The Ministry of Teaching

As I spend time reflecting on the calling for teaching and leadership ministry in the church, I seem to always be drawn back to this piece which to me says it all.  If you are in a role where you are trying to encourage individuals into their role as teachers or leaders, I would always start here with this piece.  Remember that our responsibility does not end with challenging people to hear their callings.  Once they have answered the call, as congregations, we have a responsibility to continually support these people.  What a difference it would make if we take this responsibility seriously.

Why I Am Called To Teach?

Top Six Reasons Why the Ministry of Teaching is important 

  • Teachers are called, first by God, through Jesus Christ.
    • Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to obey
    • Everything that I have commanded you.  Matthew 28:19.20a
  • Through Jesus Christ, God has promised to be our constant companion in the task of teaching.
    • And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
      Matthew 28:20b
  • When we were baptized into the household of God, we were given the gift of the Holy Spirit
    • Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you, for our children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls.  Acts 2:38-39
  • The Holy Spirit blesses those who teach, its bearers, with the fruit of the Spirit.
    • The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.  Many believe that teachers are given these gifts in double measure – God knows children and youth are the benefactors when the teachers exercise these gifts.  Galatians 5:22-23
  • Teachers commit themselves to being God’s saints:  to showing their love for God by serving others – in this case, the children, youth, and adults who take part in Christian education.
    • Jesus took a little child and put the child among (the disciples) and taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”  Mark9:3-37
  • Teachers help members and friends of the church to fulfill the vows made at baptism – to teach and nurture and love those who are growing in the faith.  These are the promises God’s people have made for generations.
    • God established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which God commanded our ancestors to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep God’s commandments.  Psalms 78:5-7

Books to Support Leaders: 

  • Simple Truths of Appreciation:  How Each of Us Can Choose to Make a Difference.  Barbara Glanz.  Simple Truths.  2007
    Appreciation is a free gift that you can give to anyone you encounter – it is completely your choice.  And each time you choose to thank someone for a job well done, you are making the world a better place.  This is a beautiful book with DVD presentation that can be used for teacher appreciation times.
  • Teaching that Transforms: Worship as the Heart of Christian Education.  Debra Dean Murphy. Brazos Press. 2004
    The book unmasks ways in which the biblical and theological content of Christian education has been co-opted, on the one hand, by a focus on learning experiences and, on the other hand, by modernity’s understanding of what it means to be human.  The book calls Christian education back to its integral relationship with Christian worship where Christian persons and communities are most regularly formed and where the content of Christian formation       are practiced by the church.
  • Chalkdust: Prayer Meditations For Teachers.  Elspeth Campbell Murphy.  Baker Books. 1990
    These prayers reflect a teacher’s openness to God, as awaiting guidance to teach children.  The author shares her insights on the kinds of pupils that all teachers will recognize:  the class clown, the quiet child, the gifted child, the unmotivated child, the handicapped child.
  • The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life. Parker J. Palmer. Jossey-Bass. 1997
    Teachers choose their vocation for the reasons of the heart, because they care deeply about their students and about their subject.  But the demands of teaching cause too many educators to lose heart.  This book takes teachers on an inner journey toward reconnecting with their vocation and their students and recovering their passion for one of the most difficult and important of human endeavors.
  • Calling As A Teacher.  Karen B. Tye. Chalice Press. 2008
    Whether you’re wondering now what? After agreeing to teach or pondering why go on? After years of service, the book will help you tap into God’s wisdom and power for this essential ministry.  It reminds teachers that they are not alone as they serve the students placed in their care.  The one who calls them stands with them as they help equip saints for the ministry and build up the body of Christ.
Director of Congregational Resources and Ministries for the Board of Cooperative Ministries.

Director of Congregational Resources and Ministries for the Board of Cooperative Ministries.