MESSAGE TO THE TEACHERS OF THE WORD OF GOD
If you are teaching a class and you invite the group to participate in the discussion then you may be inviting disagreement with your position. Be ready to gracefully handle that and don’t take it as a personal assault. If you take it personally and get defensive, maturity is in order. You’re not in a position to shove your theology down your hearer’s throat. Explain your position. They are responsible for their salvation. If they want to reject what you teach and you are truly teaching God’s Word, that’s on them. You deliver the information backed by scripture as you understand it, or, if it is your judgment, then state the fact that it is your position on a matter. If they do not agree with you, in most cases it is not the best judgment to make a statement like “You are wrong and here is why are wrong…..”. There is a place and time for that kind of rhetoric, and if it is, then take it, and be bold, but report it to the authority so they know what is happening inside the group. That person (Pastor, Head Monkey in Charge, etc) needs to know if there is potential disruption or that someone may be offended.
I am not against offending people for the right reason. But those with oversight of the church need to understand what is happening inside. You need to make good, loving, understanding judgments, but that should not make you a “pantywaist”.
The points of this message are not intended to “yellow pencil”, “institutionalize” or control you. Take it or leave it! We need cowboys and mavericks. Yes, you should be submissive, but you don’t need cold water poured on your gifts! Use them, but also listen to wisdom.
Some Good Preaching Habits
1. “Here is what the Bible says…”
Read and explain context, but don’t say it says something is doesn’t.
2. “This is what I say and why…”
3. “This is what this person / group / theory / church teaches…”
4. Show how these things affect our lives.
5. Show your students what YOU BELIEVE they need to ….
You are in the position, they/we are listening to you. We are listening to you under the premise that you are qualified and able to help us grow. So, help us. Let God’s Spirit drive you! We understand that you are an imperfect fallible man, but you are still held to a higher standard. Make sure you reflect that humility. But don’t let that make you timid about the word of God. Don’t believe that because you have been given the opportunity to teach, it qualifies you. You must BE that man.
Some Bad Preaching Habits
1. “This is what the Bible means”…
If it divinely means that, then it will tell you it means that somewhere. You don’t get to say what it means. Unless you are one of the “holy Men of God” from 2 Peter 2:21. Otherwise it is your opinion! Don’t quote yourself as scripture, that is a dangerous place to hang out. Pro 30:6 Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
2. Preaching theory as fact without scripture back up.
Don’t preach a concept as the word of God if that concept is not found explicitly and thoroughly explained in the Bible. Notice, I DID NOT SAY DON’T TEACH THEORY! Just make sure you differentiate your word with that of the Word of God. Don’t trash up God’s Word with your screwy judgment. If you claim authoritatively your word; as God’s Word, you are trashing His Word. I am not saying that you must qualify every statement you make: “This is what God says…..”, “This is what I say….” It’s just like this information that I’m giving you right now. It is from me, not from God’s word unless I have either shown it to be so, or it is by nature so.
3. Don’t say “This is why God made the bird fly in the sky”
If God did not give a reason for what He did, don’t give His reason for Him. Do not give His intentions and purposes when He has not declared them. I hear preachers and teachers do that a lot. We don’t need to know the answer for everything. Little kids often ask, “Why Daddy?”. Sometimes the answer needs to simply be “Because I said so.” We, as Americans, are full of the notion that we have the right to know the cause of events and everything must pass our judgment. We are the jury, we are self-governed and vote so we approve those over us. It is an attitude and approach that lacks humility and submissiveness. We think we have the right to know. Sometimes, God just says it is so, and we need to be OK with that and not think that because we are in a seat of teaching that we can and should answer all questions. As a teacher, it can pull on your pride to provide an answer when someone asks you a question or when you answer a question that is probing in peoples minds, when you do not have the Biblical answer. If you answer, “I do not know why God made the bird fly, God does not indicate in His Word, but if you look at the beauty and gracefulness of the Eagle, isn’t it a testimony to the magnificence of God’s creation”. You use your judgment in that case and expound on God’s word, but did not declare that what you said is God’s word. That would be and great and accurate answer or explanation. Ro 3:4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”
This may all sound like I am being too critical about wording. I do not believe so. Do not think sloppily. This often leads to sloppy and false conclusions and then to confusion. We are responsible for delivering God’s word as a teachers; it is not a light responsibility.