God’s Presence: The Discipler’s Authority

Jesus gave His disciples what has come to be known as the Great Commission prior to ascending back to heaven. Part of His command to go and make disciples is that we teach them to obey everything He commanded. Notice how His instruction ends: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20) But, also take note of how His instruction begins: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.'” (Matt. 28:19) The Lord’s presence and authority go hand in hand.

Great Commission

Bible teachers’ part in the discipleship process is to help their students identify with Christ (as is done in baptism) and follow Him wholeheartedly (as reflected in obeying everything He commanded). To get further than the mere impartation of knowledge to making fully devoted disciples, teachers and students alike need an awareness of God’s presence because:

1) God’s presence equals God’s authority.

For discipleship efforts to lead to fully devoted followers who know and love the Lord, it has to be rooted in something more than the teacher’s words. To expect students to apply truth to life because the teacher said so is unrealistic. But, when students realize it is the Great “I AM” speaking to them behind those words, the One who has all authority (Matt. 28:18), they have a greater sense of accountability.

2) God’s presence equals God’s power.

Not only does an awareness of God’s presence build a greater accountability, but it also assures us of a Helper who will be with us, enabling us to do that which He commands. We can be strong and courageous when we know God is with us (Josh. 1:9) for “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Pet. 1:3).

Bible teachers can get beyond the mere teaching of a lesson to being disciplemakers when they grasp the significance of God’s presence to the learning process.

More on Teachers Making Disciples: DISCIPLESHIP: Isn’t teaching a lesson enough? Teacher Training Worksheet

God’s Presence: The Distinguishing Mark

Bible Has Divine, Ever-Present Author

God’s presence is that which distinguishes Bible teaching from other kinds of teaching. While certain elements of teaching are similar when teaching an academic class versus a Bible class, the textbook used in each is quite different. No other textbook comes with the promise of the author’s presence.

With His presence comes His authority and power as communicated in a previous post. Consequently, the potential outcome of teaching from the Bible versus any other textbook is also quite different. God brings change from the inside out … not merely acquisition of knowledge or behavioral adaptation. This, then, forms a unique goal for Bible teachers.

And, God’s presence goes with class members, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, to remind them of what has been learned, to bring conviction and empowerment to apply the teaching to life. Teachers of other types of classes can provide homework assignments for students to work on what has been learned in class but that just isn’t the same as the Resource Bible teachers can rely on to help their students.

God’s presence is essential to effective Bible teaching! Without it, what do we have?

Moses of the Old Testament was quite aware of how God’s presence set apart His people from all the other people on the earth. He recognized the futility of leading the people without God’s presence.

Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” (Ex. 33:15-16)

Likewise, in Bible teaching, His presence is the distinguishing mark, setting it apart from all other teachings. How aware are the Bible teachers in your church of the presence of God?

A Lesson Worth Teaching Workbook looks at the difference the Word makes in the teaching-learning process, because it is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16), a unique Book, with a ever-present Divine Teacher.

Aware of God’s Presence?

Aware of God's Presence

We know the promises about God’s presence given to His servants throughout the Bible like Moses (Ex. 3), Joshua (Josh. 1), and Jesus’ Disciples (Matt. 28:20). God would be with them as they accomplished the tasks He gave them to do.

But, are Bible teachers truly aware of God’s presence in the classroom?

If so, teachers will be letting the focus go toward Him.

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD. (Ps. 89:15)

I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Ps. 16:8)

Think about it: His glory and light is so great that attention can’t help but go toward Him. Everything teachers do would reflect His glory, even their own countenance. If Bible teachers are truly aware of God’s presence, they won’t feel the need to put themselves in the spotlight.

If so, teachers will be yielding to His authority.

… teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matt. 28:20)

Think about it: The One who created the heavens and earth with verbal commands, and who brought us into being … our Maker (Ps. 100:3), is there with us. He is the One of whom there is none greater. Why would we not let Him be in charge? He knows what is best. He can see into the hearts of people and knows what is needed. If Bible teachers are truly aware of God’s presence, they won’t feel the need to become proud and arrogant because they are the teacher.

If so, teachers will be drawing upon His power.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isa. 41:10)

Think about it: As the Almighty God, He has the power to change lives. Why would we settle for merely disseminating information when someone is there who can bring about real growth and transformation? If Bible teachers are truly aware of God’s presence, they won’t feel the need to try to make it happen in their own strength.

An awareness of the presence of God makes a tremendous difference in teaching the Bible. We will therefore continue with some upcoming posts on this topic.

Creativity Cues from God

Bible teachers who want to be more creative need to take their cues from God. Remember, “In the beginning God created” (Gen. 1:1). No, we can’t bring something into existence from nothing but there is so much more that goes into God’s creation of the world that can be emulated by Bible teachers.

Cues to take from God to help you be a Creative Bible Teacher:

Creativity Cues from God

(Click above to enlarge in Pinterest & repin.)

1) starting with the big picture
2) setting the stage for what is to come
3) connecting people with God, not merely entertaining
4) seeking to meet needs
5) seeing the need for relationship
6) incorporating variety without sacrificing quality
7) letting students participate in the process

Do the above and you will be able to experience rest in your soul because you will enjoy teaching and will find great satisfaction in what you are doing.

The above cues form the principles covered in the 73 page Creative Bible Teaching with Results Workbook from Ministry Tools Resource Center. In this workbook, Bible teachers learn how God accomplished the above as He created the world and how these creativity cues translate into being a more creative teacher.