EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING

Necessary Ingredients in Spiritual Teaching (part 1)

INTRODUCTION

Any time you are going to cook or bake a delicious dish, you need to check the ingredients you are putting into the dish. You may have the oven on the right temperature; you may have stir up all the ingredients for the right amount of time; you may have carefully measured all the ingredients you put into the dish. YET if you fail to put in the right ingredients, you are wasting your time. (This reminds me of the scene in Coal Miner's Daughter in which Dew buys a pie Loretta made for an auction. When he tasted it, he spat it out because she had put in salt instead of sugar. The right ingredients are essential for any culinary concoction. The same is true for any spiritual concoction.)


THE INGREDIENT OF THE SPIRITUAL GIFT OF TEACHING

Whatever else may or may not be true about you, if you do not have the spiritual gift of teaching, then you are for all practical purposes wasting your time and the time of those who come to hear you. You are going to leave the experience feeling unfulfilled, and they are going to leave your presence without having experienced the presence of the Lord. You may be a great administrator, a great healer of bodies, a great lawyer, etc.; however, if you do not have the gift of teaching, you are basically going to fail in this endeavor. If you don't have this gift, then discover your spiritual gift and use it as the Lord intended.

How do you know whether or not you have the spiritual gift of teaching? Ask yourself the following questions. If you feel strongly positive about the question, give yourself a five; if moderately positive, a 3; if hardly positive at all, a 1. All up your score. You should have a score of no less than 15. Hopefully, it will be more like 20. Prayerfully, your score will be closer to 25. Take a few moments to fill out the questionnaire.

QUESTIONS RATE YOURSELF (1-5)
I am willing to study and prepare for the task of teaching .
I have an ability and a desire to teach .
I have the ability to plan learning approaches .
I explain Scripture in such a way people understand it .
I can give a clear uncomplicated presentation .
Total Score .


Other questions you might like to ask yourself: (1) Do people come away from your teaching having experienced the presence of the Lord? (2) Are the lives of those you are teaching being transformed?

If these answers are no, then you may not have the spiritual gift of teaching. On the other hand, you may have the spiritual gift of teaching; however, there is another problem(s) you might have to deal with. We'll discuss this in the section below.


THE INGREDIENT OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH

This ingredient is vital for the effective Christian teacher. Why? Because when it is all said and done, you should not be the one teaching your class. Rather it should be Christ Himself teaching in and through you. Otherwise, you are doing this in your own strength and power. In that case you are totally ineffective as a teacher. People are not being drawn into a closer relationship with Jesus because of your teaching. They may come away impressed with you; however, they won't come away impressed with Jesus. That is the state of ultimate failure as a teacher.

The lack of this ingredient explains why some people with the gift of teaching are ineffective as Christian teachers. They do have the spiritual gift; however, they are ineffective. I really do look for this in people I ask to teach. I am not looking for the perfect person to teach; I am looking for the person though who is truly sincere in growing in their relationship with Jesus. I am not looking for people who have arrived; rather I am looking to see at which direction people are headed. Are they facing Christ in their daily walk, or are they focusing on self? The direction you're walking on the road of life is far more important than where you are on the road of life. C. S. Lewis states that if 2 men are at the same spot on the road of life and yet are facing different directions, then they could not be further apart. What direction are you facing on this road?

Before Jesus launches into one of His discussions about the Holy Spirit, He says: "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father; and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him" (John 14:21). According to Jesus the only time that He will reveal Himself to a Christian is when that Christian lives obediently in their relationship to Jesus. The obedient Christian teacher is the one God will use to impact the lives of his/her listeners.

Look at the following table and rate how you are doing in these different areas. If you are totally obedient, give yourself a 10; if moderately obedient, a 5; if totally disobedient, a 1.

AREA OF OBEDIENCE RATE YOURSELF 1-10
Your Relationships (when was the last time you asked a person's forgiveness?) .
Finances .
Entertainment .
The Tongue .
Anger Management .


THE INGREDIENT OF BIBLE KNOWLEDGE

Finally, if the Holy Spirit is really going to use you, then you are going to have to know His Word. According to 2 Peter 1:20, 21 the Holy Spirit does 2 things: (1) He wrote the Bible and (2) He interprets the Bible. If you don't know the Bible, especially the Bible passage for that day, then you can't teach the Bible passage. If that is true, then why would the HS use you?

At this point many become frustrated because they don't know the Bible as well as they feel they should. First, each Sunday morning you are not teaching the WHOLE Bible; rather you are teaching just a portion of it. You can master that passage. Second, you have resources at your fingertips which will help you understand that Bible passage. The notes that I give out each Sunday are an example of the resources available to you.

Why do I want you at least to look at these notes? Because they are based upon some of the best conservative works on the Bible available today. Many of the books I consult are recognized among scholars world-wide as being highly authoritative works. All these works are based upon a thorough analysis of the Greek or Hebrew texts. Some of these scholars have devoted themselves completely to the study of just this one particular area in biblical studies. I have just put their works in our language.

If after you have studied a passage, consulted your resources, looked at the notes I have you, and you still don't understand the passage, then either call me or email me. Some teachers will call me on Saturday nights and ask for the meaning of a verse. Recently a teacher at school called me about a particular theological question. I was glad to help them. If I can't help them, then I will do some further research to see if I can answer their question.

God is interested in you teaching HIS Word, not YOURS. The only way you can teach that Word is to know His Word.