There have been many great Bible studies, many excellent object lessons, many fabulous sermon, and many thought-provoking devotionals that have great content, but they don’t accomplish anything. Why? Because they lack a quality application. What good is a Bible study on sharing the Gospel with your friends if, after you leave the building, you don’t do anything different? If a Bible study/sermon/devotional/object lesson doesn’t cause any change – it’s useless. Good application is key.
In Bible school I was taught the “Hook, Book, Look, Took” teaching method. Here is that method in a nutshell:
Hook: Get their attention.
Book: Find out what the Bible passage says.
Look: What is the principle to be learned?
Took: What are you going to do about it?
Many times hook, book, and look are present – but took is no where to be seen or else is really weak. If you want to see change happen because of your teaching, here are three keys to successful lesson application.
#1. Make It Easy To Do (Realistic)
How many people make New Year’s Resolutions only to have them last 3 days? The exact same thing often happens after a Bible lesson. You hear a message about reading your Bible more, so you decide you’re going to read 20 chapters a day. Is that realistic? Perhaps for some – but not most people. So what happens after 3 days? Nothing at all. It’s too hard and so they give up.
The key is to make it easy. Take baby steps. If you currently read one verse a day, try reading two. If you read for three minutes, try reading for five.
If your lesson is on witnessing to others, don’t send your youth group out to do street evangelism (not yet, anyway.) Maybe have them start by asking their friends at school if they believe in God. Don’t overwhelm them with an unrealistic task. Make it easy.
#2. Make It Measurable
After a lesson in honoring your parents, which of the following applications do you think is more effective?
- “This week honor your parents more.”
- “This week write a note to your parents thanking them for something they’ve done for you.”
If you chose #1, after the week is over, how will you know if you actually followed through or not? But by choosing #2, there is no doubt whether you did or you didn’t. Your success in applying the lesson is measurable.
#3. Be Specific
This one goes hand in hand with “Make It Measurable”. When applying a lesson, you need a specific target to shoot for. If you don’t know what you’re shooting for, you’ll likely miss. For example: “Love your family more” is much more difficult target to hit than “Don’t punch your brother when he comes in your room.”
#4. Have Accountability
Write it down. If you meet regularly, do a checkup on each other and see if everyone followed through. Application without any accountability rarely makes any significant change in a person’s life.
So there you have it – applications should be easy, measurable, specific, and followed up on. Those are the four keys to successful lesson application that changes lives.