Saturday, June 19, 2010
How I Respond to Discouraged Teachers
"Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ." (Acts 5:42)
I've been corresponding with several discouraged teachers in the past few weeks. "No one is learning," one wrote, "so I'm giving it up." Another said, "They don't want to hear anything challenging, just the rah-rah-Christians-are-great stuff. I won't teach that way, so I'm thinking I should go to XYZ church instead." A third wrote this week, "Our minister wants to me to teach the same intro class all the time, and I'm tired of it." Another woman wrote me candidly expressing her frustration this way: "If I don't hear someone say thank you they can just find someone else to do it!"
Just yesterday I talked with a man who seemed convinced that if ministry was hard then God wasn't in it and he should move on. (I suggested he check that perspective against Scripture - it's not a biblical perspective at all.)
Teaching is often tough, challenging, gut-twisting work. There are times and cirumstances where you don't see much fruit. You may not hear appreciation. You may feel forced into situations that aren't your chosen ideal.
Perhaps you need a season of rest. Perhaps you need to seek out a different teaching situation.
I won't judge you if you do, that's not my perogative.
But I will say, in most situations, you and I need to stand firm, confident in the power of the Lord, working hard and spending ourselves on behalf of others. It's a calling. It's a level of commitment that means we have to (as marathon runners say) "take the pain and tuck it away somewhere" until the race is done. We're part of God's work to beat back the darkness, did you think it will always be easy?
Read that Acts 5:42 passage again. This was how they behaved after they were beaten and abused by the authorities.
Keep on teaching to change lives! And encourge your fellow teachers to do likewise, for the glory of God.