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How to Lead a Workshop to Teach Others to Learn and Tell by Heart

by Elaine Davies

   1. Welcome – introduce yourself

Invite each person to say their name and their occupation or work.

   2. Explain process for this workshop

We are going to use 7 Steps to learn a biblical passage by heart to learn together the story from Mark ___________


Then have the group stand and repeat it after you, line by line. 

    If you have a handout with the 7 step process and the story text, use it. Or refer to the 7 step outline on folks' smartphones, here.
Go over the process.

 4. Practice learning:

Now we are going to follow step 6 and learn the story. (put your handout down)

Let’s hear it again and then repeat it after me. (tell story, then have group repeat it after you)


Now let’s say it all together. Say as much as you can remember with me.


Now I am going to give you 15 minutes to learn as much of the passage as you can. Get up. Walk around. Say it out loud. Expressively, use gestures


Now pair up. So one person will tell the story to your partner. Your partner will have the page to refer to and to help prompt you. Then switch roles and let the other person tell the story again.

If there is time, try one or more of these techniques: 


Other Methods of Learning a biblical passage by heart


  1. Watch for Verbal Threads

What words are repeated?


   2. Study the Passage

Use commentaries, Bible Dictionaries, go on-line (an excellent site is or )

      Consider what happens before and after this passage?


​   3. Give each section titles. Beside each section, write out one word to help you remember the import of the section.


   4. Draw a picture – some people are visual learners – it helps them to draw a picture of the various scenes.


   5. Use all the senses.

Use movement – muscle connections – exaggerate at the beginning, you can always scale back when you tell.


   6. Visualize where people are in the scene.  Map out the placement of landmarks (sea, house, tree) and people.


   7. Rhythm and sound

Watch for the rhythm and tempo in the story - 

Let words guide the telling – slow/fast, loud/soft, tone of voice, feeling in the words, pauses


8.  More Telling Techniques

  1. Remember that people hear 20% and remember 5% of what they hear

  2. Speak up and slow down

  3. Less is more – movement should be purposeful – don’t move around – distracting

  4. Look at people when you tell

  5. At beginning move into telling box – pause, center yourself and then start

  6. Indicate the end

  7. What to do when making a mistake – carry on, try to fit in missing line later, if it is important. Do not stop and point out the error!


Near the End: Tell the story! 

End by having the whole group tell the story again with the leader.



Invite the group to respond to the following two questions:

  1. What as helpful in today’s session?

  2. What was not helpful?


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