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Tired From Teaching?

November 18, 2009

It is easy to get frustrated when teaching, especially when you teach week after week. The challenge of getting the material together, making sure the class is engaged, making sure you are providing relevant application, etc. is not easy. I have found that the times I am most discouraged are when I have focused on all the logistics of teaching and ministry – Do we have a teacher for every class? Is the technology working? Can everyone come to this meeting?, etc. All those questions are important, but sometimes we forget the true purpose of why we teach.

One way I like to refocus is to read the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. The process Jesus lays out for His apostles (and by application, us) is three-fold: make disciples (people who love to learn), baptize them, and continue to teach them. What do we usually think of when we hear the term “Great Commission”? We usually focus on the 2nd part – baptism. Obviously, that is vital – it is the point where we come into contact with the blood of Christ – but I think it is interesting that 2/3 of what Jesus wanted His apostles to do was to teach. Teach, baptize, and keep teaching. In order for baptism to be a true burial with Christ, a person has to be taught and eager to continue learning about God.

Are you teaching a Bible class for small children? You are part of the “disciple-making” process – planting seeds in their hearts. Are you reading Bible stories to your children, or the ones you baby-sit? You are helping them develop a love for learning about God. In a real way, you are fulfilling the Great Commission. It may be years before any of those students becomes a Christian, but their conception of the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God’s love, and God’s Word will have been deeply affected by your teaching.

This affects the way we view conversion. Sometimes, there are people who meet a Christian, that one Christian teaches and converts them. There are many other times, however, when an individual grows up in a congregation, and many teach that person. In that case, it isn’t just one person who “converts” him or her, it is several. I remember learning Bible lessons from my parents, but I also benefitted from the Bible classes, worship services, VBS weeks, etc. they made sure I was exposed to. I can distinctly remember reciting the books of the Bible in a classroom at the Levy Church of Christ building in North Little Rock, Arkansas when I was in 1st Grade. But I cannot remember who taught that class. I have benefitted from so many over the years, there is no way I could ever remember all those who encouraged me along the way to becoming a child of God. Granted, some played a larger role than others, but every contribution helped me to grow. Even if you don’t think your student will remember your name, that child may remember what you teach, and you can be part of the Great Commission.

Or what about teaching those who are already Christians? I am reminded of how important it is to teach Christians by how many Biblical books are dedicated to doing just that – letters written to congregations of Christians. God not only wants us to be saved, but he wants us to be growing and maturing by responding to His Word. So, if you are teaching an adult class and you wonder if you are accomplishing anything, rest assured that you are – you are fulfilling the Great Commission.

Granted, teaching is not limited to a formal setting, and this is no excuse to lock ourselves in our church buildings and stop reaching out to others. But it is a reminder to our teachers – what you are doing is important. It is God’s plan, and He will use it to accomplish His purposes.

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