As communicated in a previous post, Bible teachers need to be affirmed. They also need be shown that they are valued and appreciated. They need encouragement.
But, they need more than an occasional pat on the back. They need encouragement that’s on-going.
The biblical word for encourage (parakaleo), as in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:13 and 10:25, denotes coming along side of the individual.
And, they need more than a insincere pat on the back. They need encouragement that’s genuine.
Sometimes people need to be spurred on (Heb. 10:24). That requires the combination of grace and truth as you encourage them, speaking the truth in love.
In addition, teachers need more than a contrived or programmed pat on the back. They need encouragement that’s timely.
How easy it can be to get into routines of how we show appreciation to teachers. While these efforts are well-intentioned, they are insufficient to truly encourage teachers. If encouragement is going to be more than a pat on the back, it needs to be on-going and genuine but also timely. We need to affirm teachers when and how most needed. Consider the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:11-14.
Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
Finally, teachers need more than an empty pat on the back. They need encouragement that’s substantive.
Teachers need something to hold on to, something that is relevant, practical, and able to make a difference. Though our kind words can mean a lot to teacher, the Word is that which thoroughly equips us (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The Word is that which provides substance to encouragement.
Ministry Tools Resource Center can help you with this kind of encouragement. Check out: Encouragers for Teachers of God’s Word
But, remember, as we’ve seen above, merely providing these encouragers isn’t enough. You also need to keep at it, coming along side of teachers in ways that are genuine and timely. Provide Scripture that fits the moment.