
  • Questions that are raised
  • The big picture–how does this section fit in to the book of Colossians?
  • Key Words or Phrases

STEP TWO: Study History and Background of Colossians

Ruins of ancient Colosse

The Book of Colossians was written FOR you, but it was not written TO you! Think about that statement. What we call “Colossians” is a letter written by the Apostle Paul and hand-delivered to a group of Christians that met in a house in the city of Colosse nearly 2000 years ago. So to understand how the Book of Colossians applies to us today, we should learn all we can about Paul, Colosse, the culture, and the issues in this new church.
Here are two articles regarding the history and background: Colossians OVERVIEW

Take notes about the following:

  • Author of letter
  • Date & Location of writing of letter
  • Recipients & Location
  • Historical setting
  • Cultural setting

STEP THREE: Read Commentaries About Your Passage

Map of Early Churches

It’s time to dig deep into your passage.  Take lots of notes:

  • Content: What is the passage saying? What’s the point? Can you summarize the passage in one short sentence?
  • Context: What goes before and after the passage? How does this passage fit into the letter Paul wrote?
  • Consultation: What do Bible commentaries say about this passage? (see attached commentaries)
  • Comparison: What other Scriptures give insight to the passage? (a study Bible will help with this)

STEP FOUR: Start Your Lesson Outline

Ruins of road from Laodicea to Colosse

 

You’ve done a lot of work and have pages of notes. Now it’s time to narrow your focus.

Get to the Point

  1. What is the central idea of the passage?
    • What was Paul trying to teach the church in Colosse?
    • What is God wanting to teach our church in Mansfield?
    • If you could say only one thing to our church about this passage, what would it be?
    • Select the one principle you will build your lesson upon.
  2. Take that one principle and word it in a way to make it memorable. You are crafting a “sticky proverb” that best summarizes the main Scriptural principle.
    • Is this statement merely factual, or is it helpful and practical?
    • Will people remember this point 5 minutes after Sunday School?  5 days later?
Support Your Point
  1. What is logical organization of the passage?
  2. How does Paul support his main point? How does he argue for or explain his main point?
  3. Are there “bullet point” thoughts that seem to lead to or follow after the main point?
  4. Focus the lesson points on “here’s how to do this” instructions related to the sticky proverb.
  5. Avoid “you should” principles that usually produce guilt but no fruit.
  6. Without lesson introduction and application, write down the outline of your lesson:
    • Main point (sticky proverb)
      • 2-4 lesson points
  7. BY JUNE 19 send an email to James.Scarborough@WalnutRidge.cc with your main point and 2-4 lesson points to be printed within the learner’s guide that will be distributed to our church.

STEP FIVE: Ask “What Do I Want Them to DO?!”

 

Why Does This Matter?

Your lesson has explained what Paul intended to teach the Colossians 2000 years ago. Based on the lesson, now focus on what “one thing” we’re asking members of our classes TO DO in the coming week. This application should answer a distracted class member’s question: “So what? What difference does this make?”

1. What does this passage teach me about God?

2. What does this passage teach me about the church?

3. What does this passage teach me about life in this world?

  • Is there an example for me to follow?
  • Is there a sin to avoid?
  • Is there a command to obey?
  • Is there a prayer to repeat?
  • Is there a promise to claim?
  • Is there a condition to meet?
  • Is there a verse to memorize?
  • Is there an error to avoid?
  • Is there a challenge to face?

4. What does this passage teach me about myself? About my own desires and motives?

5. Does this passage require that I take action? If so, what action should I take?

6. What do I need to confess and/or repent of?

They Should Say: “I Will Do That!”

Your lesson closing should deliver a challenge that will be accepted!

Don’t just focus on an individual’s need to apply the Scripture. How does obeying the Scripture improve our class’s ministry to each other? Everyone should ask:

In response to what I learned from this passage, what will I DO that will improve our Sunday School class, our church, or our community?

STEP SIX: End with the Beginning

Why Should They Listen?

Wait. Huh? Why did I write the “closing” of my lesson before I wrote the “opening?” Simply put, when you know what you’re going to ask the class TO DO, you know how to get their attention and point them in the right direction!

  1. What is an attention-grabbing way to engage the class?
    • Perplexing Question
    • Story or Parable that Illustrate lesson
    • Thought-provoking Quotation
    • Visual demonstration
    • Statistic that motivates response
    • Startling but true statement
    • Personal anecdote or experience
    • Movie clip or quote
    • Expert opinion
    • Physical object that illustrates point
    • Testimony or success story
  1. Will my lesson opening draw them into the Scripture we’re studying?
  • Since I know the “one thing” I want them to do when the lesson is over, how can my introduction help guide them to this action?
  • Will my introduction creatively tell them the point of the lesson they’re about to hear?
  • Idea Starters  (note: these are shared to give you creative ideas, we are not endorsing their content, theology, or morals; use Biblical discernment on all websites)

    STEP SEVEN: It’s Finally Time to Type

    Review Your Lesson Outline

    • Opening/Introduction
    • Main Point
      • 2-4 Supporting Points
      • each with illustration
    • Application

    The lesson that you write is not all the Sunday School teachers will receive. They will also be given some commentary and Biblical background material (different sources from what you received.) So you do not need write your lesson as in-depth verse-by-verse “commentary” on the passage.

    Write As If Speaking

    The easiest way to write your lesson is to act as if you are speaking to a Sunday School class. Instead of talking, type! Format your lesson as follows:

    • TITLE
    • SCRIPTURE
    • MAIN POINT
    • OUTLINE OF YOUR LESSON

    Text of lesson:

    • INTRODUCTION (Grab their Attention)
    • POINT 1 (with illustration)
    • POINT 2 (with illustration)
    • POINT 3 (with illustration)
    • APPLICATION (Call to Action)

    STEP EIGHT: Get Feedback, Edit, & Submit!

    Does This Make Sense to You?

    You’ve spent a lot of time on this passage and on this lesson. You get it! You grasp it! You understand it!  But….does anyone else?!

    Select 3-4 wise and discerning class/church members and ask them to give you helpful feedback in writing within the next couple of days. Send them a copy of your lesson with some questions like these:

    • What is communicated clearly?
    • What doesn’t make sense?
    • How can I say it better?
    • Does this lesson compel you to action, to change, or to do something?
    • What could make this lesson better?
    Gather and read the feedback you have received.
  • Humbly and prayerfully swallow your pride 🙂
  • Read the comments with an open heart and an eye toward improving your lesson
  • Edit and update your lesson
  • AND FINALLY…