'Best Practices' for Bible Teachers (Part XXV)
By Buddy Hanson The Covenant News
The 'Process' of Living the Christian Life
For the most part, many fellow Christians don't understand that if life gives them mud, they should wrestle! The reason for this is that they have not been taught the basic elements of the faith. This is why, as teachers, we must specifically define what it means to live as a member of Christ's Kingdom. Then, we need to help each other to be able to do what we should do, when we should do it, and to understand why it's important to live the way Christ intends for us to live. In addition, we must be careful to teach the same core biblical truths to all age levels, by adapting the instruction to their learning level. By developing this "feeder system" within the congregation, we will have a ready supply of members at early ages who are ready to carry out responsible tasks.
"And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do." Exodus 18.20
This way, when they become teenagers, we can begin building on those values, rather than having to spend time instructing them in the core issues of the faith. Such instruction will also help them not to succumb to peer pressure from some non-Christian friends, or from Christians who do not have a mature Christian worldview. This will call for some of the word pictures in our messages being addressed to the different age levels in the church.
How about you? Do you expect for God to honor His promises to bless your daily obedience, or do you read those promises and then look at current events and conclude, "I know that God's Word is true, but this promise must certainly be meant for another people in another time!"
Being able to communicate in a trustworthy manner is the cornerstone upon which your calling as a pastor, small group leader, and/or parent rests. Regardless of how much you may know about the Bible and how to live the Christian life, unless you can effectively communicate it you should not be teaching the Bible. The on-going process of becoming an effective communicator requires a huge portion of your time, plus a lot of effort. It also requires a lot of personal contact with your learners.
Whether you are just starting out, or have an established track record, it takes time to:
Know who you are (your strengths and weaknesses)
Know whether your day-to-day behavior demonstrates:
How much you care about your learners. As the saying goes, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." Unless and until you build trust with your learners, you have no valid reason to expect that they will "follow" your teaching.
That you are willing to spend the time necessary helping your learners live a more Christ-honoring lifestyle. Your learners need to know that they can trust you, and the only way to develop that is by spending time with them so that you can get to know them, and they can get to know you.
That your concern for their Spiritual growth is sincere, and not superficial, and that you value your relationship to them.
That you lead by example by never asking your learners to do anything that you don't do.
That you incorporate the truths you preach into your
lifestyle and your family leadership.
That you can be trusted to provide sound biblical instruction and counsel. Being able to offer solid biblical counseling is essential, otherwise there is no reason for your learners to look to your messages for answers about how to live. For example, if a football coach kept calling plays that proved to be unsuccessful, do you not think his players would lose confidence in his play calling? They would rightly decide that he doesn't have a clue and their resulting attitude would probably lead to their not executing the play with full confidence.
Good attitudes are worth catching.
Are you doing your best to make yours worth catching?
Next week's topic is, "Are you Teaching the 'Pain of Discipline,'
or the 'Pain of Disappointment.?"
Buddy Hanson is President of the Christian Policy Network and Director of the Christian Worldview Resources Center and has written several books on the necessity of applying one's faith to everyday situations, circumstances and decision-making.