How can I help a brother become a better teacher and preacher?


One brother here that is dependable when it comes to helping me with preaching and teaching.  He has very little experience but will do his best at anything I ask him to do, really a prince of a man.  A few of the members have come to me complaining about his teaching methods.  Although they all agree he is a great guy and no one wants to hurt his feelings, he is hard to understand because he speaks and reads too fast.  Also, that he reads so much and refers to so many verses but does not elaborate or explain them. 

I want to help him all I can and after talking to him just a couple of minutes ago, I suggested that he and I meet privately so I can share a few suggestions that might help him.  Such as:

  • Create a lesson that fits his personality instead of using someone else's. 
  • Speak and read slower.  (More clearly and understandable)
  • Use less verses and elaborate on the ones he chooses to use.
  • Create an outline and I will put it on my power point program for him to use.

If you have any suggestions that might be helpful I would greatly appreciate it.


There is a very small, but very deep book written near the end of the 1800's called "The Seven Laws of Teaching" by John Milton Gregory. It is summarized at: and there is a link there to get a copy of the whole text. It is well worth the time to read, though I had to read it a few paragraphs a day. It is one of those books meant to be read a little bit and then think about it before going on.

It would be worth taking time to study this with your friend (it is biblically based, though written by a denominational writer, and the original audience was Sunday school teachers). One of the points emphasized in the book is that teaching is the transference of knowledge from the teacher to the student. If we grasp that fully, then the teacher must present the knowledge in methods which communicate the information to the student in a form the student can grasp. Presentation without the student's understanding is not teaching. That is why I think the best complement to a lesson is when people tell me they were talking about the subject or bring up a point that I said last week -- even if they disagree. This lets me know that I got something across.

One of the things psychology tells us is that people can only retain, on average, seven ideas. For some it is fewer, for some it is more, but seven is the typical limit. As a result, I write lessons generally with only five points, including the introduction and conclusion. Not that I can't find more to say, but I purposely limit myself so that more is retained. Always, what I keep in mind is that my goal is to have those listening to learn.