Teach Others!



It is time for the area’s public and private schools to get back into session. Teachers report early to get ready for the new school year and students follow within days. As the doors open, everyone is sporting new clothing, book bags and a readiness to put the pencil to the paper or rather, the fingers to the keyboard! The summer vacation is over, and now, teachers will teach and learners will learn! So goes the calendar of educational development.

The church has a similar cycle of learning. Teachers are elected for a new church year and September is time for promotion and a re-commitment to discipleship and growing in Christ.

Our church has seen some changes this new year. One beloved Sunday School class has been shuttered after years of being together due to members who have passed or moved on because of death, health or other circumstances. The only remaining member has plans to relocate out-of-state to be closer to family. This is a familiar life-cycle for older adults in an aging church family.

The Golden Circle Class has been a serving, dedicated class of committed Christian women. They have cared for their church family, community, and themselves for over more than fifty years. Their last teacher has been a seasoned former missionary to Korea, Mary Lou Wootton. She and her husband Jim, are exemplary Christian servants. Mary Lou has logged nearly sixty years of teaching abroad and at home though the churches they have served. She has faithfully taught this particular class of ladies for 12 years.

As we think about this new beginning for teachers and learners, what is the key to effective teaching?

1. Teachers who are effective are committed to the Lord and to the Lord’s work. They are in their place each Sunday rain or shine! They are exemplary church men and women who love the people of God in their local church and shepherd them like a pastor does for the entire congregation.

2. Teachers respect the Word of God and teach their lessons to the life needs of their classes. They stay close to the meaning of the text and draw out applications that relate back to it. The authority of Scripture and the transformational work of the Holy Spirit are foremost in their preparation.

3. Prayer bathes everything they do as they read through the Bible text for each lesson. They keep a prayer list of class needs and pursue opportunities to minister to and with class members. They ask God each week to make them a “channel of blessing” as they impart the Scriptures to their class members.

4. Effective teachers grow up other teachers. I remember a Sunday School man from another era who used to say, “The finest compliment to any teacher is to grow up other teachers from their class.” These are mentoring teachers who encourage others to discover and develop their gift for teaching and then find a place of service for that gift.

5. Teachers who impact the kingdom’s work teach and serve out of design, God’s design for their lives. They realize that it is God who bestows the gift of teaching and they feel the stewardship and responsibility for using this gift. This is their motivation. They are accountable to God for what He has given and they use the teaching gift to share Christ with the lost and to build up their class in the faith.

The Apostle Paul counseled his young son in the ministry, Timothy, to use his gift of teaching. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2). My passion these days is to find ways to encourage and resource the next generation of leaders. One important task in this work is to simply pass on what we have experienced in Christ with others. Paul gives us a simple formula: “Teach others who will teach others who will teach others and so on!” This is the high and blessed calling of every teacher!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

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