Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a teacher. For so long I had this desire to be a pastor, and I’m not one now, but I have been acting as Youth Commitee Chairman for the past year and a half in the absence of a Youth Pastor.
When I was going to seminary, I was also teaching in the church. Sure it was two’s and three’s but it was still teaching the Bible. Prior to that, while at Bible college, I taught fifth and sixth grade Sunday School and prior to that, I co taught a youth group in a small Pennsylvania town. It seems like most of my life I have been teaching somebody something about the Bible.
Recently we went through the book of James and chapter 3 discusses teachers. Held to a higher standard, be careful what you say, etc. But the bottom line is, in order to be an effective teacher, the knowledge that is being communicated must come from more than a head filled with theory and facts. This is a great challenge because as we all know, real life change takes more than one week, and yet as teachers we must present a new “lesson” every Wednesday or Sunday. The chance for our ‘wisdom’ to come from a real fountain flowing in our hearts is rare, usually it is some repeated outline or subpoints of the structure of the text with a few, “here’s how it could apply to you” statements at the end. And I don’t like that. I’m not sure what to do about it, but I always try to let my “thoughts be felt and my feelings be thought” (Habits of the Mind). In other words, reading my Bible for a lesson is first reading my Bible for me. And yes sometimes I do have to teach something that isn’t fully implemented in my life, and I hope that I am the kind of person who is honest about that, and not someone who tries to pretend like just because I know it, I must surely be living it.
All the other Bible teachers out there, let me know where you’re at on this…
I recently got together with the teen guys from the youth group and we were all sharing prayer requests, I hope they take seriously what I said and pray that I will be growing into the best child of God, husband, father and son that I can be.