'Best Practices' for Bible Teachers (Part XXVII)
By Buddy Hanson The Covenant News
How's Your Accountability?
Sports coaches don't have to be reminded that they are accountable to not merely provide the correct instruction, but to transform the behavior of a bunch of individual players into a team that plays with one heartbeat. They continually receive feedback from the media, fans, their athletic director, and parents. While pastors are certainly accountable to their church board, and members, in many instances the things that can get them in trouble have nothing to do with the effectiveness of their preaching and teaching. Yet the primary reason God called them into the pulpit was to save and then transform the behavior of their members into conforming their lifestyles to God's Word.
This is why it is important to periodically undergo a self-check on how effective a communicator you are. Even though your congregation may not be evaluating your communication skills, you can be certain that your Lord, Savior and King, Jesus Christ, is doing so.
- Have you been neglecting to weave word pictures into your sermons for those members who are visual learners?
- Is the overriding purpose in delivering your sermons to provide instruction on the process of living the Christian life, instead of merely presenting an accurate exegesis of the text so they can know more about God?
- Do they know exactly what God requires of them as Christians, and exactly where He wants them to get to in their daily behavior, and as Christian parents?
- Can they observe from your behavior that you are giving your best efforts to conform your lifestyle to the truths in your messages?
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
21st century America needs pastors who mirror our 18th century pastors:
- Men who are cultural leaders and who are looked to for God's answers to everyday situations and circumstances.
- Men who will enable their members to determine whether they are living the Christian life as they are commanded by Jesus, or whether they are failing, either because of a misunderstanding of how they are to live, or whether they are simply apathetic about why they have been called into Christ's Kingdom.
The following Communication Check-Up summarizes some key points in
how you can build confidence in your members and become a more
- Show from Scripture that they are members of God's A-Team, and
that God has equipped them with the spiritual gifts to be earthly
winners. Each of us has similar spiritual gifts, which help us to
present a unified testimony for Christ's Kingdom. We also have been
given spiritual gifts that are different from some of our fellow
Christians, and this enables us to help each other grow spiritually in
an area in which we are weak. So, instead of being jealous of someones
spiritual gifts, we must focus on those gifts we have that they don't
have. Together, we can make each other become a stronger and more
consistent and effective servant of God. As former UCLA basketball
coach John Wooden says, "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with
what you can do." Some common areas each of us can practice daily
having a regular Daily Spiritual Practice (Quiet Time)
incorporating the biblical truths from a recent sermon or
Bible study into our worldview and lifestyle
keeping a positive attitude
demonstrating that we are a "team player"
exhibiting leadership skills
- Plant seeds of success by showing and then explaining a positive character trait that they have not seen in themselves. "For most people, it's not what they are that holds them back. It's what they thing they're not." Former college football Coach Gary Barnett says that his mission was to "take the student-athlete where he cannot take himself."
- Let the confidence you have in them be clearly seen. Work with them in setting their spiritual goals, so you can place them in situations in which they can be successful by matching their personal strengths with their spiritual gifts. Guiding and directing them in their Christian walk by focusing on their personal strengths, past successes, hard work, and in how confident you are in them.
- Create an environment where members feel good about themselves and about what they are accomplishing for Christ's Kingdom. Build in some steps they can successfully achieve at the beginning points of their plan so they can build confidence right from the start.
- Present several specific ways to incorporate the biblical truths in your lesson into one's worldview and lifestyle.
- Provide the patience, encouragement and support to your members as they develop their Christian worldview.
- Send an e-mail on Monday of the main sermon points, plus suggested ways to incorporate them into one's worldview and lifestyle.*
Next week's topic is, "How to Build Motivation."
* To receive my weekly TGIMs (Thank God It's Monday), send me your
name and email address. They're free and worth every cent!
 Romans 12.1-2
 Covey, Stephen, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, (Fireside Book, 1990)
 Janssen, Dale, The Seven Secrets of Successful Coaches, (Janssen &
 Maxwell, John, Becoming a Person of Influence, cited in Janssen,
Dale, ibid., Seven, p.145
 Janssen, Dale, ibid., Seven, p.145
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.