Monday, June 06, 2011

It's Summer -- Do You Know What Bible Teachers Should Be Doing?

Here in Iowa it's the end of the school year, and the weather is definitely summer. The corn is up, the grass is growing faster than I'd like, and the rabbits are fat from devouring our flowers. It's that odd time of year when families are sighing in relief that graduations are done, vacations are still ahead, and September feels blissfully far in the future. A lot of churches shift their schedules in the summer, too -- and many teachers take a break.

So let me give you my advice about how to use this between school-year season well.

First, take an intentional break. A change-up in rhythm is healthy.  In addition to weekly sabbath rests, we Bible teachers need seasons of rest and rejuvination.

Second, don't be lazy. Use time well, and intentionally -- it is a gift from our loving God!  Laziness dishonors our Lord.

My counsel: take the summer months to pray and study and meditate and prepare yourself for future teaching. Remember, that YOU are the tool God is using to present His Word to others. Tackle something completely different. Don't worry about preparing specific lessons. Take in nourishing information and experiences to strengthen you.

Let me give you examples of things I have done in previous summers:

* Studied Jewish culture in the 1st century.

* Worked my way through a systematic theology book often used in seminaries.

* Memorized Matthew 5-7 (the Sermon on the Mount chapters).  [Embarrasing note: I didn't work at keeping it.]

* Interviewed long-time Bible teachers for their ideas and experiences, asking them lots of questions about what they've learned.

* Immersed myself in the Psalms, but only allowing myself to read one Psalm a day. I slowly prayed through that one Psalm.

There was a very special summer of 2007 when I did a season of study which forever revolutionized how I teach.

It finally occurred to me to study how *Jesus* taught.  He's the greatest teacher ever, right?  Jesus used questions, story, and dialogue to teach.  I don't think he taught that way because it was the tradition of the time.  I think Jesus used questions, story, and dialogue because it's the BEST way to teach people, period -- any time, any age, any status, whether they are in a relationship with God or not.

This summer I'm going to invest in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  I want to immerse myself in the stories about Jesus, and in the stories he tells.

I hope you'll think about what you might intentionally work on this summer to develop yourself as a teacher.


gusDon said...

I read the bible when going to church or listen as the pastor read it at the front...
I always need God, though sometimes his answer to say No!

Glenn said...

Terrific, gusDon! We need the Gospel every day.