Students in crisis are hard to ignore. Bible teachers might notice changes in mood, motivation, attentiveness, and more. Following are some frequently asked question that barely touch the surface of a teacher’s role or responsibility in these situation but at least give a starting point.
How much responsibility should a teacher have in crisis intervention in their students’ lives?
The answer to this question comes down to how teachers view their ministry. If they simply fill a spot on the schedule, show up, teach, and forget about it until the next time they’re scheduled, then they will tend to take on minimal, if any, responsibility. But, if teachers see their ministry as an investment into the lives of their students, they will use these situations as opportunity for discipleship. Just how involved a teacher gets could depend on the kind of crisis and the teacher’s time and ability to intervene. Sometimes the best way a teacher can get help is to refer the student to someone more qualified to assist them. Other times, it may be enough simply to encourage the student and pray for/with the person. Or, perhaps God may want to use the teacher, maybe even the entire class, to be the solution. To work through the bottom line issue in this question, check out this worksheet: DISCIPLESHIP: Isn’t teaching a lesson enough?
Should teachers be warned in any regard when helping students in crisis?
During crisis situations, Bible teachers have opportunity to guide students in seeing how God’s Word relates and applies to real life, to help them look to a God who cares and has the power to help in time of need. Yet, it is not for the teacher to promise that God will remove suffering or change the circumstances. Sometimes God works through the pain and loss, not around it. Read the book of Job. What teachers can promise is that God will be with them. He will provide the strength and peace they need as they turn to Him, etc. Likewise, it isn’t the teacher’s job to “fix” all that is wrong. Guard against codependent relationships with people. Dependence needs to be on the Lord, not us. That doesn’t mean we never step in with counsel or practical assistance. We must not, however, jump to do for them what they should be doing for themselves. We must always seek God’s timing and ways He wants us to help. We must make sure our motivations are what they should be. For help thinking through how teachers can encourage students to turn to the Lord in times of crisis, check out these worksheets: 1) Crisis Strikes 2) Ministering to Students with Hurting Hearts
What if a student is really depressed, maybe even suicidal?
Teachers need to know their responsibilities to report or refer students who are at risk of doing harm to themselves or others. They shouldn’t wait until such a crisis occurs to figure out a process or plan for such situations. The scope of these FAQ posts doesn’t allow for getting into detail about how to help these students so click on the following link to check out some resources that can help provide understanding: Helping People who are Depressed or Suicidal