Saturday, February 25, 2006

If You Teach, Teach!

I am in the process of writing some ladies Bible class material and one of the subjects I am addressing is the common attitude toward not wanting to teach children's classes. And you know how your mind wanders, well, at least my mind wanders. I began thinking about my own experience in Bible classes; my experience as a child.

I was "raised" in the church and have attended Bible class all my life. I have vivid memories of my teachers and classes. There were times that I could hardly wait to get to Bible class. When I was old enough, I might spend hours working on my assignment for the week. I was excited about God's word. Then I reflected on other times that I dreaded that hour of Bible class. Any preparation was done at the last minute in the back seat of the car on the way to church. What was the difference? I was the same kid. Much of it happened in the same basic time period of my life. So what really was the difference? As I look back, I now see, the difference was the teacher.

I had some cool teachers throughout the years. They were excited about God and what He had done for us and they took very seriously their "responsibility" of teaching me about Him. I remember sand box lessons of the walls of Jericho falling down when I couln't have been more than three or four years old. I remember this wonderful hand drawn chart (there were no computers in those days) of the children around the world in all of thier colorful costumes when I was not more than five. I remember an awesome model tabernacle in the third grade. Those were exciting classes and I was eager each week to be there and see what was next.

But I have other memories of classes and teachers as well; and sometimes there are just no memories at all. I remember a class where I was afraid of the teacher; I'm not sure why, but she was just so stern that I was afraid. I didn't learn much in that class. I also remember classes where I was more prepared than the teacher because at least I had filled in the blanks in the back seat of the car and that was more than you could say for him. I have memories of teachers who obviously wished they were not teaching; they had made no preparation, they were unenthusiastic and some were almost angry.

My whole point of this ranting is, if you are going to teach, then teach! When we agree to be a Bible class teacher, we have agreed to take on the shaping of not only a child's mind but thier life. And don't think that just because you ONLY teach the three or four year olds that it's not that important. I can remember to back then, can't you? As we teach children, we are building on thier memory blocks and what they learn at two and three is as important as what they learn at thirteen and fourteen. Maybe even more important is if a child is turned off by a bad teacher at six or seven they may not want to learn any more at thirteen or fourteen. If you do not take your role as teacher seriously, then it would be better you did not teach.

The church is desparate for good teachers. And, before you get the idea that I would wish more Christians would stop teaching, let me say, I wish more Christians would get excited about teaching. There are very few people who can't teach in some capacity IF they would make the effort. But it is a lot easier to just not try. Good teaching is hard work and takes a lot of prepartion and effort but a good Bible class teacher can make the difference in a soul that reaches heaven and one that is lost. This is one volunteer job that pays big dividends.

Dana Burk

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