Sometimes people sense God wants them to be a Bible teacher, but they’re afraid to step out and do it.
Fears about Becoming a Bible Teacher
What is it about Bible teaching that might instill fear?
1) Teaching the Bible is a big responsibility.
We think twice when we read, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1). Awareness of the level of accountability it brings might cause some trepidation about teaching.
2) Teaching is an upfront type of ministry.
Uncertainties of what others will think about our abilities might generate a little nervousness about saying or doing the right things.
3) Teaching is a stretching opportunity.
Learning new methods, knowing how to answer students’ questions, and dealing with challenging students can take us out of our comfort zones, making us afraid of the unknown.
Overcoming Fear When You’re Called to Teach But Still Afraid
God appeared to Moses in a phenomenal way not simply to get his attention but also because God already knew Moses’ fears. He met Moses in a way that provided a visual demonstration of who it was that would be calling him. Through this encounter God verbally extended assurances and promises for the task ahead based on who HE was, not on who Moses was or what Moses could do. We can get beyond our fears by looking at the assurances and promises of a powerful, personal, holy, and faithful God who will be with us each step of the way.
The title for this post, Called to Teach But Still Afraid, is the name of a devotional available in the MinTools.com store that looks at how God met Moses with all of his fears.
Sometimes Bible teachers lose their enthusiasm, sense of purpose, and joy in teaching and need to regain perspective. They’re missing that “spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11).
Reasons Bible Teachers Lose Their Fervor in Teaching
When we, as Bible teachers, get stuck in a rut, teaching the same way over and over, it can get a bit boring. If we become satisfied with status quo and stop growing, no longer caring if we get better in our teaching, then we can soon become apathetic. When we merely go through the routine or obligation of teaching, we lose a sense of purpose.
Sometimes the demands of life consume and stress us out, causing us to become preoccupied. We then tend to lose focus on the eternal good God wants to do through us.
Perhaps we need a spiritual wakening in our lives. Maybe our own love for the Lord has grown cold. As a result, we lose our spiritual fervor (Rom. 12:11) and teaching the Word becomes little more than a duty.
Reminders to Help Us Regain Perspective
Whatever the reason, we need to regain perspective. Here are some reminders for us as Bible teachers.
- Let’s not forget what Jesus can do through us as we invest into our students’ lives. (Eph. 4:11-16)
- Let’s pull back the curtain on the big picture, remembering the rippling effect our teaching can have beyond our class. (2 Tim. 2:2)
- Let’s remember that what we do is worth the time, effort, and continued diligence. (1 Cor. 15:58; Gal. 6:9; Heb. 6:10)
With a renewed perspective, we can once again approach teaching with a sense of anticipation and joy.
If you’re a Christian Education Director, be sure to regularly remind all your Bible teachers of these realities. Don’t wait until teachers display apathy or become lethargic in their teaching. Check out the Rediscovering the Joy of Teaching PowerPoint presentation as one way to help teachers with their perspective.
These days it can be difficult recruiting enough Bible teachers so let’s be sure to do what we can to keep the ones we have. Providing some “how-to” teacher training and then taking a hands-off approach will do little to retain teachers. They also need lots of encouragement, affirmation, and appreciation along the way.
Why a Bible Teacher Needs Encouragement
Teachers can easily get discouraged.
- They may still have uncertainties about what to do, fear of failing, feelings of inadequacy.
- They may need to make some sacrifices to find time in their busy schedules to adequately prepare.
- They may face personal issues or stresses that affect their teaching.
- They may be frustrated by discipline problems, not seeing results, etc.
How to Encourage, Affirm, and Show Appreciation to Teachers
We begin with our own attitude toward teachers.
Are we truly thankful for the teachers we have or bemoaning those we don’t?
Genuine appreciation turns into praying for teachers that God builds them up and helps them see their labor isn’t in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).
Are we regularly and consistently praying for our Bible teachers?
Are we not only praying for them but also with them?
We help them look at their teaching ministry through God’s eyes.
Are we encouraging discouraged teachers with relevant Bible verses?
Resource: Encouragers for Teachers of God’s Word Devotional
We give honest feedback and helpful tools and resources to make a difference.
Are we providing more than just a pat on the back?
Are we getting beyond just words and truly helping teachers?
We consistently encourage, affirm, and show appreciation.
Are we relying only an occasional note of encouragement to make a difference in how teachers feel, or do we find frequent opportunities in multiple ways to let teachers know they matter?
A number of years ago, a poll on the MinTools.com asking reasons church leaders most heard for not people serving, put busyness at the top of the list by a large margin. A poll today probably would give similar results. Time issues not only affect recruiting teachers but also can prove to be a big hindrance to effective Bible teaching for those who have accepted the invitation to teach. It can lead to inadequate lesson preparation and a struggle to participate in teacher training.
Helping Teachers with Time Issues
Since time management tends to revolve around priorities, we need to ask:
- Have we adequately laid the groundwork for the priority of Bible teaching?
To Read: Legitimate Excuses?
- Have we encouraged teachers to follow God’s priorities in the whole of their lives, not just their teaching?
To Read: Priorities for Time Management
Sometimes the season of a person’s life leads to a legitimately busier schedule so we need to ask:
- What can we do to help free people up to have more time?
(i.e., offer practical help, even if it’s just an hour’s relief with childcare or eldercare, etc.)
- Are there ways we can restructure to better accommodate people’s busy schedules?
(i.e., team teaching, rotation schedule, limited responsibility as opposed to being responsible for the whole session, etc.)
Help for Time Management When It Poses a Big Hindrance to Effective Bible Teaching
As a Church, we need to help teachers to apply biblical principles to time management. Here are two ways you can do that:
- Pass on this post: Bible Verses for Teachers Struggling with Time Management
Click on the above link and you’ll find share buttons at the top and bottom of the article. You can e-mail it to individuals with a personal note of encouragement or you can post it on a social media platform for all your teachers.
- Order this reproducible resource to distribute to teachers struggling with this issue: Time Management for Teachers Worksheet
Click on the above link to go the MinTools.com store where you can learn more about this 10 page worksheet asking the question, “With only so many hours in a day, how am I supposed to find time to teach?”. While a worksheet can be used with small groups of teachers working through it together, it is also ideal for busy individuals to fit training into what works best for their schedule, going at their own pace, and in their own space.