JESUS ASKED QUESTIONS
Rather than just tell everyone the answer, Jesus led his listeners to conclusions by asking a lot of questions. For examples see Matthew 16:26, or 22:20-21, and check out this cool resource: 173 Questions Jesus Asked.
Questions are a powerful teaching method, especially when teaching to hostile people (like unbelievers). Questions stimulate critical thinking. Good questions make the audience demand answers.
Application: Ask a lot of questions. Don’t underestimate the power of a good question.
JESUS USED VISUAL ILLUSTRATIONS
Jesus often used object lessons to communicate concrete truth to his listeners. He washed the feet of the disciples to teach servant leadership (John 13:3–17). He called a little child to him to discuss childlike faith (Matthew 18:1–4). He described unselfish giving after watching a widow drop two small coins into the temple offering (Mark 12:41–44). When he told the parable of the sower, there is a good chance he was standing near a field.
Visually communicated truth is far more powerful than only spoken truth.
Application: Use objects and visual illustrations. Block out time to be creative and think of ways to communicate your message visually.
JESUS USED REPETITION
Jesus helped his listeners understand and remember his teachings by the use of frequent repetition. He taught the same major themes again and again. For example, Jesus spoke of his death and resurrection over and over again (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33–34), and his disciples still didn’t get it.
Sometimes people need to hear something many times over before they get it. Plus, teachings that get repeated get remembered.
Application: Re re re repeat. Repetition builds emphasis and breeds memory. What gets repeated gets remembered. Find the main point of your message and say it again and again.
JESUS CREATED EXPERIENCES
It wasn’t enough for people to just listen to his teachings. Jesus gave instructions and called them to do what he said. For example, he didn’t just teach the disciples what to do, he then sent them out to do it and report back when they were done (Luke 9:1–6, 10).
Jesus’ teaching demanded action. But not everyone could handle it, such as the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-23). Our experiences test our faith and teach us more than any sermon ever could.
Application: Don’t just tell them what to do. Provide opportunities for them to do it. Create experiences to apply the lesson. Ask, “How could I help my listeners actually live this out?”
JESUS PRACTICED WHAT HE PREACHED
There is no greater example of a preacher following his own teachings than Jesus. Jesus didn’t just teach on prayer; he often withdrew to pray (Luke 5:16).
Jesus lived what he said. He didn’t just talk a good talk, he walked the walk, even through death on a cross.
Application: Practice what you preach. The greatest lessons we teach come from our lives, not our mouths.
If you want to be an effective preacher or teacher, model your methods after Jesus.
Preach the Word, tell stories, be shocking, craft sticky statements, use object lessons, repeat yourself, create experiences and practice what you preach.
This article originally appeared here.